Friday, February 8, 2008

February 8, 2008

Well, I ordered my Red Sails and Italienscher seeds today. Unfortunately Territorial is too darn efficient and they'd already shipped my seed order so I had to pay shipping again.  Drat, expensive lettuce, but I couldn't see making salads out of just Salad Bowl Lettuce and Spinach all year long.  Now I'll have color, texture and taste! Muahahahaha!

Well, I was helping put the boys to bed and checked out my garden in their nursery.  Unfortunately I think my plants are getting a bit too leggy, despite being repotted deep enough to cover most of the stem.  It just re-grew!  What am I doing wrong?  It's to tall and falling over.  Should I stake it up or what?

The rest of my seedlings seem to be doing ok... here are some others...

And even my cute little onions sprouting up all over the place...

I'm not sure when to transplant the onions? A few are looking good but sooner or later the seed will give up all it's nutrients and vermiculite has none to give (thanks Judy for that tid bit). 

Well, the weekend is here and aside from putting together a bed and taking down a crib, I should have plenty of time to build a potato bin or two.  It should be pretty easy, just cut the boards and assemble four 1x6s to four 2x2s, then attach landscape fabric to the bottom.  Shame I used up all our landscape fabric when I did the gravel work.  I sincerely doubt they'll have 4 SF for sale anywhere.  I'll have to buy TONS of it.  Ah well.

One week away from dirt!  I've started accumulating coffee grounds to mix into the top 6 inches of my beds. So far I've got 5 pounds but need a lot more. Starbucks has it free at most locations, just ask for used grounds for the garden.  It's really good for improving the nitrogen (it's got a 20:1 ratio of nitrogen to carbon, and roughly an NPK ratio of 7-2-2, though another site had it at 2-0.3-0.2 what a difference espresso can make, hehe)  It's also slightly acidic which makes it useful to help out the blueberries.  I read that the pH of coffee grounds is 6.9, which is BARELY acidic at all.  So I don't get how you can make soil more acidic by using several pounds of coffee.  It doesn't seem that it could make it lower than 6.9 pH.  I may use a little around my blueberries but I think I'll need a soil test kit.  Blueberries like 4.5 pH, which is nearly as acidic as citrus juice.

Ah well, a quick look on the web for how coffee grounds help corn didn't yield anything. I know they're high in nitrogen so I'll throw some in to help it out.  Corn feeds on nitrogen.  I may also fertilize with Miracle Grow since it is really high (30) in nitrogen.  This is especially the case since I really can't cycle my corn around my garden. I only have one bed big enough for corn.  If I deplete the nitrogen one year, I won't have any for the next year.  Something to think about, and of course diseases that may result.  Maybe worms help. Who knows? Flatlander that's who. I guess I could use the second largest and smallest and then use the corn bed for traditional SFG.  That would leave me with 2 less trellises.

Ok, I found this searching the internet for coffee ground benefits in gardening.  Hope it helps...

  • Sprinkle used grounds around plants before rain or watering, for a slow-release nitrogen... Good for augmenting for corn when the stalks start to shoot up or the cobs start to form.

  • Add to compost piles to increase nitrogen balance. Coffee filters and tea bags break down rapidly during composting... They're trying to make me compost. We LOVE tea!

  • Dilute with water for a gentle, fast-acting liquid fertilizer. Use about a half-pound can of wet grounds in a five-gallon bucket of water; let sit outdoors to achieve ambient temperature... I could be dangerous with this. Seattle RAIN, hehe. If you didn't know, Starbucks started here, about 2 blocks from my work.

  • Mix into soil for houseplants or new vegetable beds... This is how I plan on using it.

  • Encircle the base of the plant with a coffee and eggshell barrier to repel pests.

  • If you are into vermi-posting, feed a little bit to your worms... Flatlander take note.

  • (From Sustainable Enterprises, so the other poster said).

Ok, here's my research on Starbucks coffee and blueberries.  Unless blueberries need nitrogen, don't bother.  The lable apparently says the acidity is brewed out of it (and into our coffee, read heartburn) so the pH is 6.9 for sure. No good for acid loving plants like blueberries.  I guess I'll buy enough Miracle Gro Acid fertilizer to last the full 20 year life of those plants. I understand a table spoon dilutes into 1 gallon twice a year, and you get a big container. Joy.

1 comment:

  1. Egg shells! Thanks for the reminder. That should help with the gastropods.