Apr 30, 2008

State of my Sad Seedlings

So, to be completely honest, my Tomato season thus far has been a big flaming ball of crap.
I have continued to lose my seedlings at an alarming rate. To What?? Not a clue!All I know is that I am down to maybe 8 usable seedlings out of 64...and I say usable only if I am able to keep them alive thru their hardening off next week, and actually get them into the ground.So for all intents and purposes I am calling this seed starting season a bust.

So back to the whys of my seedy demises. So far it has been suggested to me that a possible cause for my tomato wilting death might be over-watering. Then it was suggested I could possibly be under-watering them. I was told to Google 'Wilt' which of course sent me into a frenzy resulting in my destruction of nearly half of my seedlings and all growing material that may have come within 10 miles of those seedlings.I must admit , my fingernails are never as clean as they are after drenching everything with bleach trying to eradicate an imagined outbreak of the dreaded 'WILT'. But I digress....I did send some pictures to our Ag extension, and was told I most likely didn't have any wilt, but that my soil is retaining to much moisture. My theory right now is possible fertilizer burn from the slow release fertilizer that is present in the potting mix that I bought because I thought I was doing a good thing....who knows. I give up, all I know now is that they are all either dead, or on their way there, and I am feeling more like a failure than a backyard farmer.

So be forewarned, if there is to be a 'Tomatoes on Parade '08' it will have to be based on store started seedlings and not home started ones. I feel horribly about this, but there is nothing I can do at this point other than suck it up and forge forward.I was really hoping I could get this seed thing rigyht....well...I can only hope next season is a better one. I have way too many seeds to give up yet. Maybe I will try Winter Sowing them....yeah ... that might work.....

Apr 24, 2008

Hey....What's in that Apple?

A few weeks ago, my dearest husband, was cutting up an apple for an after dinner nosh. Now, any one who knows me , knows I normally don't buy apples any time in the off season. So the fact that we have apples at this time of year seems strange and almost traitorous, but before I take any lashings form the wet noodle, I must clarify and state that those apples were solely for a pastry I was going to try making, and never intended for raw consumption. But I digress.

Back to hubby and his apple wedges....

So Michael is eating his not so delicious, out of season, apple wedges. I am fiddling about somewhere else in the house, when from out of no where I here my name urgently being called. So I rush to see what the emergency is. In the dining room I find hubby cradling two sprouted apple seeds gently in his palm. Seems that the apples I had chosen have been sitting around a tad longer than I figured and the seeds inside them decided it was now or never on the germination front.

So to make a long story short, those seeds were lovingly snuggled down into their own little beds of seed starter and are doing fabulously. I cant wait to taste my first home grown apple.....only another 15 or 20 years to go.

Apr 23, 2008

Belated Happy Earth Day !!

Happy Earth Day Everyone!!!

I am so sorry I didint manage get this greeting out yesterday.

I got so involved potting up seedlings and working around the yard , that I absolutely forgot to wish you all a happy Earth Day! So , I hope every one had a mean Green day, and that many good for the Earth things were accomplished, be it picking up a piece of trash blowing in the wind to planting a bunch of fabulous trees!

Apr 14, 2008

Sad Seedlings, and Sweet Suprises

It's been a bad week for me and my tomato seedlings.I have been searching and then revising my searches, and I finally hit on one picture of seedlings with Fusarium Wilt. I am almost 99% sure that is what has been wilting the older leaves on my tomato seedlings.

So after many tears and explanations to my teen kids as too why they should understand why I was bawling like an idiot...I bid farewell to my seedlings and tossed all of the affected plants and any plants showing any signs that they might have been infected into a trash bag, along with any left over soil and pots that I believed might have come in contact with the seedlings. I then proceeded to wash all surfaces in the room that may have had a seedling anywhere near it with a strong bleach and water solution, I also soaked any seed trays that I will use in the near future in a bleach solution as well. I washed a few of my Styrofoam cups that I use for my transplants in an antibacterial soap.

