Picture Snob

March 25, 2010

Wildflower Seeds for low maintenance and long lasting color

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This Wildflower mix should provide waves of beautiful color and low-maintenance beauty for the whole growing season. It's best to plant these after all danger of frost is over and the soil should be cultivated to a depth of 2". A light application of fertilizer and mulch can be bendficial. Water lightly and frequently during germination, then water as needed. The seed includes annuals, biennials and perennials so you can expect some of the flowers to establish themselves and others will reseed year after year. At the price, it can't be beat.

Some of the better known varieties included are Calendula, African Daisy, Baby Blue Eyes, Cornflowe, Coreopsis, and Evening Primrose

At Wildflower Seeds- 1000+ Low Growing

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March 22, 2010

Grow Almost all your cooking Herbs with this one package of culinary herbs

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Here's a package that can get you started with a very complete herb garden. It's inexpensive and you get enough seeds to start several plants of the same kind. I'd plant them in small pots or in rows in larger flats, carefully labeled. The seeds of some of these herbs are very small and so care must be taken to drop the seed in separately so that you don't get a tangled mass of seedlings that you have to pull apart when you transplant. That damages the roots and sets the plant back or sometimes, kills it entirely. And I repeat the item about carefully labeling. I have many times thought I would remember what I planted in the back row, only to be confused and befuddled when it was time to transplant.

Another thing to be aware of in this package is that some of the herbs are perennial and some annual. Oregano, thyme, marjoram, chives and sage are all perennial and so should be planted somewhere where they have room to grow and spread. The annuals will often reseed themselves. My cilantro sprouted in the fall from seed dropped and is still alive this spring making a very welcome addition to winter salads and Mexican dishes. The one herb I love and use a lot that is not included in this package is Rosemary. That's another perennial whicih can grow waist high and very bushy. Can't have too much of that for soups and chicken and lamb.

At Assortment of 12 Culinary Herb Seeds - Grow Cooking Herbs- Parsley, Thyme, Cilantro, Basil, Dill, Oregano, Sage, More

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March 17, 2010

Starter Fertilizer is organic and contains all the ingredients you need for success

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Monrovia has a great organic fertilizer. It is pelleted for ease of use and can be sprinkled around container plants or along a row of seedlings in the garden. I particularly like that the bag itself is compostable. There's no waste and no throw away with this purchase. It's meant to get your plants off to a good start.

  • Long-lasting, slow release fertilizer that is made from 100% natural and organic ingredients.
  • A gentle organic fertilizer formulated for all types of transplanting.
  • Contains: Feather Meal, Blood Meal, Bone Meal, Sulfate of Potash, Kelp Meal and Alfalfa Meal.
  • Also includes 12 different strains of mycorrhizae.
  • Available in 4 lb bag.


At Starter Fertilizer

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March 10, 2010

Dr. Earth Organic Starter Fertilizer gives a good start for seedlings

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This is a great fertilizer for your seedlings as well as your container plants. You can work it in around the plant or make a tea with water and pour around the plant. Quck and easy. The fact that it contains beneficial soil microbes is a big plus.


  • People and Pet Safe

  • 100% Organic and Natural

  • For Your: Flowers, Vegetables, Trees, Shrubs, Bedding Plants, Potted Plants

  • Contains Pro-Biotic Beneficial Soil Microbes, Ecto & Endo Mycorrhizae

  • Feeds 55 Square Feet or 80 one-gallon Transplants

At Dr. Earth Organic Starter Fertilizer - 4 Pounds

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March 9, 2010

Pelleted Organic Fertilizer is a great for the garden and for containers

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Organic fertilizer should come from animals that have been fed only organic food. For years I bought Steer Manure from the nursery thinking that I was being organic until I realized that it came from feed lots where the animals were not fed organically and worse, were given hormones and anitbiotics. These toxins are in the manure of animals who are given them.

So now I get only organic fertilizer and potting soil. There don't seem to be any tests or standards for labeling organic fertilizer, but the basic rule that the animal is fed only organic feed.

