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Seed Starting -- What's in your trays right now?

I've got a bunch of green mixes going from Botanical Interests:

  • "Gourmet Baby Greens" (a lettuce mix),
  • "Micro Greens Mild Mix" (beets, cabbage, kohlrabi, pak choi, and chard),
  • and "Micro Greens Spicy Mix" (mustard, cress, cabbage, mustard, and radish)


The latter two are several years old but stored in a dark, cool place so we'll see how it goes.


I unthinkingly left the first batch of lettuce out on a heating mat so we'll see if they'll germinate or not. Lettuce likes cooler temps for germination, or so I've read, and they were in a ziploc bag laying on the mat at 85F for a couple days. D'oh!


I've also found some heirloom pepper and tomato seeds that I forgot I had stored from a swap, and am debating whether or not I should start them now, or wait a week or so.


What do you think? And what sort of stuff do you have in a window or under grow lights at the moment? :)



Comments (52)

  • treebarb Z5 Denver
    2 years ago

    I sowed a 18 pot tray with tomatillo, peppers and tomatoes on the evening of the 17th. I had intended to wait on the tomatoes for the very reason you stated, tomatoz1. But I had 8 types of peppers to start and it didn't make sense to leave the other half of the tray empty on a heat mat, so I added tomatillo and tomatoes to fill up the tray.


    I pulled the lid off the tray this morning to drain off the condensation and 3 pots of tomatoes have sprouted. Leggy plants it is, lol!


    I intend to sow lettuce, basil and parsley this weekend. I will hold off on eggplant for another week or so.


    We're socked in with fog this morning and with the snow, nothing to do outside. Well, maybe round 2 of gently freeing the conifer branches that got plastered to the ground and encased in this crusty frozen snow. I thought I'd handled it by going out mid-afternoon on Thursday. I spent a good 45 minutes out there, got completely frozen and drenched. The snow kept coming, though, and by nightfall the branches were all weighted down again. Sowing seed inside is much more appealing!

  • Gargamel
    2 years ago

    I went wild this year. I’ve got Delphiniums, 2 varieties of Foxglove, 2 varieties of Sweet Peas, Dianthus Arctic Fire, Morning Glory (Ensign), Small Sugar pumpkins (for my Thanksgiving Pie :) Astrantia in the fridge, Swan Neck Gourds, Cherry Tomatoes (Golden Honeybunch, Golden Cherry, Yellow Pear. Lots to look forward to !

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  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago

    Fog has FINALLY lifted here Barb. Last night at about 9 when I went out close up the chicken coop, it was beautifully clear, just barely a cloud-bank hanging way out to the west. Imagine my disappointment when I woke up this morning to being completely wrapped in fog.


    I may start some tomatoes this weekend. I didn't start any peppers this year so I will have to purchase those. If it weren't for this infernal snow I could be spending my days of solitude out digging new garden beds, instead I'm indoors writing pesticide use reports for work and putzing around on GW haha.

  • Gargamel
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Not to be an alarmist, but I am wondering if the corona virus will have an effect on the availability of vegetables/fruit etc. I guess a lot of farms are mechanized (?), but there are also a lot of farms which depend on (in Canada) temporary foreign workers. Who will be picking the produce ? Maybe they’ll be “pick your own” . I am reconsidering what I will grow this year...

  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago

    The agastache lives! And there’s a lot more of it sprouting. Nothing else has decided to do anything, which is fine with me since we still have a least a month or two of “winter.”

    I heard a bit on NPR about agriculture workers not being able to get visas for this season due to the virus. While farming may be vastly more automated and mechanized now, I think a great many farms depend on manual labor and it is a scary thought about the cost and availability of food when that labor isn’t available. That’s why I decided to do a garden this year despite my earlier laziness.

    On the plus side last years investment in chickens and ducks is certainly paying its dividends now. The egg racks at the store look like a war zone. Meanwhile I get 10-15 eggs a day and don’t know what to do with them all!

  • digit (ID/WA, border)
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Lots in the trays! This may be the first clear morning this year with no frost after a sunny day. Yesterday, the last of the snow melted in my yard. I feel like a Pacific NW gardener coming out of the gate at this time of the year. (Used to frequent that sub-forum until I realized that virtually all were Portland and Seattle gardeners. It's very different there. ;o)


    The greenhouse furnace has been turned on to take the chill off the mornings only for about a week. Over a month ago, onion and leek seed was planted in trays out there - they have been covered during the coldest weather but have had to tough it out, otherwise. Those were joined by brassica companions recently.


