Archive for the ‘Plants From Seed’ Category

Early tomatoes


2014
04.10

Garden Now

Stupice  (Solanum lycopersicum)

Still surviving. No growing, But still alive. photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Still surviving. No growing, But still alive. photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

There are dozens of  little seedlings thriving under the grow lights. Pepper, eggplant, and tomato plants are just a few inches tall here at the Hobson Estate.

Outside, the weather is swinging from cold to cool. It should be at least a month before I plant tomatoes outdoors in containers or in the garden.  I’ve done something that I would never recommend that you do.

Because I started tomatoes from seed, there are more future tomato plants under the grow-lights than the garden can hold.

I planted two tomato plants outside. No kidding. One on April 6 and one  on April 8.  I planted them deep. Deep being relative when it is a plant only 5 inches tall.

I put a quart canning jar over the tomato plant. Perhaps this will work as a mini greenhouse. It will protect the tomato starter plant from colder night-time temps.

It looks like I have planted canning jars in the garden. If only I could talk those tomatoes into canning themselves, I think I could  get a book deal or, at least, a pretty good spot on the TV shopping channel.

Stupice tomatoes are  a small, early producer of red two-inch fruits. Dwarf indeterminate; in the garden it may grow to as much as 5′, in containers the plant will be shorter. Staking is optional.

From the former Czechoslovakia, these compact plants have potato leaf foliage. They are loaded with clusters of 2” fruits. Expect tomatoes 60 days from transplant. Or, in my case, I hope, less than 60 days after the soil as warmed.

 University of Missouri Extension recommends A family interested in having only fresh fruit should plant three to five plants per person. If enough fruit is wanted for processing, then five to 10 plants per person should be planted.

To get best results with only a few plants and minimal trouble, purchase plants from a local greenhouse or nursery at the proper planting time.

Photo from Renee's Garden

Photo from Renee’s Garden

When is the soil warm enough?

Soil is at least 60 degrees in the daytime and at least 50 degrees at night. Tomato plants will not grow until the weather gets warm.

If this little tomato lives, it will be a delightful surprise. Gardeners are always full of surprises.

This little Stupice tomato plant is in a large container, in full sun, Zone 6, SE Missouri.

I bought these seed from Renee’s Garden. They were planted under the grow light March 13, 2013. It was transplanted into the garden container April 6, and another Stupice  tomato plant was planted April 8, 2014.

If we have a freeze, the plants will curl up and die. That is OK, I have plenty more Stupice tomato plants inside thriving under the grow lights. I will plant them when I am supposed to, more than one month later an Mid to late May.

p.s.

five days later , the Stupice tomato plants are thriving and have outgrown their quart jar solariums. So it looks like we will have a week of windy days above 60°. So, I’ll forge ahead with planting the container tomatoes.

Take advantage of the decent weather whenever you can. Garden at every opportunity, because you never know when the next beautiful day is coming. This summer may turn into a scorcher, getting so hot the tomato plants won’t set fruit.

Or, for example, put off mowing one more day, tomorrow and the rest of the week it will be downpours. You will need to cut and bale the grass at your next opportunity.

Wish me luck. I am planting tomatoes a month earlier than I ever have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4′x8′ Community Garden in Owasso, Oklahoma


2014
02.14
TomatoOrganicStupice02

Organic Tomato “Heirloom Stupice” photo: Renee’s Garden

“I’m looking for some bush type cucumbers and green beans. My community garden is small and last year my cucumbers took over. This year I want to start with multiple color potatoes and Bush green beans.  

Question: best place to buy? Where to look? Best tomato plants? My tomatoes last year were way to big.  Looking for the old fashion bush type plants that produce without getting six feet tall.”

The 4×8 raised bed can produce a lot more food than you imagine. Because the cost of shipping and handling can be more costly than the seed you ordered, I’m sticking mainly with one seed company.

First, here are my suggestions for the crops you said you want to grow.

  • Potatoes – Try these small patch potatoes from Renee’s Garden. If you are ordering onion starts or seed potatoes, do it very soon for best choice. Renee’s Garden
  • Bush green beans – Seeds you can find locally at big box store or garden center. Plant a few seed every 2 or 3 weeks for a continuous supply of fresh green beans. Don’t plant them all at once unless you are planning to can or freeze green beans.