I then sent my very understanding husband to the local Home depot to get some new seed starting mix and a fresh bag of potting soil. While he was gone, I went thru my seeds and threw away the remaining seeds from the two varieties that I suspect of starting this whole mess. Once hubby returned from the store with the goods I re-sowed the cherry types that I lost, some Basingas to replace the Earl of Edgecombes that were lost,and a few more Chrerokee Purples just for good measure. Now I keep my fingers crossed that the rest of my original transplants remain healthy and that the new seeds sprout in record time....

All of this has severely shaken my quest to grow new varieties of tomatoes from my very own seeds every year, and to go back to buying the same old store varieties I have always grown. For now I am NOT giving up....I have hope that the remaining transplants will remain healthy and the few seeds that I have sown tonight will grow forth and prosper.

I must admit though, that I was cheered up immensely today when my mail arrived bringing with it 3...count 'em ...3 envelopes of gardening goodness. The first envelope I opened had a wonderful and large sample of a granular slow release fertiliser...my houseplants are going to be very happy.
The second envelope contained a sample of a Naga Jolokia Chili pepper , these are now considered to be the hottest chile peppers in the world and I am excited about trying them.
The third envelope...and possibly the most wonderful of them all came from a lovely lady from over at the GardenWeb. She sent me some Cayenne pepper seeds from what sounds like an amazing long living plant. But not only that, she also read how I have a fondness(Okay obsession)for tomato seeds, and sent along some Beefsteak seeds as well. What A Doll!!

Isn't it amazing how thoughtful gardening people can be?!?! It is exactly these thoughtful people who have given me the boost I needed to keep plugging along with this Blog, which is a public reminder of not only my successes, but more painfully , my failures.They have given me the push to get through this week of tomato seedling hell... There is no guarantee that the damage hasn't been already done, and the rest of my beloved seedlings may succumb to this bacteria, but hopefully I will at the very least learn from all of this .

I am determined to get this right and not give up...

Thanks to my Gardening Family!!

Apr 10, 2008

Ride a Bus...Grow Some Flowers

I have often wondered why my region isn't more Green friendly. I read several gardening blogs, and wander through the halls of a gardening forum or two or three... and it always amazes me how some areas are so much more in tune with the home gardener growing their own veggies or the home owner trying to cut down on their use of environmentally damaging products, and honestly I have been a little envious.

So imagine my delight this morning, stumbling across some local Earth Day news.

There I was, enjoying my ritual cuppa joe, and leafing though my local newspaper expecting to read the usual crud, when I ran across a few paragraphs titled "Free Bus Passes Help Flowers Grow". The article goes on to explain that, The Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority(GBTA), in an effort to help reduce our Carbon Footprint and encourage the use of public transportation, is going to give away 3000 all-day bus passes . These passes will be good all during the day on Earth Day, April 22nd.
The even neater part of the deal is, the bus passes are infused with Wildflower Seeds. Once you use the pass for your free ride, you get to go home and plant them.So not only do you reduce your CO2 emissions for the day(and hopefully longer)but you get to bloom a little too.

What a good idea, from personal experience I know that nothing gets me to buy a product or service more than a little free sample to start me off. And what better way to improve our environment, who says there's no such thing as a free ride....now you get a free ride and a bunch of flowers too.

To read more about it...click here

Apr 3, 2008

And the 2008 Season Begins

And for your viewing pleasure....Life, returning to the vegetable garden.

I know, I know, I am simple, and it really doesn't take all that much for me to become giddy with excitement. You know as well as I that it takes a special kind of person to understand those us who can talk for a few hours non-stop about the virtues of collecting tomato seed varieties. And who but a true lover of vegetables will wait patiently by the garden for the first garlic scapes to emerge and offer up the first delicate garlic glory of the season. And what better than going outside and spying those first ruby hued stalks of tart tastiness we call Rhubarb, just begging to be made into a pie.

This is what gardeners live for.