Seed Trays

Yesterday I planted starts in plastic cells for transplant.

The plastic cells I used for these new starts were meant to belong in plastic trays. I am currently using all the plastic trays for micro greens. To create a replacement holder I lined a re-purposed bread tray with the plastic cut from the spent soil bags. Each tray fits about 150 starts that can all be moved together. I have 2.

For the seed start mixture that filled the cells, I combined; peet moss, mushroom compost and our garden bed soil.

The moon is nearing the end of the second phase in the sign of Taurus. This phase is  ideal for above ground crops while the sign is favorable for short sturdy growth. I planted Super Red Cabbage, Denali Cabbage, Collards, Arugula, Leaf Lettuce, Creole Onion, and Bolero Carrots. These seem to be ideal candidates for the astral influence.

I am keeping the starts in a compost heated greenhouse. The bottom is piled 1/8-1/4 high with compost on all sides. As the leaves fall off, the compost gets higher and the sunlight lasts longer. Providing a warmer and more stable temperature.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, eat local leafy greens to counter the mass produced processed candy you might indulge in this week.

Yesterday as the moon began decreasing in fullness and entered into the third phase under a water sign, we planted Red Ace Beets with Dwarf Siberian Kale as companions, more Sugar Snap Peas under a trellis, and a fresh seed crop of All-Star Lettuce (includes Green Oakleaf, Red Oakleaf, Green Romaine, Red Romaine, Lollo Rossa, and Redleaf) to endure our Texas winter. We added more drip lines to insure even saturation which is very important to prevent seedlings from drying out.

The Sugar Snap Peas are producing pods, and we have large green tomatoes I am waiting to see ripen. The tomatillos are abundant. Cucumbers fruits are appearing. Peppers are growing large and ripening with color.

This Saturday we will have All-Star Lettuce, and a 13 seed blend of micro-greens for certain.

Harvest Friday, Market Saturday

Harvested this evening; bell, jalapeno, anaheim, banana peppers, arugula, okra, three micro green varieties, two squash, three eggplant, a few green beans, and a couple tomatillos. We expect larger returns in the coming weeks. Get it 9-sell out, Saturday, Carroll Blvd. and Mulberry.

Mushroom Prepwork

What a lovely Tuesday to be outside or to roll the windows down. We have been researching and gathering supplies to cultivate mushrooms. Tending to our wide variety of micro greens and keeping the newly planted seeds happy.

Matt has been researching and accumulating the items needed to start our mushroom grow operation. Although we have a lot of trial and error going on, we find it very important to thoroughly research so that we will only buy the correct things once, and to prevent hazards. Today we obtained our substrate sterilization barrel (a recycled orange-juice drum),  grow containers (buckets), and the supplies to build an air filtration box (air filters and lumber). The mushroom spawn should be arriving this week and we will be ready for it. We have learned that the mushrooms we are going to try first (Oyster) does not have a very long shelf life and this is why it is not often seen in grocery stores. We chose these mushrooms to start with because they are prolific and are good for beginners. Once we get a feel of it we will attempt different strains.

We are still experimenting with micro greens by trying different seeds and methods. We currently have a batch of alfalfa, mustard, a spicy mix (radish, arugula & cress), and a special 13 seed blend specifically for micro greens from sprout people. For the first 3 days we keep them in the dark with lids on them to hold the moisture and pressure so that the seeds will feel that they are in soil. Today we took them out of the dark and placed them outside.The seeds are surface sown in trays with about an inch of soil, because the soil is shallow it is prone to being dried out quickly and we mist them 3 times a day.

The seedlings planted yesterday are not to dry out either, so watering is very important until the sprouts are visible. We soaked them twice today.

We also have some tomato plants that are getting too large to stand up on their own so we put cages around them to hold them up. It’s important to keep a watchful eye over the garden every day so that pests or weeds or plants getting too large can be helped before things are difficult to get under control.

We are looking forward to getting hands-on experience with mushroom cultivation, refining our micro green methods and watching our new crops grow. We hope that all are taking advantage of the temperate climate and we would love it to stay awhile.

Micro Green Harvest

Mizuna, Cabbage, Kale and Kohlrabi having their last moments of sunlight as the blue moon arises.

Moved into a hold they are severed from their roots and their kin.

Flooded with cool water any clinging soil is swept away.

Left to dry in the cool dark.

Tomorrow we have:

Anaheim Peppers, White Eggplant, Banana Peppers, Okra, Scallop Squash, Jalapeno Peppers, Fresh Sweet Basil, and Mild Micro Green Mix (Mizuna, Cabbage, Kale and Kohlrabi)

We hope to see you there, and are enthusiastic for splash day.

Peas and Carrots

Today we are continuing with our fall preparations and still working the kinks out of the chicken tractor.

The micro greens are coming along and we have set them outside so that they can receive sunlight. Micro green seeds are surface sown allowing ease in checking and removing contamination. For the first three days of growth it is important to keep the seeds weighed down and in the dark to mimic the seeds being sown in the soil. As the seeds are visible it is easy to see that most of the seeds have popped and now the sun can green and grow them.

Most of our garden is being planted with companion planting in mind. We planted sweet peas and carrots together. Peas like to have a cool root system and carrots help shade soil thus keeping the temperature ideal for the peas.

In our pantry we had a sweet potato that was allowed to sprout. We cut it into chunks so that we can get several plants growing out of this one sweet potato.

With all the new seedlings it is important to keep everything moist for good germination. The forecast has changed and it is now less likely that we will be receiving rain tomorrow. So watering is important so those seeds can get started and our efforts don’t go wasted.

We are being overrun with fire ants as they are trying to take over most everything. Organic measures will be taken to control them. They truly are a pain when trying to plant seeds and rearrange garden beds. I’ve been bit/stung many times today, it’s a very unpleasant experience to look down to see a swarm of ants attacking you. I didn’t like fire ants much before, but now with a sting and an itch to remind me, I really don’t like them.

The chicken tractor now has a make shift nesting box, and a perch. We found that our design is a little large and difficult to maneuver for our yard. Also with uneven ground the mobility is currently extremely poor. We will have to adjust the mechanism that moves the wheels under the tractor so it will get the structure off the ground and give more room for the wheels to roll. Rose, our hen, seems to enjoy her home just fine.

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Every problem can be solved with effort and a positive attitude. Watching things grow is inspiring us to grow ourselves.