Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2nd transplanting of tomato plants...

This year, I started my seeds a month earlier...the first of February. I transplanted the small plants from the seed pellets into larger pots about a month ago, and they really took off...with the help of a little tomato plant food. So yesterday, we did a 2nd transplanting into bigger pots because the plants we're starting to get a little root bound. So here they are this morning, after coming out of their "transplant shock." They look really nice, except I'm running out of room on my counter. Another thing I did differently this year is to keep two plants inn each pot...they support each other and grown straight without having to add sticks to keep them straight. I will let them grow in these pots until after Memorial Day, and then plant them in the garden with Walls of Water. I'll put them outside on the patio and let them "harden off" for about a week before planting them. Last year, we planted them a few weeks earlier and didn't have as much success, so this year we decided to wait until the end of May again. It just gets too cold at night still. 

 If you look really closely, you can also see four pepper plants in the back that are doing very nicely also.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I started some of my tomato and pepper seeds indoors last week. That got me in the mood for sprouting alfalfa seeds...I love fresh alfalfa spouts on my sandwiches. So today I harvested a batch of fresh sprouts...yum. We ate them on turkey and cheese roll-ups...what a treat. 

I have this dandy little inexpensive 3 level spouter that I've had for several years that works really well. The 3 trays stack on top of each other, and you put water in another tray on top and it drains down through all 3 trays and collects in another bottom tray. I rinse them twice a day. It takes about 5-6 days from start to harvest. The thing I like about sprouts is that you can actually have a fresh vegetable that you grow yourself anytime of the year...even when it's too cold to plant outside.

Here are some nutritional benefits from sprouts...

Health Benefits of Sprouts
by Steve Meyerowitz

Sprouts have long been famous as "health food" but recent research shows that in addition to being a superb source of nutrients, they also have important curative ability. Sprouts like alfalfa, radish, broccoli, clover and soybean contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that can protect us against disease.
Studies on canavanine, an amino acid analog in alfalfa, has demonstrated benefit for pancreatic, colon and leukemia cancers. Plant estrogens are also abundant in sprouts. They increase bone formation and density and prevent bone breakdown or osteoporosis. They are also helpful in controlling hot flashes, menopause, PMS and fibrocystic breasts tumors.
Alfalfa sprouts are one of our finest food sources of another compound, saponins. Saponins lower the bad cholesterol and fat but not the good HDL fats. Animal studies prove their benefit in arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Saponins also stimulate the immune system by increasing the activity of natural killer cells such as T- lymphocytes and interferon. The saponin content of alfalfa sprouts multiplies 450% over that of the unsprouted seed.
Sprouts also contain an abundance of highly active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction and protect us from the ongoing effects of aging. It wouldn't be inconceivable to find a fountain of youth here, after all, sprouts represent the miracle of birth.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hail storms in Colorado Springs

We have had more than our share of hail storms already this season here in the Springs. In order to have any kind of successful garden at all, it is almost imperative to have some kind of cover for your garden...not only to protect it from the hail, but also to keep the little critters out. We have chosen to make our cover out of shade screen...the same kind that you use to repair your window or door screens. You can find it at Lowe's or Home Depot. I would love to have a screened enclosure for my garden that looks really pretty, but my dear husband doesn't really see the need for that as long as it serves its purpose, which it pretty much has. Occasionally, we will get a bird or a squirrel that has found its way under the screen, but then I just go out and chase them out. The funny thing is that once they get in there, the can't seem to find their way out, even with the door wide open. It usually takes awhile to chase them out...thank goodness this does not happen very often. 

New Home Storage Specialist for Ridgeview Ward

Leslie Fife has been called as the new home storage specialist for Ridgeview Ward. I'm very excited to see some great new fresh ideas come from Leslie, as she is really excited about her new responsibilities. Check the blog from time to time, as I have asked her for articles to post here.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

It's that time of year...get ready to garden!

It's time to get your garden ready to plant. Start by preparing the soil, and then, if you have adequate weather protection, for ex. "Walls of Water", you can even begin planting a few plants outside. For help in growing in our area, check out the link for the Colorado Extension office.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Transplanting into larger pots

Last week I transplanted my plants into larger pots with potting soil, and also thinned out a few more tomatoes. I used popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners to carefully stake them up so they would grow straight.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Starting seeds indoors

In colder climates like ours here in Colorado, it is a great thing to start your seeds indoors a few months before you can actually plant them outside. Last year I started tomato plants in March, but decided I needed to plant them a month earlier this year. I found this terrific little adjustable grow light at Phelan Gardens Nursery here in the Springs, and the little plants are doing quite well. This year, I planted 3 varieties of tomatoes, 2 varieties of bell peppers, cucumbers, squash, and some herbs. When I transplant them to my garden around the beginning of May, I will put "walls of water" around them to protect them from the frost and cold weather at night. So here is the process of starting your seeds indoors:

  1. Purchase peat moss pellets and put them in seedling trays; add warm water until they expand to about triple in size. 
  2. Gently pull apart top netting on each pellet and plant 2-3 seeds in each one, following directions on back of seed package.
  3. Cover tray and put in dark warm area until seeds have sprouted...a few days to a week. I put mine over a heater vent to keep them warm.
  4. After seeds have sprouted, take off the cover and put them under the grow light. Water when peat moss gets dry. It will usually turns a lighter brown when it starts to dry out.
  5. After the plants begin to put on the "true" leaves and have grown several inches in height, thin out your plants and leave only one or two of the strongest plants in each pellet. 
  6. When plants get too large for the pellet, transplant them to larger pots with a good starter soil. Keep under grow light until plants have grown large enough to transplant into garden. 
  7. When you are ready to transplant the plants to the garden, put them outside in a sheltered area for a few days to get them hardy enough to transplant.
  8. Don't forget to put the "walls of water" around the tender plants after you have planted them in the garden.