    IMG_4441

    Mascotte dwarf plants, 6″ long, thin green beans. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Mascotte – dwarf, 16-18″ tall plants. Continuous yield of crisp, medium green skinny, stringless 6″ long beans. 50 days. New. AAS Winner. Harris Seed or Jung Seed

Blue Lake – long time home gardeners have probably grown this old favorite. 6 -6 1/2” pods mature early and all at once. 58 days. Heirloom. Renee’s Garden, Harris Seed, Jung Seed

  • Tomatoes – Plants you might find locally at big box store or garden center. Space plants 2 feet apart

Celebrity - Compact plants produce heavy yields of medium sized tomatoes on disease-resistant plants. 75 Days. AAS Winner.

Jet Star - An indeterminate, 4′ – 5′ tall plants produce big yields of low acid, bright red 8 – 9 ounce fruits. 72 days. Heirloom.

  • Cucumber – Consider adding a trellis for long straight cucumbers that take up little ground space. Or grow bush cucumbers.

    cuc-slicer1

    Cucumbers photo: Renee’s Garden.

“Bush Slicer” – disease resistant, dwarf bushes, produce 6 to 8″ long fruits. Keep picked for continued production of tender, crisp, sweet fruit. Cut cucumbers – do not twist fruits from plants. Renee’s Garden

 

More suggestions for a small space gardens.

You will have room for more vegetables by choosing the plants ment for small space or container gardens.

  • Squash – bush type varieties of summer squash are easier to see, watching for size.

    zucchini-astia2

    Container grown zucchini is easy to pick. Check every other day to keep squash size in control. photo: Renee’s Garden.

“Astia” zucchini - French bush variety perfect for small space gardens. Non-rambling, early bearing and productive. Renee’s Garden

  • Turnips – Plant in both spring and fall.

“Mikado” turnips, Japanese baby globe-shaped roots with white flesh and mild flavor. Nutritious tops make fine cooked greens.  Renee’s Garden

Before you plant these seed, there is plenty of time to plant lettuce, spinach radishes, green onions in the space where tomatoes and peppers will be planted after the ground is warmed enough, 50° F.

Also, you can plant peas, bush snow peas or spring peas.

P1140993

Companion plant Italian basil near tomato plants. photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Add Herbs. Buy a few starter herb plants to tuck into empty spaces. 2 or 3 parsley, 1 basil, 1 dill.

When your tomatoes are in full production, use the tomatoes and parsley to make Tabouli. Add dill to vinegar and marinate cucumbers. Sprinkle torn basil leaves over tomato slices or stir into tomato sauce.

 

The Owasso Community Garden consists of 34 – 4 x 8 raised bed gardens, 15 of which are American Disabilities Act beds, located south of the Community Center in Owasso, Oklahoma. Facebook

I am starting container grown tomatoes from seed.

My small space tomato choices:

Stupice – richly flavored fruits on 5′ vines. Great tasting 2” fruits and perfect for container growing or small space gardens. From the Czech Republic, pronounced ”Stu petes”. (Stupice may win the neighborhood first tomato contest.)

tomato-superbush3

Super Bush. photo: Renee’s Garden

  Super Bush – Continuous producer of 5 ounce   fruits on 3 foot tall plants. Good choice for containers and small gardens. Hybrid, disease resistant. 

Both tomato varieties are from Renee’s Garden

← This is the photo that convinced me to grow Super Bush.

 

BUILD A BED

Use concrete blocks to build a raised bed. Quick, easy, lasts forever. Grow a theme garden. This one is a spaghetti sauce garden.

A 4′ x 4′ raised bed is big enough to grow enough produce to make fresh spaghetti sauce and freeze or can a few jars for winter.

Build a spaghetti sauce theme garden in a 4′ x 4′ concrete block raised bed.

 

Becky’s Flowers


2014
02.10

Sunflowers! Becky, they remind me of you. Sunflowers make me happy.

Here’s to sunny days!  True, the sunflowers aren’t even planted yet. But they will be.

sunflower-musicbox_5001-1

Musicbox 2 1/2′

 

I’ll be taking pictures of all of them when they bloom. I grow them for the birds (goldfinches) but the squirrels get their share.