    In the kitchen, all of the warm-season plants have been started. I'm expecting the 2nd or 3rd sowing of tomato, peppers, eggplant seedlings to show up today or tomorrow. Already, they are replacing the earlier seedlings in the South Window that are being carried back and forth to the greenhouse every day. Aaand, I moved some of the earliest tomatoes to 4-packs about 3 days ago!


    They didn't fill a 1020 tray but the seedlings that I will move today will fill it! I may move right along to some of the peppers, now developing true leaves.


    I had the backyard 2 garden beds covered with the temporary hoop house by afternoon, yesterday. It was mighty warm in there until I had the window and door in place and open. Found some bok choy and broccoli raab seed and a few rows can go in. The brassica seedlings in greenhouse trays will have to wait for awhile to be transplanted out in those beds; they are tiny things.


    I'm realizing that this quarantine experience isn't much different from my usual (retirement) March days. I have real trouble getting away from the plants in the backyard. Only the greenhouse heat is automatic. Ventilation has to be handled by DW or me. It can be difficult to maintain comfortable temperatures in there if the sun is bright, air temperature is near freezing, and especially if the wind is blowing. The remote thermometer is my friend even if I have to be out there every hour. It's not like I can carry it with me while running around and be back there at a moment's notice. Well, maybe I could if I was sufficiently tech savvy.


    Life is uncertain always but more so in 2020. The appointment for tomorrow I made with a pulmonologist in January was cancelled by his office. No surprise.


    Steve

  • catnohat
    2 years ago

    Just started trays yesterday!

    I started 5 varieties of tomatoes, some eggplant, a few peppers, parsley, basil, lettuce and spinach.

    I'm just waiting on the sun to burn off a bit more moisture and then out I go to wander around the yard trying to get something done today!

  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago

    I desperately need to get garden beds made, but I was hoping to be able to rent a rototiller to do it. I don't think I'll be doing that anymore so it's back to the old fashion way. Good thing I'm teleworking most days.

    I also need to get veggie seeds started. Again, good thing I'm home most days...

  • gjcore
    2 years ago

    Due to the stress of the current virus situation I'm behind on starting my trays. Moved my shelving units and lights to the other house and mostly finished that setup last night. Started one tray of onions! Well at least it's a start. Today I'll get peppers and eggplants started and maybe some herbs. Will wait another week or so for tomatoes and probably a few weeks for basil.


    If there is a spring swap unfortunately we will not attend this year :-(

  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago

    Agree with you about the stress, Greg, hard to find motivation right now. I did try to get the ducks to do some weeding for me yesterday but they weren’t interested.

    Barring some kind of miracle in the next couple weeks, I think it would be best not to plan a spring swap this year.

  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    UPDATE: After a failed start last week with the lettuce only 4 seedlings have come up after a week) I did the ziploc paper-towel method to double check germination rates -- and they were fine. I'm wondering if I accidentally planted the tray too deeply? Or maybe I'm just being more impatient than usual. Hmmm.

    I'm gonna open my tomato and pepper packets next week, seeing as I'm further north than you all and it can snow all the way to the end of May up here.

    What grow lights are you all using? I got the LED Stack-n-Grow system from Gardener's Supply Company for my birthday; it's spendy for being plastic, IMHOP, but it's fairly rugged and the fact that I could stack another unit on it if I choose to purchase another one later on is kinda cool. Link: https://www.gardeners.com/buy/stack-n-grow-led-light-system-base-unit/8595770.html

    Has anyone here heard of using aquarium lights for starting seeds? We've got a few unused saltwater fish setups that have LED lights for corals and I'm thinking of comandeering them for the garden cause. Will let you know how that experiment goes...

    As to stress: Yeah, this situation has got my cortisol levels up, for sure! But I'm grateful that I can garden, as this is one of the best activities for stress reduction, according to many scientific studies: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20522508

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335516301401

    Etc.

    Also, the vitamin D we dirt grubbers can get from sunlight at mid-day (esp with our clear, high altitude skies) can reduce respiratory infections by a significant amount: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170216110002.htm

    Off to clear out some garden beds.....

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    2 years ago


    Hi Laura,

    $200! Ouch! If you want to do it "cheap," get a shop light at a big box store! If you're ok with fluorescent, they hold two 3' fluorescent bulbs which work great for seed starting or any Green Growin' Things! You do need hooks to hang them from, either a "framework," or hooks in a ceiling, but then you put them up with chain and hang them with S-hooks so you can raise or lower them to whatever distance you want/need. I don't know about the LED bulbs, but with fluorescent you can get them as close as you want them--I used to do only about an inch or two above the soil. Even if the foliage grows up against the bulbs, fluorescent won't burn the plants. As the seeds germinated and started to grow I'd just move the fixture up a couple inches at a time--one or two links at a time, and the seedlings never got leggy. I used to use "cool white," just because that's what I had, but any of the "colors" would work. I still have a bunch of the fixtures (and bulbs) but don't have anywhere to hang them at this house--really, really wish I did! I used to grow everything from seedlings to full grown houseplants under them.

