Seedling Update 4.5 weeks

Are you tired of looking at my seedlings yet? These are my Zinnia seedlings – I’m starting the chartreuse ‘Green Envy’ and ‘California Giant’. I have dreams of Skittles-colored flowers dotting the yard.

Zinnia Seedlings 2 weeks

Grow, grow, grow!

Seedlings 3.5 weeks

Here’s a look at how my tomato seedlings are doing:

Tomato Seedlings 3.5 weeks

They are looking good but let’s hope they keep getting bigger and stronger. I will have to move them to a bigger peat pot soon.

More pictures here.

Starting greens on St Paddy’s

Starting lettuces

How appropo!

I know this tub looks empty but I sowed several mixes of greens/lettuces on the right side. I am saving the left side for a 2nd sowing in 10 days or so.

I like the lettuce mixes from Renee’s Garden. In this tub, I sowed the Paris Market mix, Asian Baby Leaf mix and an Heirloom Cutting mix. You can also make your own salad mix by saving lettuce seeds leftover from a previous year. It is also a great idea to add sow some herb seeds to the mix like chervil, cress, parsley and sorrel.

My plan is to harvest these leaves when they are young for salads throughout the growing season. I plan to grow more in the raised cedar beds but I wanted a separate and more convenient growing container just outside the back door.

We should see some sprouts in a couple of days.

Seedlings

Here’s a picture of my tomatillo and rhubarb seedlings. The shoplights and seed heating mats have been great for the seed starting. These are the best seedlings I’ve sprouted.

I’m looking forward to green sauce from the tomatillos. The rhubarb may not yield too big of a harvest this year but I’m sure there will be a few stalks for a rhubarb fool or two.

Seed starting 2009

First daffodils

I love the daffodils that come up at the side of the house every spring. They do get a little tall so I always cut them and bring them into the house to enjoy.

First Daffodils from the yard

Spring, is that you?

Seed Stash

I have been acquiring all sorts of seeds. I don’t even know if I will be able to handle all of them when the growing season comes around. There is hope that some of these seeds are independent, self-reliant and do not need a lot of attention.

Are you having this same seed love too?

Seed Stash 2009

Here are some of my favorite seed companies:
Territorial Seed Company
John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds
Johnny’s Seeds
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Renees Garden Seeds
Seeds of Change
Seed Savers Exchange
Botanical Interests
Ed Hume Seeds

Sun-filled

It’s been a mostly sun-filled weekend here in the PNW. After the cold dark days, it’s always hard to imagine that the light is around the corner. Spring will return really soon and I have the gardening bug to prove it!

I set out some primroses, daffodils, violas and hyacinths in some pots. I also spent time cutting back the fountain grasses so that they can once again dazzle me with their brilliant display.

It’s always difficult to cook when one is alone but today inspiration struck and I made this delicious Korean pancake and dipping sauce. Delicious – thanks to Ji Yoon Yoo’s recipe on NYT. It was easy and before long, I was able to tame my hunger.

Korean Pancake (Pa Jun)

Korean Pancakes (Pa Jun)
Published: February 10, 2009
Adapted from Ji Yoon Yoo
Time: 15 to 20 minutes

For the dipping sauce:
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, optional
Pinch of hot red pepper flakes.

For the pancakes:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour or rice flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup very finely chopped vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, green beans, scallions) or chopped cooked leftover meat (chicken, beef, pork) or both. [I used scallions, snow peas, savoy cabbage – all sliced finely]

1. For dipping sauce: In a small bowl, combine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar (if using) and red pepper flakes. Mix well and set aside.

2. For pancakes: Fill a pitcher or glass with ice and 1/2 cup or more cold water; set aside. Place a small (6- to 8-inch) nonstick or well-seasoned skillet over medium-low heat. Coat bottom with vegetable oil and allow to heat.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs just until frothy. Add flour and salt and whisk to combine. Add vegetables or meat and stir to blend. Add 1/2 cup ice water and mix again to blend.

4. Fill a 1/2-cup measuring cup with batter; pour into hot pan. Allow to sit until browned and crispy on bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip pancake and cook another 2 minutes. Place on a serving plate and keep warm (or set aside to serve at room temperature). Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with dipping sauce, tearing or cutting off pieces of pancake to dip in sauce with fingers or chopsticks.

[I poured all the batter into a big non-stick pan and fried it up as one big pancake. To get it to crisp up, it took a little longer – about 5 mins on each side. It smelled so good especially when the scallions got in on the action.]

Seeds

Like my fellow gardeners, I’ve been studying numerous seed catalogs lately. I made my first order yesterday and am now looking forward to starting some seeds in the garage. There is still work to be done in order to set up my indoor seed-starting setup. I have a flourescent lamp that I will hang up over the seed starting trays. I am also thinking about how to keep them warm.

In previous years, I did not invest as much time into starting seeds but I think that having starts to set out in the garden helps to improve the yield. With the cooler springs that we’ve been having, the seedlings do need some help.

Here are some of what I’m planting this year:

Japanese Black Trifele Tomato

Momotaro Tomato

Jimmy Nardello Peppers

Millionaire Eggplant

I am trying my hand at growing some sun-loving crops. I hope that the south-facing troughs that we put in last August will be a happy spot for them. I ordered the seeds from Territorial Seed Company who are the experts on what grows well in the PNW.

Lucky Bamboo

I wasn’t always a big garden person, in fact, I was fairly sure that green fingers were not part of my lot in life. But I wasn’t willing to secede. I wanted some green in my life so I thought that I would start out safe with easy care indoor plants. Once I was sure that those would survive under my care, I experimented more.

My first indoor plant was the lucky bamboo, Dracaena sanderiana. They seem to thrive with a fresh change of water weekly but I could never understand why the leave tips often burned/turned brown. I learned from the article linked below that it is the flouride in our tap water that affects them.

This care guide in Organic Gardening has good information about taking care of your lucky bamboo. Thanks, Willi.

Bathroom window sill


The lucky bamboo pictured here are not my first. I placed these in test tubes on a rack in the half bath during the remodel last year. The first lucky bamboo plants I ever bought travelled with us across the country in the car when we moved up to Seattle, they are now growing well in my bathroom where they enjoy the humidity and light.