There’s that green. The world is overwatered right now and the grass is growing with all its might. Expect to see it in the eggs soon – the chickens are free range again (fair weather only).
HW comes home and says ” Where’d all these starts come from!?” “You grew these?” Yep, they’re the same ones as were there yesterday, and the day before… “They’re so big!” Yes, they are. And so green. Ready to go outside.
I was shuttling tomatoes and set a box down for one second to empty the wheelbarrow….oh…oh! Here they come, creeping. Is the hand faster than the beak? No, she got a leaftip!
Back on track. I survived my alarming and exhausting 5 days of wretchedness.It started out a big rain day. Only Cleopatra is out there wading for worms. The barred rocks say Nah, too wet for us.
The first broody hen of the year has her own box, finally. She’s been determinedly trying to warm eggs in the prime nest box of the big coop for a week, but I haven’t been able to manage getting her her own box. That means that the big hens have been laying eggs right on top of her some of the time. Some of the others have clearly been put off by the little witch always in their box and started piling eggs in another corner. She settled in to the box well, considering the risky daytime move. Often hens will flip out at the move, certain that their eggs are really where they last left them. She’s inside the tomato safe in a private box, and I’ll build her a kennel asap. This will be much more peaceful now.
Inside, I potted up a pile of various melons, cukes, and peppers, and I had a little helper.I expected her interest; she’s come trotting out of her zone for potting up occasions before. She likes picking around at the dirt, or maybe just something different. Just like a cat. Whatcha doin’?
We’d peacefully “worked together” like this for about an hour, and she’d perched up on the edge of the box for a better view, when suddenly:
I’d almost met my goals of the day, so it was fine. I finished up around her, and there was a little potting soil left.
All in all, we made a right glorious mess, but all the little starts are very happy in larger homes. My start factory has turned the corner now, from still having seeds to begin or divide, to the starts heading out the door. Cell blocks are being retired. We’ve passed peak start, in other words.
I’m very pleased this year with my experiments in fabric potting bags, from China, and also homemade, but that’s another post. All cleaned up. I left her in the tub (she seemed happy).Two hours later.
I was watching for signs that she was hungry, needed a hand out? But no, wriggle wriggle. At three hours she started looking over the edge and I lifted her out. She’s going to have some sleep tonight. What a big day.
She’s all grown up now. Any day she’s going to lay an egg.
I left the tomato seedlings out in the greenhouse overnight, and most of them were killed by frost.
I wasn’t just stupid enough to forget to bring them in; I knew, 100%, that they had to come in. However, I had some allergic reaction come on in the evening with a rash that spread quickly all over my body with redness and bumps – strange and alarming. The benadryl I took for that, that I’m not sure I’ve ever taken before, conked me out like an anesthetic, so that I woke up in the morning howling “the tomatoes!”
I ran out and looked and they appeared fine. They were just frozen in the posture of life, though, and when it warmed up they collapsed, their structural cells exploded by the frost crystals inside them. I was sick about it all day.Strangely, there was no pattern to the survivors. Some tomatoes are standing perfectly unscathed, among their fellows looking like steamed spinach. Same strain, no pattern to where they were on the rack… a mystery. Either perfectly intact, or destroyed. No in between.
I’m hoping that many or most of them will stage a comeback, like they did after the great chicken decimation last year. Most of them have most of their stalk intact- still firm and upright, and may regenerate leaves in a few days. I’m sure their roots didn’t freeze. And we have many smaller seedlings lying in wait in case of just such a disaster, but they will be behind. It’s a setback, any way you look at it.
Mystery allergy rash was gone in the morning, thanks to benadryl. I’d rather have the tomatoes and keep the rash.
Today I built a window shelf apparatus to accommodate all the seedlings. Well, not all the seedlings on this shelf. This will allow the house to accommodate all my seedlings, because I know I’m going to outgrow the windowsills this spring.Hmm, I didn’t take a great picture of it.
Using only windowsills would max me out at 6 trays (it’s worked in the past, sort of), and with these shelves I can now have 10 trays.
It makes the room darker and ruins the picture window effect, but that will be fine for a month each year. It’s going to smell like a hothouse in here, especially when the tomato sprouts get smelly, like they do, excited to be tomatoes.
I can just imagine all six windows kitted out with shelve units, in which case I could get 20, maybe 24 trays of starts in the windows. Oooooh:) That would be a true capacity maximum, and I don’t think I should get too excited about that.
The tomatoes are sprouting, unfolding and lifting up their little seed husks. I’m pleased to learn that tomatoes don’t usually cross, so there will never be a shortage of tomato seeds in the future. I haven’t saved tomato seeds before because I always grew many varieties. But that doesn’t matter!
In no time these little infant sprouts will be big old Tarzan vines all over the greenhouse.
My licorice is poking up! Three, maybe four have sprouted. According to the very optimistic instructions on the seed packet (“germination is poor and difficult”), it’s lucky to have any sprouts at all “hatch”. I want to know if the tiny sprouts taste like licorice, but I’ll restrain myself.
Licorice is my experiment de année.
Then there’s the kale:Kale is so vigorous, and fast, and rugged. I’ve never started kale indoors, nothing other than direct seeding, but, why not. I like kale.
My garden starts are taking over our tiny house. A few have gone out, but more are still inside, and have just been potted up. This is the maximum volume of starts in the house – peak seedlings. The bulk of them are due now to go out to the greenhouse, and then the starts will steadily be on their way out the door.
Some of the fastest-growing tomato varieties have grown legs in just a couple days (you know who you are, Ropreco). It seems I just can´t avoid getting leggy tomatoes, unless I adjust seeding dates by variety – not sure I´m that dedicated.
I can now announce the newspaper pots a success. They hold up just fine. I´m totally going to do this every year. However, it´s the slightly stiffer (or more impregnated with coloured printing ink) advertising paper that comes in the middle of the paper that works best- I made a couple with normal newspaper and they sort of melted.