    So, if you're willing to use fluorescent and have a way to hang them, I very highly recommend them!

    Skybird

    P.S. "Back in the Day" shop lights used to cost only $10 each! I bet you could find them for around $20 nowadays, but I can't imagine they'd be over $30.

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago


    The only thing I've seeded at this point is a few of each of four different colors of radishes--and they're in a rectangular planter box sitting on my deck! Last year I started them later and then didn't get to eat any of them because they were just really "getting going" as I was leaving on my spring vacation! Thought I'd try again this year and hope I get to eat at least a few of them before I leave on my trip--which isn't until near the beginning of June this year--and, unless somebody says it's illegal for me to leave my house, I AM planning to go on my spring trip! What I'm hoping is that I didn't put the seeds in TOO early--they've been in for a couple weeks--so they don't rot rather than germinate with the cold we've had! I did bring the planter into the garage for these last few cold and snowy days we just had, so I'm hoping they'll start to germinate as it warms up again now! Time will tell!

    Historically I've always started tomato and eggplant seeds too early and then hated myself when I spent weeks and weeks carrying them outside into the sun every day, and back in every nite, so I won't be starting them until near the beginning of April. I'm starting to get the seeds and labels organized so I'll be ready "when the spirit moves me!"

    Gardening is, in my opinion, one of the absolutely best things any of us can be doing right now, for so many different reasons. When there are so many things that we can't control right now, it's wonderful to be able to go out into the yard and watch the new growth greening up, to touch the plants that are up already, to look at--and touch--the flowers that are blooming, to feel the sun and breeze on our "winter weary" faces, and to look forward to the promise of a good growing year! When you're feeling like you're on overload with the Covid 19 news, walk out into your yard--even if you just sit out there for a few minutes and look at a tree or the sky! It's the best medicine we have!

    Skybird

  • digit (ID/WA, border)
    2 years ago

    Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado): "I'm further north than you all and it can snow all the way to the end of May up here."

    Hey,Where is that Alberta Rocky Mountain gardener?


    Okay, I will grant you that you are more likely to have snow in at the end of May that here, at just a degree short of the U.S. Canadian line. I have had my little hoophouse collapse a couple of times from March snow. The last time was a first week of April snow. We have a forecast for a possibility of snow by tomorrow morning. However, I certainly don't expect the hoop house to collapse in 2020, unless it's from this incessant wind!


    One thing that your part of the Rockies have is that Colorado sunshine, as you noted. You know, that makes for a number of differences. One is the success of greenhouse growing.


    I left tender plants in the greenhouse overnight. It was a good time to try out the performance of the aging furnace. It did what it was supposed to do but I checked the temperature out there 3 times, overnight. There was an electric heater and fan set up as a backup in case of furnace failure.


    Steve

  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago

    Laura, I surface sow lettuce. I do believe they are one of those species that need light to germinate (or at least germinate well) at least from what I remember reading in a botany book one time... Regardless I have always had really good success (even with old seed) by surface sowing them.

    I have always used shop lights. I don’t remember what they cost (they were definitely more than $10 haha).

    As far as late snows, when we lived down near Morrison/Golden in Jefferson county we had obnoxiously late snows every year. We had A LOT more snow “down south” than we’ve had since we moved “up north” to Weld County.

    I would probably have more motivation and excitement about gardening if last year hadn’t been so hard. The idea of having to re-do everything coupled with the prospect of another total disappointment doesn’t have the “spirit moving me” very much this year.

    To be fair I have been doing “gardening” it’s just my vegetable garden that seems to be hitting a roadblock.

    Skybird, I wholeheartedly agree with nature being wonderful, and powerful, medicine. Not only for our mental health in times of stress, but our spiritual and physical health as well. To me, our modern society’s lack of a connection to the earth is our single greatest illness.

    Our species’ centuries-old quest to conquer the land rather than “seeing it as a community to which we belong” has led us to a very unhealthy situation. We have lost sight of the fact that our health and well-being is intricately tied to health and well-being of the “land organism” as a whole. We have wrongly come to believe that our selfish and destructive behavior is without consequence. I honestly believe that our current situation is a jarring example of our chickens coming home to roost.

