growing plants from seed - help?
Hey all,

This is a really general question - when starting plants from seed, I seem to be ok at getting them to germinate, but once the plants hit the 3" - 4" height, something goes wrong and they wilt off and die.

I have tried watering them more, watering them less, transferring them to pots sooner, later, etc... I don't know why I seem to be terrible at this.

Does anyone here grow plants from seed? What's your general process for when you transfer, how you water, etc?

(I recognize this depends entirely on what you're growing, but I'm interested on what you guys do. My current plants are a mix of vegetables and herbs, and I container garden since I live in an apartment.

Thanks in advance. 

hauyu pichu
It's been a perfect year for cabbage, but we have too much to eat fresh so I wanted to make sauerkraut. I don't have a crock, but I do have several very large stainless steal pots. Would it be safe to use these?

Что посеешь, то и пожнешь…
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I lost more than half my tomato crop last year to end rot. This year I took extra precautions... regulation distance between plants, buried egg shells at the roots, faithful watering, and still! This!! Whyyyyy!?!?

Flea beetles
hauyu pichu
I have an infestation of flea beetles on both my potatoes and eggplant. I try to avoid spraying pesticides, even organic pesticides so I'm trying alternatives first, but I wonder if anyone has any success getting them to relocate by spraying garlic, mint and\or onion concotions on the plants?

Failing that does anyone have experience using neem or rotenone?

my kitchen garden - spring 2011
In honor of the Equinox, here are some pictures of my kitchen garden (and more!) Foreground: radishes (cherry belles on the left, and a mix of surprises on the right).  Background: forsythia! blooming! spring!

more under the cutCollapse )


Кормушка для птиц "Кора"
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Кормушка для птиц. Для зимнего прикорма снегирей, синиц, воробьев на вашем приусадебном участке и в городе.

Крепление: проволочное ушко.

Цвет: коричневый. Другие цвета- на заказ.

Материалы: древесина, сосновая кора, лоза, атмосферостойкое покрытие.
Цена- 125 грн

Купить кормушку со скидкой

salsa love
I made canned tomato salsa yesterday.

I was very nervous about it, because I've only ever canned once before, and that was just straight tomatoes in a jar.

I decided to preserve the tomatoes as salsa this year because you can buy canned tomatoes on sale for under a buck, but a jar of good salsa can cost upwards of $6. Besides which, there are many times throughout the year that I suddenly crave salsa but don't have any on hand, whereas it is a very rare moment that I think, "GOD! This PMS is killing me. IF ONLY I HAD SOME CANNED TOMATOES RIGHT NOW!!!"


I have learned that canning a recipe involves all the careful prep-work of raw-food canning, but also you have to prepare the recipe (well, duh), and you have to follow that recipe without variation because the ratio of acids in the food has to be just so. Or else someone could, you know, get botulism and die.

It's a little intimidating for a beginner.

Because of the whole "exact recipe" thing (which is very unlike my usual approach to cooking, and the reason I don't bake often, or well) I wasn't able to make my favorite "tomato-peach salsa". (And apparently I have to specify "tomato-peach", because there are a lot of recipes out there for "peach salsa" that don't actually involve tomatoes. Which is odd to me. But anyway.) I had to borrow a recipe from a book.

I also bought peppers in the wrong proportions (I got several pounds of jalapenos and one pound of frying peppers, instead of the other way around - now I have a surplus of jalapenos!), so I couldn't even use the recipe that I had picked out.

I ended up with a very pepper-rich, spicy salsa. I'm intrigued, because it involves making a paste from re-hydrated cayenne peppers (hence the "spicy") but I have no idea if I'm going to like it. I'm going to have to crack open one of the cans and do a taste-test to determine if it's worth making another batch.

And speaking of "worth it" - since I had to buy all the extra ingredients to go with it (my own pepper crop failed miserably), and since I only got five jars for three hours worth of labor, I do have to question if it is actually all that cost-effective. Three hours of my time (insert your own rate) minus, what, five bucks for ingredients, minus the cost of jars, minus the materials and labor involved in raising the plants? Hmmm.

MAYBE with a bigger tomato crop (lost a lot to end-rot) and a batch of my own peppers...

But anyway. I made canned tomato salsa yesterday.

Growing and using stevia plants?

Has anyone here grown stevia and then used it? How does one process it so that it can be used to sweeten food? I'm thinking you have to let the leaves dry, then grind them up in a mortar & pestle? What else do I need to know? If anyone has information, sites to link to, etc, I'd appreciate being pointed in the right direction.

Thank you!!

my concrete garden
say hello to my little friend
Most of my gardens are adjacent to concrete retaining walls (see pic).

This is only my second year of in-ground gardening. All my experience is in container-gardening with store-bought soil, so I never thought much about soil chemistry.

I haven't had the soil tested yet, but I'm concerned that their less-than-stellar performance may be due high ph levels. I'm thinking I should apply fertilizer that is designed for acid-loving plants in order to balance out the soil chemistry - but I also have a heap of compost available. (Also a new thing for me).

So I'm wondering if there is anything I should know about composting that might impact the need or desirability of fertilizer (especially a fertilizer to increase acidity?)


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