Some are pollen free, so they are not messy and make wonderful bouquets. They are top-heavy sunflowers, so they seem to like heavy glass pitchers or old crocks as flower vase.

 

valentine

Valentine 4-5′

You’ve seen a lot of different sunflowers in my garden. I can never have too many sunflowers.

Anyway, Becky, these sunflowers make people happy and I think that is one of the reasons they remind me of you.

 

snackseed

Snack seed 6-8′

The birds and the squirrels get all the Snack Seed sunflowers. Sometimes, if I can get out there before that trashy little squirrel tears them up, I’ll cut a few seed heads to dry. In the winter, the birds flock to these seed treats.

When I was on my knees weeding, last summer, I heard voices. But we couldn’t see each other.” Jean, look! That‘s  a red sunflower!   (She was pointing at the Chocolate Cherry .)

 

Sun Samba

Sun Samba

 

These mixed sunflowers are just like planting surprises. You never know exactly will come up, but you know you are going to like them no matter what.

 

Chocolate Cherry 6-8

Chocolate Cherry 6-8

 

sunzilla

Sunzilla 10-16

 

The neighbors, a couple of houses down, thanked me for growing those long tall Sunzillas. “We sit on the porch every afternoon and it looks those sunflowers are smiling at us.”

 

Oh, and the red sunflowers? Well, when I stood up, I think I scared the crap out of my visitors. One made a little yelp.  And they grabbed each other.   “We didn’t know anyone was here!” she screamed at me. “WE ARE SORRY!”

“Well, you are always welcome in my gardens,” I said.

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*Becky Funke is in a hospital that does not allow flowers in the rooms. So, not to be deterred, I’ll send them on Pinterest. You can stop by her CaringBridge site to leave well wishes and get updates. Her family keeps the site up to date.

 All of the sunflower seeds are from Renee’s Garden  The sunflowers have beautiful photos and planting/care guides online at Renee’s GardenOn Facebook.

Pink Hollyhock


2013
12.05

I collected a lot of pink hollyhock seed this year.

Hollyhocks do best in full sun with plenty of water. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

I’m giving away: 30 pink Hollyhock seed. Check it out – Listia

When to plant. Some seed can be planted the first week before the last frost date.  Then, in two weeks plant a few more seed and, in two more weeks plant more seed. This succession planting will keep you in beautiful blooms throughout the season.

Planting. Get the hollyhock seed off to a good start in well worked soil. After that, you will have little to do except just enjoy their flowers. Start by adding a little organic matter or compost into the planting area.

Plant hollyhock seed just 1/4″ deep. These plants like sunny, moist but well-drained soil.

Be sure to thin to prevent mildew. You can transplant the thinnings, just be gentle and keep them moist.

You get seeds from every bloom. photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

You get seeds from every bloom. photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

These are a single hollyhock, or the old-fashioned flowers. Many newer varieties are double-flowered and some are shorter to handle the wind better. Those newer, short ones will probably fall into my cart, while I shop online.

Swallowtail Garden Seeds has a nice selection of hollyhocks, including the shorter varieties.

Renee’s Garden Seeds and Burpee have hollyhock seed.

The USDA.GOV site has plant profiles:
Plants Profile for Alcea rosea (hollyhock)

I’m giving away: 30 pink Hollyhock seed. Check it out – Listia

This post is similar to Becky’s Flowers

Todays Harvest Basket 6/15/2013


2013
06.29

Greens and beans

Kale,and lettuce. Mid June and not bitter.  6/24/2013. photo: PBH

Kale,  green beans and lettuce. Mid June and not bitter. 6/24/2013. photo: PBH

It is surprising to find salad greens and kale that are not bitter in mid June.  It’s been a beautiful early summer with plenty of rain and sunshine. So, my guess is that the lettuce and the kale are still tender because they are growing fast and picked as soon as they are mature.  A few days later, the lettuce still in the garden bolted and was very bitter.

Little kale leaves went into the salad bowl. Larger leaves were sautéed with garlic and cooked in a pasta dish with sweet red onions. Since kale is a super food loaded with nutrients. The next seeds of kale will be planted for fall harvest.

