Thursday, May 1, 2008

May 1, 2008

Today will be a fun post.  For working a 10 hour day I sure was busy gardening today. 

Last night I found that after neglecting to check my coffee filters for a day, that most every seed had germinated.  They all looked like little tadpoles or mice.  I had tried to wake up early to plant this morning but alas, I'm not a morning person so I was too late to do it.  All day I waited to get home to plant.  As soon as I got home my son and I went out to plant. Me in my overcoat, slacks and dress shoes and him in his fisherman's hat (sun protection for the little one's skin).  Yep it's sunny and 54 right now.

So tonight, I planted one SF of bush beans, but alas, the two SF that I had direct sowed after presoaking all rotted despite the cold frame over them.  Too early for beans here.  I've since found that out but the gardening section in the paper doesn't report "now's NOT the time to plant" but rather "now is the time to plant" hehe. Next year I'll put a hoop cover over it and start early anyway.  I started more seeds germinating in coffee filters to replant the rotted squares. GRRR.  I've got 8 SF to plant so I've got to start tons. Right now I've got 3 squares worth in various stages of germination and one in the ground already.  I guess I'm going to town now.  Speaking of germinating in coffee filters, I hope you can re-use the coffee filters because I am.  It's a shame to recycle perfectly good filters if they can be used again.

Ok, in addition to my beans, I planted most of another row of corn and started more seeds in coffee filters because I've got to get more rows started if I want them as high as an elephant's eye by the fourth of July (not going to happen here).  It should be noted that not all varieties germinate well.  My Seneca Horizon germinated great but my Precocious didn't do so well.  Anyway, here's a pic of my corn I snapped today.

Oh, and I think my wife's camera phone takes excellent pictures.  Two mega pixels with auto-focus does very well for my blog.  /shrug

Also, I started one more square each of my three lettuces and my spinach.  The lettuce I ran out of room in bed #1 so I put them in the front of bed #2.  I want more lettuce than anything else and 4/SF doesn't seem like much lettuce. I could be wrong.  This is a test season after all. And it better be because the weather's been so screwy. hehe

In addition to more corn and bush beans in coffee filters, I've got pole beans and peas germinating. What's cool about the coffee filter technique is you can stack the plastic bags on top of each other and they'll germinate just fine.  Speaking of peas, the reason I'm germinating more (this time inside) is that out of the 5 replants 4 rotted again.  It's like you can't plant seeds where others have rotted.  Well, other than the replants rotting, and some of the runt seedlings doing squat, the peas are doing quite well. Here's a new pic of them...

While I was outside planting, I took a quick glance at my potato bins.  More multiple sprouts popping up in the Buttes, but the real news is that the Yukon Golds appear to be trying to catch up. I have 3 sprouts and one more spot of cracking dirt.  Heck, after seeing Judy's monsters, I'm just excited to see anything green. It's a start.

I also re-measured the space I've allocated to my compost bins.  See I found a new post on Craigslist for pallets.  This time it's in neighboring Lynnwood.  They want $1 a piece for them, but since it's going to the "coffee fund" I suppose it's ok. This is Seattle after all. We've got to have our coffee. hehe  The one problem I see with these pallets is that they're 3x5 rather than 4x4.  It's making me re-think my design.  I've narrowed it down to two possibilities.  I could possibly fit a 5(w)x10(l)x3(h) if wide but low compost piles are better.  Or if tall piles are better, I could build a bin that's 5x5x6(h). Well it'd be six feet high on three sides but 3 feet high in front where I would be turning it.  So I emailed the company selling the pallets asking for six or seven of them.  I'll decide which to build and get the right number. 

I'm getting excited about finally taking the plunge into the world of composting.  If I can make some quick compost maybe I can use it to replant my radishes.  They're getting quite fat so they're essentially ready to pick.  I'm kinda sad because it's my only veggie ready to pick, and a radish salad isn't very tasty. We may have to buy lettuce, hehe.