    “Men are only fellow-voyagers with other creatures in the odyssey of evolution...[And] while now captain of the adventuring ship, is hardly the sole object of its quest."

    We would do well to heed that last part with a little more earnest.


  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    2 years ago

    Zach,

    To go a little bit OT, into philosophy here. The Original Peoples were on this continent for at least 13,000 years, and probably for at least 20,000 years before we “found it.” When the first white Europeans “discovered it,” they described what they found as The Garden of Eden! I’m not sure there’s anybody who would call it that anymore!

    A couple years ago when I went out to Limon to do a Perennials 101 class, I started it with exactly what you said above! I started it with: Gardening is good for the body, it’s good for the mind, and it’s good for Spirit! Then I went on to say a little bit about each!

    You’re sounding very much “Indian,” Zach—tho don’t try to claim you are—the “real ones” don’t appreciate that much at all! I can’t tell for sure from your comments if you include just “animals” in your concept of oneness, or if it includes the whole of everything—land, water, sky, trees/plants, rocks, and ALL of creation. American Indians (and Indigenous Peoples all over the earth) believe/know the latter. We are one part of ALL things that exist, and if we harm any one part of the whole, we harm all other parts, including ourselves. If all people understood and knew that concept, how very easy it would be to repair all the devastation we/humans have caused. The Indians say: We don’t own the land, the land owns us! They understand that Nature makes the ultimate decisions! We are very small in the Big Picture—as we are being reminded right now!

    Regarding gardening! I had my tomatoes “roundup-ed” last year! You’re not the only one who had a catastrophe! This is a new year! Keep your glass half full!

    Skybird

  • gjcore
    2 years ago

    Gardening and seed starting definitely takes my mind off of the news for a while. The last few days I've largely stopped reading the news. Catch a few little snippets and that's enough. It was good getting out today and planting peas, beets and daikon radishes. Also moved around some of the lettuce plants that started popping up all over as I let a handful of plants go to seed last year.


    Other than that I've taken up video gaming some which seems to be a good distraction. Also continuing to study for tech certifications which sometimes is a tad boring but I've always been a computer geek anyways.

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    2 years ago

    Zach,

    Just a quick note tonite! I’m going to respond to your above post, but we are getting WAY off topic from “seed starting,” so sometime tomorrow I’m going to copy our last couple posts to a “new” thread and respond there! That way we’re not “interfering” with this thread, and if somebody isn’t interested in our Philosophical Discussion, they can ignore it—but can still read it if they find something interesting! Having said that, tomorrow/Tuesday is supposed to be really nice, so I’ll be outside for a significant part of the day, so it might not be till late afternoon or evening! But! I’ll be back!!!

    Everybody else! Back to Seed Starting!

    Skybird


  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago

    This is an interesting conversation that I’d enjoy continuing (in a more appropriate setting).

    As for seed starting, I guess after all my hemming and hawing I got the “bad” out of my system and got my tomatoes and eggplant seeds planted today. Now I just need to motivation to turn this into a garden:

    My oh my do I have my work cut out for me...

  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago

    I was hoping on being able to use the disc to cultivate that weed patch. I thought the tractor would fit between the power pole and the front gate. It doesn’t.

  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Pics!





    Forgot to turn the lights on this morning, and things got a bit leggy! (I've since attached the timer like I should've done in the first place.).

  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Also, congrats on getting your toms and eggplant going, Zach! I'm about to start some more chard and lettuce to see how they do in a south facing window...

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    "Now I just need the motivation to turn this into a garden" "My oh my do I have my work cut out for me..."

    You can do it, Zach!

  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Try surface sowing the lettuce, and if it’s not too windy, put them outside in the sun for a day or even just an afternoon. Windows filter out UV light which I THINK is what is required to break down the germination inhibitors (I could look that up but I really need to do some work... this working from home thing is awful, too many distractions). Anyway, give it a shot and see how it goes!

    Yeah, the only indoor starts I’m doing this year is tomato’s, eggplant, tomatillos, and basil. Everything else will be direct sown and because the garden isn’t even close to being ready cool season plants like broccoli and cabbage won’t be happening this year. Lots of beans and squash though and I plan on having enough beds done by mid-April to get potatoes in the ground.

    I got three 10x3 beds made yesterday. Plenty of warm air and sunshine. I should probably code my hours for work as vacation day though...

  • Oladon
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Zach, if you can make it down to Broomfield (or halfway) I'll loan you my push-rototiller in exchange for some fresh eggs... (and I'm not planning on using it this year, so no rush to return it). It's a Mantis 2-cycle — slightly older version of this one.