Poppies


2013
06.04

Hungarian bread seed poppy

Hungarian Bread Seed Poppy. photo by PBH

Original recipe published as Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing in Taste of Home April/May 2012, p59 The original Taste Of Home Poppyseed dressing. 

They’re Back! Zucchini season


2013
05.20

The management and care of home grown zucchini

small zucchini

Space saving summer squash. Container grown zucchini from Renee’s Garden. photo courtesy Renee’s Garden

People are paying premium prices for squash blossoms at Farmers Markets. If you grow zucchini, (or any summer squash) you have access to one of the most popular summer food trends anywhere.

Stuffed, fried squash blossoms are a gourmet delight. It also solves the problem of too many zucchini. Eat those gorgeous flowers before they become a squash problem.

I have a gazillion recipes for zucchini on Pinterest. My favorite is chocolate zucchini cake. I sprinkle the top of the cake with mini chocolate chips before baking. I make two cakes in 8” square foil pans. One to eat as soon as it is cooled. When the second cake is completely cooled, cover it with foil and put it in the freezer. It’s a no-frosting-needed kind of cake. Perfect for picnics, the foil pan makes it very easy to bake and take.

You’ll have to try to believe it, but the zucchini pickles are great.

For all the joking about squash gone wild, I honestly have never had too many zucchini. I love it and only plant what I and the neighbors will eat. Then there are the squash vine borers that will suddenly end the steady supply of zucchini.

Save any extra seed by taping the packet closed or put it in a ziplock. Keep it in a cool, dry, dark place until next year.

Renee’s Garden has a little bush variety that can grow in a container. They have a quick return when you order seeds. There’s still time to grow a zucchini or two.

Obligatory zucchini joke

I have good news, and I have bad news. 

One day two zucchinis, were walking together down the road. They stepped off the curb and a speeding car came around the corner and ran one of them over. The uninjured zucchini called 911 and helped his injured friend as best he could.

The injured zucchini was taken to emergency at the hospital and rushed into surgery. After a long and agonizing wait, the doctor finally appeared. He told the uninjured zucchini, “I have good news, and I have bad news. The good news is that your friend is going to pull through.” “The bad news is that he’s going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life.”

Cool climate gardening


2013
01.20
Todays Harvest Basket Sept 18, 2012

Tomatoes and peppers are easiest and most popular home grown vegetables.

When my favorite Canadian cousin asked for advice and gardening suggestions, I thought about NicholsGarden Nusery. I’ve been ordering from Nichols for 20 years.

Cousin Sheila wanted to know what seeds would be good for her friend, a new gardener in Alaska.

They raise cabbage in Alaska that make my Missouri crop look like Brussels Sprouts. The first people I would turn to if I wanted to know about gardening in Canada are her parents, my Uncle and Aunt.

Nobody knows Alaska gardening better than Jeff Lowenfels. His column in the Anchorage Daily News is helpful for all gardeners, especially Alaskans.

I was going to suggest some of the best catalogs for colder climates, but Jeff’s suggestions are exactly what I was going to suggest. Seed Catalogs for Alaska gardeners.

If your friend wants to follow a great Gardening Blog, Kathy Purdy’s
Cold Climate Gardening is one of the best.

Rose Marie Nichols McGee introduced me to Indigo Rose. “It’s the worlds first high anthocyanin tomato,” she said.  “Oh, really,” I said. (Note to self, What the heck is anthocyanin? Find out.)

Rose Marie sent seed, and I grew little blue tomatoes last summer. So, I grew beautiful little saladette Indigo Rose tomatoes.

Indigo Rose ripe

When exposed to full sun, these Indigo Rose tomatoes turn blue. Photo Patsy Bell Hobson

If I was a new gardener, I’d buy a couple of  tomato plants and a pepper plant. Then, I would grow leafy greens from seed. Lettuces to start, then chard, kale, and/or spinach.

Or, if I am planting a first garden in Alaska, I might grow these vegetables from Nichols. Rose Marie Nichols McGee has a great blog on the Nichols site, The Gardener’s Pantry Blog.

