Sunday, March 31, 2013

Weekly Check In 3/31/13

 My seedlings are growing big and strong.  They are now very easily recognizable as to what kind of plant they are.  I have not adjusted the lights up higher yet because I don't want them to grow too tall and spindly reaching for the light.  I won't move the lights until they almost touch them.  They are getting tall enough to put a fan on them for short periods of time to strengthen their stems. 

The weather has warmed up a bit and you can see a lot of the snow has melted this week.  It is starting to feel like Spring might put in an appearance sometime in April.  Incredible to have this much snow on the last day of March.  
Look at these cucumber seeds - the ones on the left are very florescent in color!  Super bright green.  They have been treated.  The ones on the right are untreated. 

Treated seeds have no place in my organic garden and I am usually very careful when ordering seeds to make sure that I don't order any that have been treated or have been genetically modified (other than normal cross pollinating). 

I was very surprised to receive these treated seeds.  I went back to the catalog and also looked at the online description and the seed company did not state that they were treated.  The seed packet that they came out of did plainly state - CAUTION: TREATED SEED. 

They have been treated with Thiram - which is what most treated seeds have been treated with.  I could call the company and ask for a replacement or a refund, but now I've lost faith in this company and for the small price of a packet of seeds, I am just going to chalk it up to experience - I won't, however, be ordering from them again.

This is why I prefer to start my own plants and not even buy plants from a nursery - you just don't know what the plants or their seeds have been subjected to before you get them. 

Others will argue that there is nothing wrong with treated seeds and that the chemicals will wear off long before they get to your table - that may be true - but where do they go?  Do they end up in the soil affecting other plants or in the water?  And those small amounts of chemicals add up over time.  For more information on Thiram - CLICK HERE.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Check In - Spring has Sprung!

At least that is what the calendar says.  We are still waiting here in Minnesota for actual spring.  As you can see, my garden is still under quite a bit of snow! Andy is on spring break this week - he was joking around yesterday saying that he hopes the snow is gone by the first day of summer vacation!

Meanwhile, my seedlings are all doing great.  They have all sprouted now - even the peppers.  They are still pretty small, but they have lots of time to grow big and strong.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekly Check In - St. Patty's Day

It has been one week since I planted my seeds and most of them are now seedlings.  The peppers are the only ones that haven't sprouted yet.  I only have a heating mat under half of them so I've been rotating them as they sprout.  The peppers haven't been on the heat mat that long yet.  Since they are heat lovers I should have had them on the heat mat first. 

Last year on St. Patty's Day it was 80 degrees and Spring had come early to Minnesota.  Today it is in the 30s, we have lots of snow and are expecting more snow tonight.  March is so unpredictable here.

I am trying to use up the last of last year's veggies.  I have beef stew in the slow cooker for tonight because it is the only way I can get my family to eat parsnips and they are starting to grow a lot of tiny little roots and are looking quite hairy.  I like parsnips but I don't like them enough to eat them all up myself.  I can get the husband to eat them roasted with other root veggies but the kid will pick them out.  Everyone eats them mixed in with beef stew though - of course that is because kiddo doesn't know they are in there.

I also cooked up a few squashes and made some puree that I turned into delightful mini bundt cakes that are disappearing fast.  Kiddo saw me cooking up the squashes (which he thought were pumpkins) and reminded me that he doesn't like pumpkin.  I reminded him that he does when they are made into muffins. 

Mini Squash and Pineapple Bundt Cakes

1 1/2 cups flour (I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour - but you can use any flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup squash puree
1/2 cup coconut oil (or any shortening or butter or margarine)
2 eggs, beaten
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves

Heat oven to 350.  Sift together the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.  Pour into bowl with dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Pour into greased mini bundt pans (or muffin cups).  Bake 20 minutes or until they test done with a toothpick.  Remove from pan.  Cool. 

Icing is optional.  I used a cream cheese icing (made with Tofutti brand fake cream cheese since we are dairy free). 


Please leave a comment and let me know how your garden it growing.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

The 2013 Growing Season has Begun!

I'm so jealous of my friends down south who have already started their gardens!  I am so over this winter and ready to start gardening.  The weather outside is still very wintery and not spring like at all - although it did rain most of the day today.  Even with the rain melting some of the snow, there is still plenty left.  

So I did what every good northerner will do when they can't get outside and garden yet - I started my seedlings inside!  It doesn't look like it will be an early spring, but I will be ready when spring decides to come.  Last year we had an early spring and things just got away from me and I didn't start my own seeds - I didn't want to repeat that this year so I'm starting a little earlier than I normally do. 

I planted tomatoes, bell peppers (mixed colors), mini bell peppers (first time growing these I hope they do well), brussels sprouts, watermelon (this is actually for Andy - he always grows these and this year he picked out a seedless personal size variety), fennel (another first for me - I never knew I liked fennel until a couple of years ago and now I can't get enough of it), and cucumbers (also for Andy - can you believe the little boy that was a preschooler when I started this blog is now a TEENAGER!).

I will probably start more seeds next week or the week after.  I'm happy for now to be started growing!

I even nicely labeled them.  I have the specific variety on the back of the stakes. 

In previous years I have used yogurt cups, egg cartons and such to start my plants.  I think that was part of my problem in getting behind last year was gathering together planting cups and cutting drainage holes in the bottom.  It was a great idea to use them one more time before recycling but honestly, buying square pots is easier - and I got nice plastic covers that fit on top so nicely so I don't have to mess with sheets of plastic on top. 

Have you started your garden yet?  What are you growing?