  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Those beds are looking awesome! ((tries to avoid being jealous of all that room))

    I've been clearing out the brush and debris from my suburban flower beds. Looks like I'll be swapping some of the blooms out for peppers and toms in my upcoming "victory garden".

  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago

    Oladon, thank you for the kind offer but I hope you’ll forgive my hesitation about going “out and about” right now. Once we come out the other side of this thing though, if it’s soon enough and/or I still have time to get beds made and planted you can count on those eggs ;). Unless of course you really need some. I know the stores are hard up for them so I will make an exception if you (or anyone else) is really needing some eggs right now.

    Laura, the room is a blessing and a curse. Just think of all the extra digging and weeding and everything else I am getting myself into and any jealousy should be somewhat mitigated.

    Peppers and tomatoes are nice, but I am really hoping that this has mostly ended by the time they are ready to pick. If I had known we were going to be contending with empty shelves and putting our health at risk every time we walk into a store this spring, I would have put a lot more effort into early season crops. But there’s not a lot I can do about that now I suppose.

  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Haha yeah I don't envy the extra weeds, for sure. That being said, I have a rabid HOA that'll write someone up for an overlooked bindweed plant, so it all evens out I suppose. :)


    Here's to hoping that by the time the peppers and tomatoes are being picked, things will have improved for the better. I just figured that, while I'm busy planting a full-on veggie garden, I might as well go whole hog. The last few years I've been more focused on my rock/flower/pollinator plants, and went to the local farmer's market for produce. Veggie gardening can be a lotta work!







  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago


    Right now you could plant peas, lettuce (cos seems to hold up to summer heat best), spinach/chard, and radishes, Zach. And even beets to start eating the tops as soon as they get big enough—with the benefit of beets later in the year! Beet greens are wonderful! If you don’t have those seeds, I could give you some to get going this year—porch pickup—no contact! I’m Olde! (I have now been Out Of Circulation for two full weeks, so I know I don’t have it—and not taking any chances!) But I’m quite a way from you—near 128th and Colorado Blvd!

    I, too, was impressed by how quickly you got those two beds done! Looks like it must have been quite a job!

    Laura, I agree with Zach on the lettuce seed! Either surface sow it, or else “just barely” cover it with soil. The hardest thing to do is to keep the surface moist so the seeds will germinate!

    I was surprised you even knew what a Victory Garden was!!! My parents were growing a (huge) Victory Garden when I was born! The rows of peas were always right next to the grass, and when I was three (the war was over by then!) I sat down on the grass to pick and eat some peas—and I sat on a bee! My first bee sting! I remember it well!!!

    Digit, I hope things are going well for you up there in The Artic!!! Have you had any “nice days” recently? Hope you’re getting at least some sun!

    Enjoy spring, everyone, and stay safe!

    Skybird

  • Oladon
    2 years ago

    Zach, thanks for the offer — we're not terribly desperate, so I'll take you up on the rain check. :)


    Skybird — yowch!

  • digit (ID/WA, border)
    2 years ago

    "Digit, I hope things are going well for you up there in The Artic!!! Have you had any “nice days” recently? Hope you’re getting at least some sun!" Skybird


    Skybird, it was sunny for several days, not long ago. Windy on most of those days but a very nice day or two, among them.


    Lately, I've been doing a fair amount of transplanting tiny seedlings into pony packs. It's helped, in a way, that the sun hasn't been too intense in the greenhouse. I just came in from there and the furnace automatically started during the moment when a person might just suspect that there was a sun up in the sky. The thermostat was trying to keep things all of 64° f at 1pm. Clouds Clouds Clouds


    Steve

  • gjcore
    2 years ago


    The above is my new setup for trays. The upper light is new 8 bulb T5 hi output. After only 3 days I have seedlings popping up. 3 types of onions, lemon balm, leeks and marjoram. No peppers yet.

  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Skybird, First of all I will reply to your other post I was going to last night but I ended up falling asleep.

    I am up to 5 of the 10’ beds, the rest will be 25’ long. Our soil is incredibly sandy so it’s easy to dig. Plus I need the exercise after being cooped up indoors since October and once I drag my butt out there and get to work my motivation is fine, it’s just that first step of picking up the shovel that takes some doing haha.

