On Monday, I picked up my third packet of spinach in four years. I have never had any luck with the little yummy bastards. I thought by getting Burpee seeds, fresh off the shelves in March that I could beat my track record of sprouting absolutely none of them!
On Wednesday night I soaked the seeds in water and a few drops of liquid fertilizer. Thursday morning the cups were drained and the seeds were placed on a damp coffee filter soaked with the same solution. They were placed in a plastic bag and placed on top of the refrigerator.
It took him two days to sprout those spinach plants.
Right now, I am trying to sprout spinach in my Aerogarden, but so far, the only thing I’ve ended up with is fuzzy seeds. At this point, I’m not sure if it’s normal or if it’s mold. Based on my track record, I’m leaning toward mold.
As I mentioned in my garden update from Monday, my zucchini and squash plant were stricken with something nasty and fierce. I know that both had a severe case of powdery mildew. I am loathing myself, admitting that I was much too slow reaching to treating the poor gourd factories. I did treat them with a mixture of baking soda, water, and a few drops of dish soap. The powdery mildew actually appears to have cleared up after a couple days.
However, as time would have it, the plants continued to wither and dry up. They never stopped producing male blossoms, however. Unfortunately, neither produced a female flower, during their short time on this mortal coil. I fear the plant had a bacterial infection, or, perhaps, something lingered in the soil from last year.
Regardless, the plants and their soilless mix became the main filler in my attempts to remove a put from my backyard, over the weekend. I will honor them well by walking on them continuously. I could not chance ever using that soil again. The planter was immediately treated with bleach, cut with ample amounts of water.
Where there is death in the garden, there will always be life. In my attempts to use up the rest of my Jiffy seedling starters, I decided to test the viability of some of the older seeds that I had and the new marigolds that I purchased.
With 35 Jiffy pods left, I planted 12 Bloomsdale Longstanding spinach. I am incredibly unhappy with its germination rate: 3/12 in this batch, and 3/23 in the previous. And the latter three haven’t even formed true leaves. The three in the jiffy pods right now don’t even appear to want to keep living. I think my next track is just to plant them all, in late summer, in some seed starting soil and see how many more of these will sprout, just to get them out of my catalog.
In 9 of the pods, I started Burpee’s Mixed Colors (early 2 1/2″ blooms). In the last 8 come Queen Sophia (All-America Winner) marigolds. Literally, I went to bed one night, and none of the marigolds had come up yet. When I woke up, the next morning, 13 had sprouted! I was amazed!
The marigolds will fill two planters on my front stoop and be intermingled among the flowers in my sub-irrigated planters. I think they’ll make good company for my herbs and jalapenos.
In 6 of the pods, from the Burpee Fordhook Collection, I planted bush beans. I know that it’s a bit late in the season for beans, maybe, but I haven’t tried to grow any in the three years that I’ve gardened; I’ve always done mostly peas. I decided it was time to put this pack of beans to good use.
Three of the beans grew up extremely quickly, almost to a foot within a few days. They weren’t scraggily either; they were solid stems. One of the beans decided it wanted to grow in the wrong direction: roots up. One of the seedlings got tangled in the mesh of the jiffy pods; I cut tiny slits in the meshing, and within two days, the seedling was upright, but a little deformed. One had yet to sprout. These 6 have since moved outdoors to their dangling trellis home. Here are some progressive shots of the growth (the twelfth is my favorite).
I finally managed to get my last two plants into sub-irrigated planters tonight, using some of that Miracle Gro Expand n’ Gro potting mix. So far, it has proven to be super-expanding while maintaining a high level of drainage. Anyway, I transplanted my cayenne pepper and Italian Oregano, both of which were showing signs of new growth since Saturday.
Since I have all of these empty starting pods just laying around now, I decided to take advantage of some of my ample window space that hasn’t been victoriously claimed by my cat, Ellie, yet. I whipped up another batch of the Expand N’ Gro, enough to fill 20 pods. In them, I will be planting Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach (13), Cilantro (4), and Baby Romaine Lettuce (3).
I have no idea how viable the lettuce seeds are, since the last time I planted them was in the summer of 2009. I had really great success with four of the five that I started, that summer. I grew the plants in a gutter that I purchased on the cheap at Ace Hardware.
The package claimed the plants would reach 8 inches, but I mentally recall that they were taller than that…
Tomorrow, I am going to start the two packs of beans that I’ve had laying around for two years now. I am also hoping to start seeing the hops rhizomes poke through the soil. I briefly read an article on people’s failures with hops, and it has made me paranoid.