Monday, July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008

Wow, I hope not to have too many more of these type days.  13 hours at work plus almost two hours of commuting is 15 hours.  I swore I could get done a huge project today if I worked straight through, but I spent too much time working out HOW I was going to do the project that time ran out on me.  I need to go in very early to finish it by noon, despite an hour plus meeting at 9:30... yeah right.

Anyway, since I got home after dark, no pics today. Go figure.  Fortunately not much should have changed since I took pics last night.  What I can talk about is the research I got done today.  I read on the bus. For quite a while I've been reading Steve Solomon's How to Grow Veggies West of the Cascades.  Today I've been reading all about seeds.  I find it very interesting that home gardeners get shafted by seed companies.  Seems the minimum legal germination rate for home seeds is 75% in the perfect conditions of a laboratory up to 6 months prior to packaging.  For farmers, they are required to field test them and even inform the farmer the % germination in the field.  So farmers pay extra for 90% germination seeds but we pay the who knows what for whatever % they want to give us.  Did I mention that at 75%, under ideal conditions you can expect 50% to germinate.  Farmers planting 90% seeds have a 75% germination rate under poor conditions...  Now this guy was a big wig at Territorial Seed, where I got most of my seeds.  I wonder what % my Jade Bush Beans were.  I got far less than 50% germination, knowing that it was less than ideal conditions with the cold spring and early summer.

But here's a question maybe Tim can answer.  He recommended the book to me.  So far, Mr. Solomon's repeatedly stated that when you're planting seeds that you've got one shot and one shot only to get a seed to sprout.  I find that incredibly wrong, especially in our area.  I find it completely forgiving on timing.  If it weren't I couldn't succession plant like I have.  Of course I haven't finished the book, but I must be missing something.  I mean, my brother planted his tomatoes last year in early March and got monster plants.  This year he planted in June and is doing fine.  I call that forgiving. /shrug

Well, time to hit the sack so I don't sleep in (like I've been doing of late). Bad Rich.  hehe.

Enjoy your garden!


  1. I do recall Mr. Solomon talking about "once chance" to sprout seeds. That does seem a bit dramatic, and he does seem to hold a dim view of the seed industry, and the nursery trade, which I somewhat agree with. Obviously it's not true for alot of crops, but for some it is. Giving Mr. Solomon the benefit of the doubt, I think he was speaking of warm weather crops in cool locations. Eggplants, peppers, curcubits and the like. It's quite possible for a cool spring to delay planting so that the window of opportunity to direct-sow these crops is only a week. And by delaying that week you are under increasing risk of not being able to ripen your crop before the onset of cool fall weather. Or at least having a significantly reduced yield. Also, Summer plantings for Fall crops can be very timing critical. As I said, I think he is overstating his case a bit, but it is not without some merit.
    And by the way, you can ask Steve Solomon himself if you would like to know the real scoop. I've done so myself. Go to this web page and use the link near the bottom of the page.

  2. Not sure if my last comment posted - sorry if this duplicates it -
    I had no idea about the issue with seeds. Heard not to buy them at Lowe's but didn't know other kinds were bad too - have any ideas of where to get reliable seeds?

  3. I have experienced with tomatoes that the seeds that didn't germinate during winter sowing, but germinated when I dumped the "dud" with seed starting mix out into an herb container. I wound up with 3 "volunteer" tomato plants and without labels, I don't know which they are.

    Hmm, maybe I'm misinterpreting what is meant by "one shot" to germinate a seed? Is it timing? In the past, I've started tomatoes in Feb, Mar, Apr and July. The July plants yielded in October. I did use WOW and coverings though.

    Sorry to hear about the long work days, hopefully your project is interesting at least!

  4. You are having a great year! I am so proud.

  5. Tim, thank you as always for your amazingly insightful comments. They are always informative and helpful. Thank you. And as for the seed starting, you may be right about the warm weather crops, though I think I tried three times to plant bush beans and the second and third time a month apart worked somewhat, leading me to the conclusion that there was a larger window. My cantaloupe seem to be doing well well outside the window. My corn was planted in four or five successions over a period of three months. So in my experience after one year it seems Mr. Solomon is overemphasizing his point a bit, hehe.

    Plantgirl, hope you got my email and it was helpful. Stop by and post as often as you want. If there's a duplicate I can easily clear it for you. No problem!

    Penguingardener, though I've never grown tomatoes from seed, your idea is dead on with my experience. Of course our climates are different. Some day I may get the courage as a complete novice to call Mr. Solomon on that point. He makes it enough in the Seed chapter. /boggle

    Patti, Thank you, your praise means a lot to me! Your garden is so far above mine it's not even funny. How you do everything you do is a mystery. You truely are wonder woman! I love your videos. I've recommended them to tons of folks! Keep up the great snipets!