    I have lived in an HOA once or twice. They would pass out fliers every spring telling us what plants were allowed, the repercussions for allowing weeds in our lawn and to what height said lawn must be kept mown to. The one in I had in Phoenix sent me a warning about a tree that was in the front yard that was dead when I moved in. I notified the rental company about it when I first got there but they ignored me. Then when the notice from the HOA came they got all pissy with me over it. I hate HOAs and rental companies.

    the beds I just made will be home to beets and carrots. Other than a long row of peas they are the only early season vegetables I had made plans for. Borscht is one of my top-10 favorite foods but I can’t get my wife or son to touch it. I really don’t understand why people don’t like beets. More for me I guess. I feel about radishes the same way most people feel about beets. I do not like them Sam I am! Anyway, I don’t plant anything until mid April. Our sub-freezing nights make germination so slow that I have never found any benefit to planting earlier so it’s going to be a while before anything starts growing for me...

  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Oooh, I LOVE borscht! (Was an exchange student in Moscow in early '92 and beets were pretty much always on the menu, as they were the most available veggie apart from cabbage.). I'm going to try to grow them this year, as well. This will be my first attempt -- do they do ok in large containers, I wonder?


    Steamed beet greens are super tasty, as well. Mmmmm.....



  • digit (ID/WA, border)
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Baby beets, roots and leaves. It was one of the reasons that I wanted to garden as a teenager. How else was I gonna have baby beets?

    Mature beet roots? No, not really. I fully understand how people think of their flavor as "like dirt." Pickled beets are the worst!

    So, you see, tastes are subjective. And, I would not like them here or there.
    I would not like them anywhere.

    Steve

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Digit! Don’t you dis pickled beets!!! That just might be my favorite way to eat them! Pickled in orange juice with vinegar and sugar, and with finely shaved onion! YUM! As you say, tastes are subjective! I also love them just cooked or baked with lots of butter and salt! YUM! I do think the gold ones have a more “mild” flavor than red ones. Baby beets—I’m sure that’s a YUM, but when I was growing them I didn’t have that many and I wanted to “maximize” my “crop,” so I didn’t want to pull them up when they were small! Pennsylvania Dutch cooking has something called “red beet eggs!” They take hard boiled eggs and soak them in—as far as I know, just plain—beet juice. It turns them red all they way thru! I was never wild about those!

    Pickled beets are good!

    Skybird

  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago

    I have been planting beets pretty much every year since I started gardening. Do you know how many beets I have harvested in that time? Zero. I'm not sure what goes wrong with them, but every year I try. My wife said she would try beet greens, I've eaten them. I might as well just grow chard (its actually the same species, Beta vulgaris). You get more "bang for your buck" if you're looking for greens.

    Pickled beets are delicious. I use them in my borscht (and often eat them straight from the can). If I had a large "crock" I would love to try pickled eggs. We get so darn many it's hard to figure out what to do with them all. Now my hen duck has started to lay as well. Duck eggs are good, but you certainly couldn't eat too many of them. they are rich!

  • digit (ID/WA, border)
    2 years ago

    If I can find "perpetual spinach" seed at the garden center, I will plant some of that chard.


    It isn't a favorite, this will be the second time that I've grown it. I also had a Japanese chard variety once. Neither was as nice as Verde da Taglio, an Italian chard.


    Mom thought chard was a good choice to grow or buy at the health food store. I didn't care for the heavy stems. Me. A guy who really liked beet greens was never interested in chard.


    Someone suggested that I could cut out the heavy stems ... I guess that I could have but Verda da Taglio has thin stems and is a nice tender green. And, like all chards, available right through the growing season. I didn't order seed this year from any outfit that had that variety. Dog gone it!


    Steve

  • tomatoz1
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Planted all of my tomato varieties today - later than usual because I really don't like leggy plants. The broccoli on the window sill and the peppers all seem to be doing well. Nothing is planted in the the garden itself. The onion sets on order haven't arrived yet.

    I plant lots of beets to make pickled beets mostly for friends and family. In our soil they're easy to grow and I'll usually give the end of the harvest to one of the other gardeners in the CG who does his best to grow stuff. We also make pickled eggs from the leftover syrup.

    Zach - I'll always trade pickled beets for eggs!!

  • Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado)
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Perpetual spinach sounds awesome, Digit. Maybe I should look into getting some....

    Tomatoz1 -- Do you have any beet growing tips? I figured they grow well here because historically the German-Russian settlers farmed sugar beets all up and down the front range.

    I placed my tomato seeds in damp paper towels in ziploc bags onto a heat mat on the 28th -- but aside from swelling up a little there's not much else going on. They ARE older seeds, but now I'm wondering how long it should take before they sprout. Thoughts? I've read they can take up to a couple weeks.

    Maybe I'm just not patient enough....


