Monday, March 22, 2021

Garden log March 22

 Garden log: March 22

One of my neighbors had a chicken/dog run that they wanted to repurpose. I have a niece who specializes in repurposing. She is now the proud owner of a chicken/dog run or greenhouse frame.

One pear tree cut down. One pecan seedling planted just east of the tree that was removed. The pear tree did not pay its rent. It was evicted. Rumor has it that you cannot grow pecans in Michigan. That is 99% correct. I cannot grow big, papershell pecans but I can grow "Pee-wees". The fill well enough to germinate and produce the seedings that I excavate from my raspberries and such. I ran a line of pecan trees along the road, stitching them in between an existing grafted persimmon and a black walnut that now sports a Late Rhodes heartnut graft.

I had abysmal luck grafting heartnuts last spring. I had about five takes. The only ones that survived the winter were three Late Rhodes and one Campbells #3. One graft of "Locket" kicked the bucket. Hope springs eternal when grafting nut trees.

Looking down the crooked line of trees (crooked because of the existing persimmon and walnut) I thought, I might as well squeeze some hazelnuts between them. And so I did. Three Yamhill on the east end and five Jefferson on the west.

I planted about 15 feet of Super Sugar Snap peas. Mrs ERJ has a very decided and durable preference for this particular pea cultivar. She finally beat me out of trying other varieties. "There are some horses you don't have to race anymore. They have proven to be head-and-shoulders above the rest."

I planted a double-row with the peas six inches apart in each direction. For those with a mathematical bent, it worked out to one gram for every foot of row. I intend to plant another fifteen feet in about three weeks. 

The timing for the "shingling" or "wedge" for overlapping crops is complicated by two facts. One is that the soil is cold and seeds germinate slowly. A seed that takes a few days to germinate at the end of May might lolly-gag for a couple of weeks this time of year. The other complicating factor involves day length. Fall cabbage harvest dates slip three days for every day you delay planting in the spring due to the daylight hours in the fall being shorter than the daylight hours earlier in the year.

Tomato seeds

You can imagine my disgust as I looked, and looked and looked for my tomato seeds. I took great pains to save seeds from a cross-section of the heaviest bearing tomato vines last year.

They were nowhere to be found.

I went out to the garden and grubbed around and found a few carcasses that had fallen and their desiccated corpses remained intact enough for me to identify them as Stupice tomatoes. I put them into a baggie and macerated them with my hand. Then I planted them into the mass germination flat I started.

But I was not SURE they would germinate. I went on-line and shopped tomato seeds. I got sticker shock. Some tomato hybrids are running almost $1.50 a seed.

Well, Stupice is open pollinated and not quite that expensive. I gritted my teeth and bought a package of seeds. And, since I had the credit card un-welded from the wallet, I bought some Romaine lettuce seeds. Romaine lettuce seems to have the best balance of heat resistance, cold resistance and flavor of common lettuce types. I bought Jerico and Sparx. Jerico was developed in Israel which is essentially a desert.

No sooner had I hit the send button then I walked into the basement and put my hand on the envelop with about 2000 Stupice seeds in it. I scraped off the corpses of the tomatoes I grubbed out of the patch two hours earlier and planted several hundred seeds. I will pick a couple dozen of the strongest growing seedlings and transplant them into flats.

$1.50 a seed my rosy, red ___.


  1. Holy crap. I have never seen seeds that expensive.

    1. Me either. It was a shock. $5 a package...yeah, I get it. But $21?

  2. I'm waiting for the snow to melt. You are two months ahead of us. It is amazing how much difference 350 miles and Lake Superior makes. Was talking with my friends today and we are getting anxious to get out there in the dirt. Glad your weather is cooperating and hope it continues.--ken

  3. That's outrageous! My wife does pretty good with the heirloom seeds. We buy a few packets of different seeds every year to keep the gene pool deep. Got the onions in, got the peppers and tomatoes almost ready to go out. Got my stakes ready...
    Just about to the point of weeding and watering.

  4. $1.50 per seed?

    I can recommend these folks:

    $2.50 per pack (about 20 seeds), plus shipping

    1. I buy some of my tomatoes from Jackie. She usually includes a gift package to try since I’m in Alaska!

  5. Some seeds are well worth the cost. last year I grew one Soctrates slicing cucumber plant and got 58 half pound cukes over a period of three months. That greenhouse variety cost 50 cents per seed.

    Better to buy your seed potatoes earlier rather than later.

  6. Joe, when will you plant potatoes?

  7. Just a gardening thought. Here in Alaska at my location had -21 for a low two nights ago. I still have the peppers, eggplant and herbs started in the house and will start tomatoes next week. We have to raise these crops in a green house or hoop house and because of the daylight issue it is better to use a little heat to extend the season in late April or early may than to try and go much past the fall equinox. Just a thought


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