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Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Starting seeds, what a "pick me up" at this time of year.

Posted Saturday, January 10, 2015, at 11:02 AM
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  • It was a very good thing that I spent so much time photographing the violets....What I thought were falling seeds on one of the dark flowers turned out to be insects. It took a magnifying glass to reveal the difference. The bugs were confined to just one plant but I fear if they had not been caught they would most likely have spread.

    Warm wishes for a complete recovery to Mrs. Lee. Thinking of her brings a smile.............

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Sat, Jan 10, 2015, at 12:27 PM
  • I will pass it along Palindrome. Thanks.

    Were they aphids or ...?

    My biggest insect issue with African Violets was mealy bugs. For those who do not know, they look like white cotton puffs, but are in no way harmless.

    They decimated some plants until I developed an eye for finding them early and plan of attack for eliminating them. (rubbing alcohol and cue tips)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Jan 10, 2015, at 12:40 PM
  • Time to do a little outside stuff. It is probably as warm as it is going to get before a chance of rain tomorrow.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Jan 10, 2015, at 12:45 PM
  • You did have to ask me that didn't you ?

    Well after considerable research I still don't really know for certain what exactly the pests were. My first thought was white fly.White specks that I thought were seeds......Transparent light green long-legged adult........But after seeing photos of various African Violet pests I am still somewhat in the dark.

    The good news is.....When I took the plant outside to flick off the culprits ......They seemed to all be dead. At first I thought perhaps they couldn't take the cold of the window platform they occupy.Then it came to me..........I water them from a pool of " Ta Da " ...........Kelp and wintergreen fertilizer. And by the way....I read a review of the product recently and it is considered at least by that source to be organic. Picked up a new bottle of it at Lowe's $7.77.

    Still cold here...... My house sucks up the cold......Great in the Summer but enough for now !

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Sun, Jan 11, 2015, at 7:57 AM
  • I'm fixing to seed-up some containers myself...I've expanded the garden spot already giving the earthworms a chance to crawl over and invade the new top soil. I think I'll try spraying that fertilizer over the soil and maybe top it off with more soil...I have a friend sending me some wintergreen oil I'll gladly share...I might try watering it down and misting the fresh soil as well and see if I can be pest free again this year.

    I'm so excited about getting started this year that I might be pushing a little early..we will see tho...I gotta start the seeds where Earl(the cat) can't reach them if she chooses...so challenging times for pet discipline days are in my near future it seems.

    I wonder if cats make good fertilizer!

    I think we should have a seed swap meeting before we start to plant seeds...I now have a plethora of tomato, squash, pie pumpkin, etc. I would love to share, I need a few different veggies and definitely a few flowers...Anyone have peonies they would like to share?...What do ya'll think about it?

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Sun, Jan 11, 2015, at 10:04 PM
  • Chefgrape,

    be selective what you start.....It is too early for many seeds. There are calendars available on line to use as a guide.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Mon, Jan 12, 2015, at 9:51 AM
  • Definitely dilute your wintergreen oil! Even though it is natural (presuming it is not synthetic) the concentrate can be detrimental.

    What I did not realize was that wintergreen can be systemic in it's delivery, and it must be based on what you experience Palindrome. chefgrape, I think you mentioned an absence of insects on the plants you got from Palindrome also?

    That is exciting to me. While I like to "mix my own" whenever possible, I think I will make a special trip to Lowe's to look at that kelp fertilizer. Wouldn't it be glorious if it works on flea beetles and squash bugs? WOW!

    I presume it can be used as a foliar spray as well as a soil fertilizer? Oh, what joy!

    Sorry for all the carrying on but my garlic, hot pepper, vegetable oil and diatomaceous earth mix does not seem to have a systemic affect. If wintergreen does it, I am buying some plants this season and giving it special TLC.

    I know pennyroyal is supposed to be good for flea treatment (toxic also if too concentrated) so wintergreen should be also? I sure hope so!

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jan 12, 2015, at 3:14 PM
  • Well, the wintergreen test will tell us.. it will either deter them critters or give all my tomatoes a fresh minty accouterment to adorn the already tasty fruits of my labor...

    I just deseeded some beautiful serrano chilies for my mildly spicy, cold day, chili. Seems I'm very seed rich but pocket dry these days!

    I seriously have seeds to share if anyone needs some, mostly heirloom tomatoes harvested from mom and dad's garden and the wonderful tomatoes I grew.

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Tue, Jan 13, 2015, at 4:34 PM
  • Palindrome, can you share the brand name of that kelp/wintergreen?

    I m not sure if I have had a serrano pepper. Are you saving the seed?

    So far my peppers moved in from the garden are surviving well. I believe that includes three hot peppers and one bell. I did not save any tomatoes this year. Keying in on the eggplant. The peppers are easy.

    While I don't like winter, this one is OK so far. I did not like the single digits but they help reduce the bad insect population.