    UPDATE: One of the "Black Krim" seeds has started to put out a little white root! From a 2009 packet, so it sat dormant in my basement for 11 years. Awesome. I've taken it out of the paper towel, put it into starting mix in a seed cell, and placed the cell onto the heating mat. Hope some of the other seeds follow suit...




  • tomatoz1
    2 years ago

    Laura, I've grown Cylindra beets for close to 20 years, and had a hard time finding this variety when I first started. Only Lake Valley had them. Nowadays, most companies carry them. Cylindra grows like fat carrots that are easy to slice when making pickled beets.


    Growing them - I sort of broadcast the seeds along 3-4 rows, since we like to eat the baby ones first and let the rest mature. I'm guessing they like my clay soil.

    Laura (Z5a Fort Collins, Colorado) thanked tomatoz1
  • nbm1981
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I've got my micro tomatoes, tumbling tomatoes, peppers and stevia going under my lights now. Tomatoes, tomatillos and ground cherries will be started in about 10 days. I have been hardening off my onions, leeks, Swiss chard and kale since last week now that I have been working from home for two weeks. I am waiting until we get past this next cold snap before actually planting any of it in the garden, but it should all be good to go. I have several Swiss chard plants that survived the winter in whiskey barrels and are making a remarkable comeback. I have white icicle radishes, the seeds of which I planted 10 days ago, coming up now. 5 varieties of lettuce and 2 varieties of carrot planted 10 days ago have not yet come up. On Sunday, after this next cold snap, I will be planting turnips and rutabagas. I was not as excited for this season as I have become in the past couple weeks. It's amazing what a few weeks of nice weather and getting your hands dirty does to one's level of motivation..

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    2 years ago


    I've been planning to do this ever since "pickled eggs" came up--was originally planning to manually copy the recipe here, but that has NOT happened yet, so I decided it would be faster to just scan the page in the recipe book and post the pic here! I enlarged it 140%, hoping it'll come up big enough to read! Hope it works!


    Here's the Red Beet Egg recipe--in this cookbook called: Pickled Eggs and Red Beets! It's from the Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook, copyrighted in 1966! I bought it when I lived in Lancaster County PA for 11 months right after I got married--first in DENVER PA!, and then in Ephrata PA! When my mother-in-law made them she just kept them in the beet juice in quart canning jars.



    If anybody decides to try them, come back and let us know what you think of them!

    Skybird


  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    If I have any quart sized jars I will try them, I desperately need a way to use up eggs Skybird, haha! The only problem is that I HATE making hard boiled eggs. I have tried every single way to cook them and the shelles still stick when I peel them, leaving me with something that looks more like the surface of the moon than anything resembling an egg. It's maddening.


    I will also say that the cinnamon and clove spiced pickles sound... unique? Part of me whats to try them, just to see what a "pumpkin pie" flavored pickle tastes like, but more of me say those things don't belong together haha.

  • digit (ID/WA, border)
    2 years ago

    Have some broccoli, cabbage and such to move into 4-packs.


    The last and greatest number of eggplant will be moved today. I have bells, purple Asian, green Asian, and AppleGreen. I can think of David52 with the AppleGreen. David suggested it and it might have been my introduction to U of New Hampshire varieties that came to include melons and some other veggies.


    I've had some problems with AppleGreen the last 2 years. I realized that I had very few seeds in 2018 and decided that I could just put a few plants in the backyard garden. Things are crowded in there and they didn't do very well but there were fruit & seeds. Last year, no eggplants did well! There was one badly scarred fruit on one of the plants and I think that was it. Terrible year for the peppers and eggplants! Still had a few saved AppleGreen seeds for 2020 and they came up just fine.


    Steve

  • gjcore
    2 years ago

    Zach, to make decent hard boiled eggs it's almost always better to use eggs that have aged a bit. Then boil covered with an inch of water for 5 minutes remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes then rinse in cool water. Usually works well.

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago


    Oh, Zach! It took me many, MANY years to figure it out, but I can tell you how to get the shells to come off of your hard boiled eggs!!! I boil some to take along on my trips every time--quick, easy meal when I need one--and high protein too! But I always had the problem you have, so I was finding myself eating less and less of the eggs I had taken with me--I'd be standing at the sink for ten minutes trying to get the shells off all the way--and still have some "egg left!" It wasn't a "quick" or "easy" meal! So a few years ago I spent an hour or so online trying to figure out "how to boil" eggs!!! When I tried this method--It Worked! (This is copied from the top of the document where I was keeping info about the different things I was trying! On my document it's RED!)

    This works! Place eggs in already boiling water! (x12x) 15 minutes and move to ICE bath!