Garden 1. Salad, tomato, squash. cucumber

Start with salad greens, radish and spinach

lettuce and spinach will be suceeded by pepper plants

lettuce and spinach will be suceeded by tomato and pepper plants. Photo PBH

  • Mesclun – (mixed lettuces) Nichols Organic Mesclun “The Eclectic Eleven”

Why? Because you get a lot of different salad greens, all in one packet.

  • Radish – Easter Egg Radish

Why? Because there a several colors and all taste the same (not hot).

  • Spinach – Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach and/or chard or kale

Why? – Fresh spinach salad with hot bacon dressing

Sungold tomato. photo: PBH

Sungold tomato. photo: PBH

  • Tomato: Sun Gold – The sweetest cherry tomato ever.
  • Tomato: Glacier – Very early medium sized tomato
  • Tomato: Oregon Spring – Large early fruits from compact plants.
  • Squash: Jackpot Zucchini – early, non stop production.
  • Cucumber: National Pickling – compact, small for pickling and fresh.

 

Garden 2. Tomatoes, squash and green beans

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Stupice heirloom, early producer. Photo: Renee’s Garden

Another choice for a first garden: Tomatoes, squash and green beans are a good starter garden. I’ve gown these plants in my garden, and they will do well in Alaska too. These seeds are from Renee’s Garden.

  • Tomato: Stupice – Early bearing, cold tolerant, with richly flavored fruits on short vines. Heirloom.
  • Tomato: Italian Pompeii – loads up early with heavy harvests of meaty plum tomatoes.
  • Tomato: Little Red Pear – vigorous vines load up with clusters of petite pear-shaped ruby-red fruits. Heirloom.
  • Green Beans: Rolande – French “haricot verts”, long skinny, tender full flavor green beans.
  • Green Beans: Provider – Great tasting, highly productive and reliable variety. Heirloom.
  • Squash: Tricolor Mix – three beautiful zucchini summer squash in one packet.

Join Renee’s Comunity Garden.  Find fellow gardeners and get your garden questions answered here. I’ll see you at Renee’s Community Garden.

More Help:

Top Tomato Tips: How to Plant Tomatoes

Decoding Tomato Plants Tags

What is a F-1 tomato?

Help bring back the luscious little melon


2013
01.14

Ananas D’Amerique A Chair Verte Melon

Bring back the luscious little melon.

Bring back the luscious little melon.

This historic heirloom was grown by Thomas Jefferson in 1794. It was offered commercially in the USA in 1824, and it was illustrated in color in France in 1854 in the Vilmorin Igot.

 

melon pkt

A melon wouldn’t last this long unless it was pretty good. I like the idea of growing the same thing that Thomas Jefferson grew.

I’m not a fan of  grocery store cantalope. Don’t judge melons by the melons in grocery stores.  It may be why folks think of this as a blah fruit.

 

From the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog

 

 

 

 

 

Grow wild wasabi arugula


2012
11.09

Plants From Seed

Try something new this spring. photo: Renee’s Garden “Wasabi” arugula.

Something new and green that I’ll be planting come spring: wasabi arugula. It tastes  just as snappy as you might imagine. And, while you probably won’t want a salad bowl filled with it, a few leaves on a plate of fresh mixed greens is delicious.

When my seeds came in the mail, I thought the packet was empty. When I opened and looked inside the packet, it was hard to even see those tiny seed. Traditional arugula seed dwarf these teeny tiny wasabi arugula seed by comparison.

Sow sparingly every 2 or 3 weeks from the earliest date you dare plant in your area. In my zone 6 SE Missouri garden, the plant did best in spring and fall.

I encourage you to grow this tasty new arugula variety. Once it is growing  in the garden, you will think of many flavorful ways to use it in the kitchen. Add a few leaves to your own mesclun mix.

We tucked it into fish tacos, roast beef or tuna salad sandwiches, even topped a pizza with these greens as soon as it came out of the oven.

Hub pages has more information: How to grow organic arugula.

Buy the seed from Renee’s Garden. But don’t limit yourself to just one variety of arugula, I’ve tried several of Renee’s selections. My other favorite arugulas are “Rustic” and “Rustic Style.” “Wasabi” Arugula is a Renee’s Exclusive, a wild discovery that really does taste like it’s namesake.

Renee’s Garden has the best new thing in the early spring garden: “Wasabi” arugula. Photo: Renees Garden.

 

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