Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What To Do When Your Indoor Seeds Are Growing Much Faster Than Advertised?

This is my first year of growing seeds indoors, and I must admit I covered every angle of this process to perfection. I bought the right seeds, grow lights, heating mat etc... and have religiously followed many expert bloggers advice.

In fact I did too good of a job -- my seedlings are growing way too fast! After 10 days, they are where I thought they would be after one month.
Growth has been phenomenal and has exceeded my expectations.
My seedlings began emerging:
Cauliflower-2 days
Broccoli- 3 days
Tomato- 3 days
Lettuce- 3 days
Pepper- 4 days

After about 2 months, I was told I would need to transplant into bigger (3 X 3", or 4 X 4") pots, at which point I would be ready to place them outside in my greenhouse. According to plan, this would have occurred in late March.

However, it's looking like many of my seedlings will be ready for this process before the end of February.
Closer view of a variety of peppers and tomatoes.
A Chilling Thought

The thought of putting these plants outside in a greenhouse in late February is a little troublesome for me. In Virginia the average temperature still dips below freezing on most nights. Even in a greenhouse, this might put too much stress on the little fellas.
My Cauliflower's were the first to emerge, after just two days! They are already several inches high.
Thinking Ahead

For several weeks, my new plants will need a "half-way" house -- between the time they graduate from the seed tray to when they get a new temporary home in the greenhouse.

So I am already starting to plan in advance. Despite living in a small, crowded house with very little extra room, I have identified 6 spaces next to windows where I can place trays. Each tray fits 18 3X3" pots, which will cover 108 plants. 72 plants can go back under my grow lights.

This still leaves several dozen plants unaccounted for. Oh well, I'll have to cross that bridge when I get there.

Next year I will start my indoor seeds one month later ... you live and you learn.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New 2012 USDA Hardiness Zone Map Released - Changes Reflect Rising Temperatures Since Last Release

Updated once every several years to a few decades, the USDA has released an interactive GIS-based hardiness zone map for 2012. It is also available in static image form for slower connections.

Click image to view interactive link, or use links at the bottom of this post.
Gardeners beware ... the climate has changed over the last several decades and the government has reflected these changes with this new hardiness zone map. Most locations throughout the USA have remained the same or been notched up a half zone.

A half zone increase may not sound like much - it reflects a 5 degree change - but with first and last frost times so critical, one or two weeks could make a difference between plant life and death.

Stuck in-between zones and not sure which zone you belong to? No problem -- just type in your zip code and it will tell you.

Currently, the USDA has not printed any posters of this new 2012 map, but you can download state, regional and national maps in a variety of resolutions and print them yourself.

View Maps:

Interactive version for higher speed internet connections

Static version for slower internet connections


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Salmon Colored Sunset

Yesterday morning I awoke to our first measurable winter precipitation - if you count about 3/4" of a slushy snow/sleet/freezing rain mixture "measurable."

Anyway, the day was followed by spectacular sunset colors. As usual, this unexpected event had me scurrying for my camera - and I took the following pictures:
Garden sign from last year hanging in the foreground. This picture gets me "itchy" to get started again this Spring.
View from ground level next to my two raised herb garden beds. Note the green curly parsley plant that's STILL ALIVE! It's hardy down to 15 degrees - and it's yet to get below that this winter.
Final picture. My vegetable garden will be located towards the back of this photo.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

FREE Seed Catalog List. 30 Companies That Will Mail You Their Latest Print Seed Catalogs Cost Free.

With experts and avid gardeners all ready to begin growing seeds indoors, it's time to get a game plan underway for your Spring garden. Browsing through catalogs is one of the finest ways to get great gardening ideas.

If you're like me, there's nothing like flipping through real-life magazines, newspapers and catalogs (it's just not the same in digital form!). That's why I still order print editions of my catalogs, and yes (in case you're wondering) I do still get my newspaper delivered to my house daily.

All of the following 30 links are verified to be working as of yesterday, January 19, 2012. Just fill out the requested information and these companies will send out a catalog at their earliest convenience. It's that simple.

NOTE: Where indicated, many of these companies also do offer a downloadable .PDF version (or other type of digital download) of the same catalog. Also keep in mind that some of these companies have not yet released their 2012 catalog, so make sure you don't request a 2011 version if you want a 2012.

DISCLAIMER: Unless otherwise stated, LushGreenVA neither personally endorses or opposes any of the following merchants. Please do your own due diligence if you intend to commit financially to these organizations.


Abundant Life Seeds (.PDF version also available)
Organic and biodynamic vegetable, flower, & herb seeds. Also garden supplies and tools.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (.PDF version also available)
Pure heirloom, open-pollinated vegetable, flower, & herb seeds.

Botanical Interests (.PDF version also available)
Vegetable, flower, & herb seeds.

Bountiful Gardens
Heirloom, untreated and open-pollinated vegetable, flower, herb and other seeds.

Comstock Garden Seeds
Selling seeds for 200 years. Primarily Heirloom vegetable seeds, some flower & herb seeds.

Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co.
Popular company selling vegetable seeds & much more.

Harris Seeds
Since 1879, selling primarily vegetable seeds.

High Mowing Organic Seeds (.PDF version also available)
100% certified organic, non-GMO vegetable, flower, & herb seeds.

Irish Eyes Garden Seeds
Vegetable, flower, herb and other seeds, plus more.

John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds
350 varieteies of vegetable, flower, & herb seeds.

Johnny's Selected Seeds
Vegetable, flower, and herb seeds.

Kitazawa Seed Co.  (.PDF version also available)
Specializing in over 250 Asian vegetable seed varieties.

Selling vegetable, flower, & herb seeds in small or bulk quantities.

The Online Greenhouse
Some non-GMO and heirloom vegetable & flower Seeds, and other seed starting supplies.

Peaceful Valley Grow Organic
A section of organic vegetable and herb seeds, and open-pollinated flower seeds. Also a bunch of other stuff.

Richters (.PDF version also available)
Herb seeds, extracts, oils & more.

Seed Savers Exchange (.PDF version also available)
Non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. Vegetable, flower, herb seeds, and more.

Seeds of Change (.PDF version also available)
Organic vegetable, flower, and herb seeds. Also live plants, tools and supplies.

Select Seeds
Rare, choice heirloom flower and plant seeds, as well as a few herb seeds.

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
My favorite, located here in Virginia. Specializing in mid-Atlantic seeds (zones 6-8) Huge and informative catalog full of vegetable, flower, & herb seeds.

Sow True Seeds (.PDF version also available - just click on catalog image!)
Vegetable, flower, and herb seeds. Open-pollinated/non-hybrid & untreated seeds featuring heirloom, organic & traditional varieties.

Territorial Seed Company (online version also available)
Family owned business selling vegetable, flower, and herb Seeds. Also live plants and garden supplies.

The Cook's Garden
Packed with seeds and live plants, including vegetables, annuals, perennials, herbs, garden-ready plants, gardening supplies and more.

Thompson & Morgan
Quality English seeds for over 150 years. Vegetable, herb, shrub and tree seeds + much more!

Totally Tomatoes (online version also available - see link near lower left)
Tomato, pepper and vegetable seeds, plus live plants, roots and berries.

Urban Farmer
Vegetable & herb seeds as well as Spring bulbs, and seed potatoes.

Certified organic vegetable, flower, & herb seeds as well as bird feeders, tools and supplies.

Wild Garden Seed
Located in the Pacific northwest. Open-pollinated, untreated and organic vegetable & herbs seeds.

Willhite Seed Inc. (.PDF version also available)
In the seed business for 86 years. Vegetable as well as a few herb seeds.