    Don’t turn off heat after putting eggs in. Leave it on low to keep it just barely at simmer.

    What I found online said to put the eggs in the boiling water, cover the pan, and then turn the heat off! That didn't work for me--they weren't cooked all the way since our water isn't as hot when it boils "up here!" So I slightly increased the recommended time, and I leave the heat on really low to keep the water hot enough! (You don't want to "boil" them!)

    How I do it is to get "enough" water in a big pot to be sure all the eggs I'm boiling will be all the way in the water, then I get it boiling hard, then I "lower" the eggs--as quickly as I can--into the water using a slotted spoon so they don't break, then I turn the heat WAY down and cover the pot as it stops boiling enough that the lid will "stay on the pot!" I DO use a timer, and 15 minutes has been working pretty well for me!

    While they're boiling I fill up one side of the sink with cold water with a lot of ice cubes in it, and when the time is up I use the same slotted spoon to take the eggs out of the HOT water to put them in the ice water--and I do move them around in the ice water a few times to be sure they cool off as fast as possible. I generally let them sit in the ice water until they're all the way cold! (If you're only doing a few eggs you could just use a big bowl!)

    This has really worked for me! Every now and then I'll get one that doesn't peel quite "perfectly," but almost always they peel VERY easily. When I peel them I do also hold them under warm running water--don't know if that helps, but since heat expands things I figure it helps "expand" the shell a bit to get it off easier! I crack the shell and then "crack it completely" while holding it under the water, and usually the shell is "falling off" by the time I have the shell "crunched into small bits." That part wasn't in what I found online!

    All my life, going all they back to when I was a small child--yeah, since I'm "a girl" I was taught to cook my whole life!--the "common wisdom" was to put the eggs into COLD water and then bring it to a boil as fast as possible! That NEVER worked for me! Some people would say "add salt" to the water, some people would say "add a LOT of salt" to the water, and some people would say "DON'T add salt" to the water! NONE of that ever worked for me! Some people would say use NEW eggs, and some people would say use OLD eggs! Some people would say add VINEGAR to the water! NONE of that ever worked for me! Putting them in the "already boiling water" has worked for me! And, yes, every now and then I do still get one that "breaks" when it's put in the water--but generally fewer than when I put them in COLD water!

    Don't you have a couple old mayo jars around? If you do, put a piece of "folded" plastic wrap over the top of the jar before putting the lid on--to "protect" the cardboard in the lid! Short of that, I would recommend putting them in something that's glass, so possibly a casserole dish that has a lid, or one you could put plastic wrap tightly over--of a glass bowl with plastic wrap!??!

    Try it! See how it works for you!


    Digit! I'm glad your eggplant seedlings are doing so good his year! Believe it or not I still haven't gotten my seeds into soil yet!

    I wish David was still around here! He always had such good advice--and wisdom!

    Skybird


    Edited to add: in my copied part the "12" had a strike-through, which didn't "take" on houzz, and there were parts underlined--which also didn't come thru!!!

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    2 years ago


    P.S. Zach! Forgot this above! I think "spice" would be great with beets, and I recommend you try just a little bit of ground cinnamon and maybe one or two cloves! It would be just enough to give you a "hint" of the spice and let you decide if you like it enough to add more the next time! Cinnamon is also wonderful in almost anything that has tomatoes in it--like tomato soup!

  • ZachS. z5 Platteville, Colorado
    2 years ago

    I've tried old eggs, I've tried new eggs, I've tried middle aged eggs, it doesn't seem to matter. I've tried putting them in the water than heating it up and I've tried letting it come to a boil before adding eggs. I've tried ice baths, I've tried salt, I've tried LITERALLY every trick there supposedly is. Every time, about 1/3-1/2 the eggs end up being stuck. I don't know why, maybe I should have a chat with manufacturers about these eggs they are laying. They are defective. I will admit however that FEWER eggs get stuck when I started adding them to already boiling water and chilling them in an ice bath, but there's still enough that do stick that I've developed a hate for hard boiled eggs, even though I love eating them. Also, I never understood adding vinegar to the water. It may have some sort of reaction with the shell, but the problem isn't the shell, its the membrane that lines it.


    We don't eat enough mayonnaise for me to buy the big jars, so nope, none of those. I have a stash of canning jars out in the garage somewhere, I'm pretty sure there's big ones out there.


    Cinnamon and clove would probably be okay with beets (they are kind of sweet anyways) but I was looking at the recipe on the right hand side of the page where it mentions soaking "sour pickles" in a sugary-spice solution (I also don't particularly like sweet or bread and butter pickles though, I'm a Kosher dill man through-and-through).

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