    The other thing that has been reasonable to far is the intermittent cold snap mixed with a mild period in between. We have one coming up this weekend without the normal rain. Yahoo!

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 14, 2015, at 11:30 AM
  • I really, really, really need to get my main planting of garlic in. It should have been done two months ago but......

    Since they are going into cold soil and some extra cold weather is still ahead, I may plant a little deeper than normal to protect them from shooting up too early and getting zapped.

    Speaking of shooting up, some daffodils are already above ground. No buds on them yet but they are probably not far behind.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 14, 2015, at 8:24 PM
  • I did save those serrano seeds and your more than welcome to all you want...serrano peppers are hotter than say a Fresno pepper which is one step more than a jalapeno, so they can be very hot if you take a fresh bite. If deseeded and deveined they are perfect in chili or soups and stews with that little bit of delayed heat in the back of your throat being flavorful at the same time.

    Fresno chilies I've been trying to get my hands on...to me, they are my favorite. Used in various stir-fry and Pacific Rim dishes they have a slight sweet aroma and gentle heat on your palette. They use them often at Pei Wei in Murfreesboro if you like Chinese Bistro food. They are frequently used in their raw state thinly sliced.

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Thu, Jan 15, 2015, at 11:03 PM
  • I was surprised that baker Creek did no have them. While I was there poking around I found this rezha macedonian that looked interesting. http://www.rareseeds.com/rezha-macedonian-pepper/?F_Sort=9

    I noticed that some Publix seem to have them but do not know if they are heirloom so no way to know if buying the chile will produce viable seeds. Here is a place selling them http://sustainableseedco.com/heirloom-vegetable-seeds/pe-t/pepper-heirloom-seeds...

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jan 16, 2015, at 12:14 PM
  • OK Seniors......Here it is again........

    Alaska

    Fish Fertilizer

    5򑩗

    By

    Lilly Miller Brands

    I use about a teaspoon in a gallon of water that has been standing to allow the chlorine to dissipate or water taken from my de-humidizer. Sometimes I use it with every watering and sometimes I use it alternately etc. with plain water.....Depending on the needs of the plant. Even though it has the wintergreen oil to help with the sea like aroma it still is noticeable, however after three years I am used to it. It smells like gardening to me..........Always good....

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Sun, Jan 18, 2015, at 10:35 AM
  • I just wanted to be specific about using the fish fertilizer.........I do not start seeds with it. I use only plain water until after the true leaves have a good size to them and not usually until I have transplanted the seedlings into larger quarters. It will be obvious when the seedlings start slowing their growth that they need supplemental food.

    First peppers are up............Yay ! It is all because of the heating pad............. Here we go.......Won't be long until I run out of room......

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Wed, Jan 21, 2015, at 7:18 PM
  • Palindrome, I searched all I could to get an ingredient list for that fertilizer so I could determine how much wintergreen they used. All I could find was that it was deodorized but no statement of wintergreen nor amounts. Does your bottle say anything about that?

    I moved some glass down to the two "bathtub" beds in the garden. (jeez Louise those sliding glass doors have gotten heavy over the years)

    There are some gaps for cooling so I am going to try a "winter sow" http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/11/winter-sowing-101-6/ experiment with these tubs.

    The soil has matured in them for a year now and I will put down a layer of potting soil to start the seeds, with a layer of straw to keep them from drying out quickly.

    Probably a row of cabbage, carrots, radish, lettuce, beets (two types) and even though they should have been panted in fall a row of kale, collards for smoothies.

    This weather has been beautiful for mid-winter and I think it may have stayed dry enough to do some light tilling so I can get my garlic in. Yes, that should have been in a few months ago but.....

    The giant banana and cushaw squash have stored well this winter. They basically just sat on the floor in a cool room and were occasionally turned to keep any areas getting "mushy". They seemed to "sweat" a little, but nothing detrimental.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 21, 2015, at 8:41 PM
  • Steve,

    You are so right. I didn't even notice that the new label doesn't even mention Evergreen Oil. The old label doesn't say how much. I couldn't at this point discern any difference in the aroma. That will be the test I suppose. There is a website regarding the metals and a web site for the company that makes the fertilizer. The next time I mix some up I will use the new bottle and see if I can tell if there is a difference. I certainly hope not.........

    I had to move the special Rosemary from under the lights in the laundry room into the sunshine in the bedroom. The laundry was too humid for it. It kept getting some fuzzy white mildew on the leaves. I washed the leaves in plain water as researched without getting the soil wet and it has been standing in the sun ever since. Looks good so far.

    The Paperwhites are getting ready to bloom. Can't wait for the glorious scent. When is our first meeting? Perhaps I will pot up a couple for a door prize. One of the Basils is blooming.... I am going to sprinkle some of the blossoms on my next salad. In the meantime they are making my Parrot so happy.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Thu, Jan 22, 2015, at 12:53 PM
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