The next few weeks I'm going to be analyzing various organic manures and their relative nurtrient values. The manure I mostly use is chicken manure. The Stolzman Organic Chicken Manure is what I used on the broccoli and primroses I planted this week. Chicken manure is a higher source of nitrogen, potassium, and potash than other animal manures. It is 4-1-1. When you see number like this on a package of fertilizer the first number is nitrogen, the second potassium and the last potash. When we had chickens it was such a delight to till it in early in the spring and then later plant corn and watch the results! Now I buy it which is less fulfilling but works just as well.

Raw chicken manure should be composted. Composting at 158 degrees destroys most bacteria, weed seeds and samonella which makes the manure save to use although it should not be used around seedlings, but always mixed with soil to avoid burning tender new growth. It will help with ph also, making acid soils more neutral.

This pelleted chicken manure is easy to handle and compact, thus reducing the work shoveling and spreading it and the odor is reduced when it is in this form. This package of three 12 oz bags is a good trial size.

At Organic Fertilizer Soil Conditioner,Odor Free and Pelletized for Easy Application-All Purpose Chicken Manure for Vegetables,Flowers,Fruit Trees,Lawn & Shrubs.Compost Production Process Destroys Pathogens and Weed Seeds,340g/12 oz Trial Size Set 3 Bags

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March 8, 2010

Primroses and broccoli are my first plant purchases this year

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I was in the larger market town this weekend so I had to go to a nursery to see what was being offered. I picked up three primrose plants and a six pack of broccoli. Just couldn't resist although freezes are by no means over here. I also bought a sack of composted organic chicken manure to mix with compost and soil in the holes I dig.

Primroses provide early spring blooms in almost every color of the rainbow and they really are easy to grow. They prefer cool temperatures, a rich humus soil (lots of compost and leaf mold) and partial shade. Once the weather turns hot, as it does here in the California mountains, they tend to die back. So I'm going to plant them where they will get shade in the summer. They are quite tolerant of being transplanted, even when they are in bloom.

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They are so pretty, I'm sorry I didn't get a dozen.

The broccoli will go right into the garden in a short row which will grow larger when I can plant some broccoli seeds later in March. It always make me feel so happy to be starting the garden. I will have something to fuss with, to check on, to worry about and feed and care for all the growing season, and all the nurturing I do, is repaid me a hundred times, but the delicious fresh food I eat, and the beauty of flowers all around me.

The dog, Sammy, is hopeful this has something to do with his food bowl.

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I've never grown primrose from seed, but interestingly, it needs sunlight to germinate.

At Forever In Blue Jeans Primrose 25 Seeds - Primula

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March 5, 2010

Planting broccoli when the soil can't be tilled

My garden soil does not dry out well until April or May. But I get some vegetables in the ground anyway. My six pack of broccoli is in the ground. The process is something like this. I dig six holes in a row, which will later be extended by planting seed. Since the soil is wet, it does not fall apart when I hit what I have dug up with the shovel. So I break up the soil by hand, pulling out the weedy ground cover and crumbling the clods back into the hole. Then I put a half a shovel of composted organic chicken manure.

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This bag of manure is not completely composted. It's the about $3.00 a bag at my local nursery and has a lot of what looks like wood chips in it.

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Nonetheless, it has more nurtrients than my garden soil at the moment so I use it. Once the soil is broken up and the manure mixed in, I make a little hole and pop the seedling in. Really very simple. The next day it really poured rain and the garden was too soggy to walk in, but when it dries up a little, I'll put a mulch around the seedling to keep the weeds down.
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It feels good to have the first vegies in the ground.

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February 26, 2010

Sugar Snap Peas are the sweetest treat in early spring

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If you live in a climate where the weather has warmed up and there's a space in the garden that can be dug, now is the time you could plant some snap peas and get an early harvest. I have grandkids coming this summer in June and want to have some garden vegetables for them to try right out of the garden, and snap peas would be perfect.