Speaking of buying produce, I read a cool article in the Seattle P-I today.  The mayor of Seattle said today that he would like to cut down on the distance food travels to get to Seattle consumers.  So he's cutting fees for farmers markets to encourage locally grown food.  That and the you-tube video on mini-farms in front and back yards got me thinking.  I've got a quarter acre, and even if most of it is in the front, I could put beds out there and grow a mini-farm. Yeah right. Not going to happen.  A thought none-the-less.

So today was a good garden day, and the weather is supposed to be showers but 58 Saturday and sunny and 61 on Sunday, so I'm more enthusiastic about this weekend than last.  That said, it's now time for my to-do list...

-Build a compost bin.  After talking to my brother, he's leaning toward a 5x5x6 bin with hinges or removable bolts to get into it.  We'll see what I can get and if I can get it in time for the weekend.

- Mow my lawn. It's getting a bit long, though nowhere near what it was last time.  This time it should be one yard waste container worth.  I plan on filling a container and having help to dump it into my compost bin after I lay down newspaper as a weed blocker.  I've also got a bunch of twigs left over from my cherry tree demo that I've been saving for my compost.  I hope the size isn't too big to compost because I've got no other way to make them smaller in bulk other than mowing them over with my lawnmower, which would wreck the blade.  Maybe I can convince my folks to store their chipper here. It's on it's last legs so they don't like using it.  We'll see.

- Build my SWC. I found plans enough to build it.  And it's fine time to plant my tomatoes. They're getting huge so it's plenty time to plant them.  I hope they're still hardened ready to plant outside after three straight days of being too cold to put them outside. They've spent three straight days upstairs in constant 60 degree temperatures and full sun from my window overlooking the garden.  Not sure if it's a good sign or not, but one pot is growing mushrooms.  Not sure why but I'll pull them before I transplant the tomatoes.  Here's a pic of my tomatoes hanging out in the window as the sun goes down over the marigold tree...

- Possibly prune rhodies.  Ciscoe said in his article today in the P-I that you can prune back rhodies after they bloom.  I've got a huge 15 foot tall rhodie that is encroaching on my kids swing set and causing a bit too much shade for my patio/soon-to-be deck.  The cool thing is that the clippings will make great brown material for all those "green" grass clippings.  It'll be a good start. 

 Enjoy your garden and your weekend!


  1. Good morning Sinfonian! Sounds like things are moving right along in your garden. I'm so glad that you're getting some warmer weather -- that will help alot.

    I saw your post with the potatoes breaking ground! Cool! Oh, the reason that the tomatoes might have some mushrooms growing in them is probably because mushroom compost might have been used to mix up the potting mix that they are in :-) So I wouldn't worry about it. The compost that they grow mushrooms in has to be super rich and it can only be used once then they have to replace it. But it still makes an excellent compost for seedling mix or for the garden.

    I'm so glad that you're building a compost bin! I do believe that you'll get alot of use from that. Plus, just being able to use stuff that you would have normally thrown away will really make it worth your while. Right now I'm sorta composting in one of the 3'x4'x11" raised beds. It's full after mowing the yard for 2 straight weeks and also mixing with some other leaves and kitchen scraps. Oh, and the coffee grounds -- I can't forget those :-) Maybe I can take some pics this weekend. And it really doees heat up hot. Kinda cool -- it just sits there and cooks -- all you have to do is turn it and give it a little air. I've had to add a little water to mine because I don't have the topc covered with plastic. We haven't had any rain in a while so it's getting pretty dry.

  2. megan_in_seattleMay 1, 2008 at 11:16 PM

    Check out this website for possible free pallets:

  3. You should consider 2 or 3 smaller compost bins rather than one large one. If you want to hot compost and get finished compost fast, you'll have to turn it over once or twice a week. One large bin makes turning over difficult. If you have 3 smaller bins, one always stays empty to turn over into.