Archive for August, 2012

Not sure those seeds from last year are still good? Do a quick germination test to find out for sure.

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

If you are like most gardeners, you probably have tons of seeds from last year (and from years before!). Since different varieties have different “shelf lives”, you may want to do a quick germination test before you toss and reorder.

Wet a paper towel (moistened thoroughly but not sopping) and place 10 seeds on the top half. Fold the bottom over the top to cover the seeds and seal in a zip-lock baggy. Blow a little air into the bag so the seeds have a bit of oxygen, then put the bags in a dark place where you won’t forget to check them (I chose a kitchen cabinet).

Wait about a week (different varieties have different germination times — check the seed packet), peel off the top paper towel and count how many seeds have germinated. Fewer than 50% and you will probably want to re-order, 50% to 70% you would plant more thickly than usual, and over 70% and the seeds are as good as new!

Time to Start Planting Winter Veggies

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Ingredients for this salad were picked fresh from SWQV Garden on December 11, just a few minutes before this salad was composed: radicchio, brune d’hiver lettuce, little gem lettuce, sugarloaf chicory, Tuscan kale, turnip greens, curly endive, baby daikon (green lobo), Chinese beauty heart radish. Amazingly, they weren’t given any special protection like floating row covers or a cold frame: they are just naturally cold-hardy varieties.