If, on the other hand, you are one of the ones still snowed in, you can plant these inside and let them get started until the weather warms up. Soil temperature should be 40 degrees for peas, lettuce and endive. And for peas seeds innoculant helps them establish vigor from the start.

At Peas Sugar Snap Certified Organic Seeds 85 Seeds

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February 16, 2010

Some thoughts about what to do about leached out soil.

I went out into the garden today to check out what was still growing and viable. I was hungry for greens. The kale looked good and I wish i had planted more of it. It's so hard in the fall, when there are vegetables I'm trying to give away, to think about planting a couple of rows of kale. The broccoli was still putting out flower heads and I harvested some for dinner. I brought the pruners with me and trimmed the plants to they might produce more as the weather warms up. The small beets were ok, but the big beautiful ones had heaved out of the ground and been frozen. There were carrots, of course, and they are sweetest this time of year and have to be eaten soon as they will rot if it warms up.

But what a mess to clean! First dig!IMG_1166.JPG
Then take to outside faucet:IMG_1168.JPG
Rince off with the hose and voila! they are ready to bring insideIMG_1169.JPG They will taste fantastic.

All in all, I have enough greens to eat if the road goes out and I am stranded for weeks. But the rains have been hard and the soil in the garden was muddy and compacted so that my boots got stuck in mud in a couple of places. I was very disappointed in the ground cover I planted. The quail must have eaten most of the vetch and legumes. Only some rye is growing and it adds the least amount of nutrients to the soil. It's going to take a lot of work to get a rich loam out of this mess, but I've done it for years so I know it can be done.

One of the things I'm going to try is to mix this Azomite with the compost and fertilizer I put in each row before I plant. I've never tried it, yet I'm sure after this winter, my soil must have been leached clean of minerals. So I'm ordering several pounds of Azomite and I'll report on it's usefulness. The rest will be up to the truck loads of manure and compost I'll put in the garden.

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At 2 Lbs of Azomite - Organic Trace Mineral Soil Additive Fertilizer - 67 Trace Minerals: Selenium, Vanadium, Chromium

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February 12, 2010

Johnny's Seed Catalog is unique among seed companies

Johnny's catalog just came and is very impressive. The company is employee owned and was started in the 70's by a 22 year old with $500 savings. The employees own 30% of the company and should own 100% by 2015 which is unusual and commendable. Ownership-Image.jpg

The company originates in Maine and as one might guess, is geared toward cool weather growing. The lettuce section is the most extensive I've seen, ten pages of familar and rare varieties, but a special section on baby salad mixes and another on micro mix varieties which are vegetable seedlings harvested while small and used for salad and gourmet cooking. They sell ounces and up to 25 pounds of seeds so they are used by large growers as well as home gardeners.

Many vegetable sections come with a very helpful chart showing the variety and the days to harvest, the color, disease resistance and other attributes of seed. The corn section is small, only three pages, but they advertise a an innoculant which should help corn survive in less than ideal conditions. There is a good explanation of SE, SE+, and Synergistic varieties which helped me understand what those labels mean.

This Spring Treat corn is a "slightly sturdier plant and better eating quality than Kandy Kwik, which Spring Treat replaces. Good cool soil vigor."

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They have an extensive selection of herbs from Angelica to Wormwood, eighteen pages and about thirty pages of flowers which includes some wildflower mixes. The tools and supplies section ha a lot of season extender items. Agribon is featured as both a lightweight insect barrier and a heavy weight heavy freeze protection of down to 24 degrees F. They show plastic and biodegrable mulchers which I've never seen before. A white on black mulch keeps the soil cool and the black side down suppresses weeds. They sell a red plastic mulch developed by Penn State which suppresses weeds, keeps the soil warm and hastens the ripening of tomatoes. It's not recommended for hot weather states.

Lastly, they sell a range of harvesting knives and tools and are featuring a Tubtrug which is a flexible food grade plastic tub to use for harvesting or for mixing fertilizer.
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They come in three bright colors and can be left outside with no harm from frost or UV.

At Johnny's Seeds

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