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Gardening fever is starting to rise. Will you join us?

Posted Sunday, February 28, 2010, at 10:20 AM

Tomato re-planted and a cold frame in development
Did you know that this Saturday Weed'em & Reap is moving to a new location? We arrive between 6:00 and 6:30 and plan to break up around 8:00. OF course, we break up in between too, but in this case I mean leave.

We are changing the day AND moving to Celebration Way Assisted Living 895 Union St. in Shelbyville. Thanks to Mary Ann Steelman and member Jere Roberts, we will be able to use their meeting room from now on (unless we get too rowdy). We can bring food if we did not have a chance to eat, andr occasionally we might organize a "covered dish" meeting.

As before, ALL are invited. It does not matter if you have never grown a thing or a 95 year expert. We want to have you join us. I am not aware if we have doctors, lawyers and Indian Chiefs, but you are welcome too! Get the idea? ANYONE. While we have a few characters, I don't think we have any aliens, so invite them too!

This prolonged winter is really getting old. My fever is rising and there are limited things to do. Not that I don't still have plenty, but it is not actively gardening so I am starting to force the issue.

I mentioned wanting to start a cold fame and I did so last weekend. It uses the south side of our greenhouse for the back and the rock garden as the base, but I will not be planting in the garden soil.

Instead, I have a layer of black roof shingles on the soil and I will place seed trays on that. The black shingles should help gather heat and hold down any unwanted weeds coming up from the soil. I dug out the iris, mints and daffodils and relocated them. After the seed starting season is over, I will dismantle it and plant some annuals.

I need to make some sides for it today and bring soil around the base to seal off the bottom. At first I won't worry about the irregularities under the front wood base to allow airflow. If it causes too much heat loss, I will fill it in with something. I can run an extension cord from the greenhouse if supplemental heat is needed.

The cats down the road are doing well. They disappeared for a few days and I feared the worst, but all are accounted for and in one piece. I sat with them about 30 minutes this morning and BW sat on my lap while the others ate or moved around me.

Last night we caught one of our house cats on the other side of the road while we were feeding the strays. I never knew him to cross the road, so he might be curious about the "family down the street". Another reason to either bring them up, I guess.

I read a 26 year old Organic Gardening last night and saw where there is some basis for chilling tomato plants for two weeks after sprouting. It seems that if the seedlings are in 50-55 degree temps for two weeks after emerging, they grow bushier, and produce more than those pampered in 70+ degrees. In that case, I might have one that qualifies.

Today I re-potted my first tomato plant into a gallon milk jug to give it room. Actually it is my last tomato, from last year that is, so it may not be the same as a young sprout. I over-wintered a cutting for the past two years trying to get earlier tomatoes. In fact, I had to cut some blossoms of this one. I have an eggplant I did the same with, so this one needs replanting soon.

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The sun is shining bright today, so my gardening fever was high. I planted 2 wide rows in the garden today, one that has 2 types of greens and the other has green peas and snow peas. If the weather is nice next weekend then more veggies will be planted then. See you at the meeting next week.

-- Posted by rtdavis62 on Sun, Feb 28, 2010, at 4:15 PM

Of course I am envious. I played with my cold-frame and PITA tried her best to undo it, but most of it remains.

Then I noticed something I wish I hadn't, but.... I had to take care of it. My pond water flow was really slow. The solution was working in the cold water to clean the pump intake. It might have been only 40 outside but my hands felt warm when I came out of the pond.

Now it is time to feed the cats. Boy the day went fast.

How long before you expect those pea seeds to sprout? Maybe mine would do better if I got them in the ground now.

Do you expect to protect them at all?

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Feb 28, 2010, at 4:25 PM

I don't expect them to need protection, but if they do I have some floating row cover. Green peas/English peas can be planted early like this, since they don't like the heat of early summer. I'd expect about 10 days to germinate.

-- Posted by rtdavis62 on Sun, Feb 28, 2010, at 6:08 PM

I live in an apartment so my gardening is limited to containers for my herbs and a small space oked by my landlord for tomatos. I had plenty of both last year. This year I want to hunt for mushrooms called morels. I am wondering if anyone in Bedford county does this and if they have any pointers for a newbie? I've done lots of research but would love to talk to a pro. Any help is appreciated.

-- Posted by ZNanny on Mon, Mar 1, 2010, at 5:35 PM

We have a member or two who have some experience in this. Since you have done research you already know, but I have to say it or others sake.

PLEASE be sure you KNOW FOR SURE the mushrooms, etc. are safe!

You are correct in wanting to talk with someone in-person and recommend you have someone out with you the first few times you go searching for them. Pictures and descriptions are great but up close and personal are even better.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Mar 1, 2010, at 6:35 PM

Are we still meeting Saturday night? Just checking haven't seen it in the paper.

-- Posted by rtdavis62 on Wed, Mar 3, 2010, at 7:03 PM


It should be in tonight. Not sure what happened since I sent it in on Thursday, but....

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Mar 3, 2010, at 8:55 PM

Steve, on this cold frame, would a double pane be better than a single pane? Im considering building one.

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 9:07 AM

Yes double panes would be better.

These are recycled windows I have had for a while and they are single pane. I can place the smaller of the pair on top of the larger and seal it, but that will reduce the amount of direct sunlight, so I have to make a decision.

I could also put this plastic sealing film on the inside and heat it with a hair dryer to tighten it up.

I have some double pane sliding glass doors, but if I want my wife to be able to open it, it needs to be lighter, OR I need to build a stronger frame so I can put springs on the glass to help lift.

I could also place those smaller panes on at night to create more insulation and I have Styrofoam sheets I could retrofit on the smaller panes for even more insulation. In fact, that is the way I think I will handle this for now.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 11:22 AM

Lowes has light weight plastic panes. I may go with that for the outside and plastic sheets for inside. I can hinge the top with a car hood type bar to hold it open when needed. Thanks for the help.

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 6:53 PM

I like that idea of car hood hinges. I need to look at how they are mounted, but that sounds neat.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 8:19 PM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.