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Kate at High Altitude Gardening reports a neat thing happening in SLC, UT

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Blunders with Shoots, Blossoms 'n Roots
Where things either live or die!

Apr 8, 2009

Seedling update and more!

I’ve been so busy, I’ve found it hard to actually sit down and record everything! The garden is really growing fast with our beautiful, sunny weather we’ve been having lately. Two words for you ‘I’m sore!’
I’ll start with the Dex paper pot seedlings, as I know some of you have been following this experiment. I’m happy to report that they are doing really well- so green and growing rapidly. I’ve given them their usual shots of high phos fertilizer and they’ve jumped to life!

Zucchini ‘Burpee’s Fordhook’, Watermelon ‘Red Little Baby Flower’, Eggplant ‘Hansel’

They are doing fine in the paper pots- better than expected. The weather is getting better and better, but we still have a bit to go before these babies can go out. We’ll see how they do as they get bigger! I have noticed that they need water almost daily, which is fine unless I’m not here! I have also noticed that the paper, when it gets dry a bit, will stick to the tray (roots too). To help with that I put a bit of water in the tray and roll in around a little before lifting them and that seems to take care of the problem.
Some of the babies in the plug flat that I sowed on 3/27 were ready last Friday to move on to pots. I decided that since a lot of these will go to family and friends, I should probably put them in Dex pots. After learning that the bottoms of these plug flats should have air to help the plants develop a good root ball, I was eager to see what the roots looked like. I’m happy to report that they looked great! And this is after I let them have air when they already had a long root coming out the bottom, which forced the root to die back a little!  Here they are before I potted up.

‘Red Sails’ Lettuce in Dex pots
The tomato, broccoli, iberis, both yellow and purple Alyssum, and Rock Cress will soon follow as soon as they get their first leaves.
The first round of Sunflower and Zinnia had to be potted up- they grew really fast. I moved them to the greenhouse on a heat mat and a small 2 foot grow light I have in there just for seedlings coming out of the house. They spend a few days there and then move to the benches.

Speaking of benches. I had to go up again on the other side of the greenhouse. I was really running out of room!

The shelves may not be the same as the other side, which was made from an old, small, zip-up greenhouse I had a few years ago, but I think it will work. They aren’t as high- which I like because I have more room between the roof and the shelf. I really need to paint them white, however, to get that winter light bouncing around. They are also deeper and allows two flats on top and two below. It’s actually a 4 shelf unit that I we found at K-mart. We bought one just like it to’t laugh, doggy stairs! Our bed is really high and none of the stairs we saw anywhere worked, or were tall but expensive - so we made them. When I was putting the 5 shelf unit together for my seed light setup, I had a brain storm and put it together like stairs, instead of shelves as an experiment. I ran my idea by DH and he agreed that it would work.

We ended up finding a 4 shelf unit at K-mart for $25 and made the dog stairs very easily! They needed to be wide enough and stable enough for our picky dog Joey or he would never use them! I went and got a couple cheap (and ugly!) rugs to glue down on them, so the steps wouldn’t be slick. Works like a charm and we didn’t have to spend $200 for something that would have been too small!

I measured the shelves and took the spare one in the greenhouse and it ended up being exactly the right size for in there- they run the length of it perfectly! By the time we bought one, it was on sale for $20- nice.
If you think our dogs are spoiled- you’re right (actually the stairs were necessary as one of out babies was hurt jumping down.)  You should get a kick out of this!

With 2 small dogs and sometimes an 18 lb. cat, it can get way too crowded on the bed (kitty is booted off after he has a good night cuddle.) Yes, we made a crib (out of an old bench) at the foot of the bed that the dogs can sleep in :)!

All the plants are getting bigger just in time for the warm weather- everything had to be moved outside the greenhouse because it reached almost 100 degrees. It is time to harden off and I’m hoping that we won’t have a repeat of last spring. I remember racing outside to put everything back in the greenhouse because of pounding rain and if I remember right, hail! Now that everything is moving out I’ll slowly have more room for the babies inside to be moved out there. By then the shade cloth will probably have to go on.

Here is some of them- the tomatoes seemed to green up after being outside. It was windier than I would have liked, but all is well.
One problem with the weather clearing up is that the nights are clear and frost is probable. Last Saturday morning I woke up to this.

A light frost hit the broccoli and beets. This gamble crop isn’t doing well. And to date I have lost a couple. There are ants going crazy in there and are all over the stems- one of which has been gnawed down to nothing! I’ve never seen ants do this, but I know they are a sign of aphids- I looked, but no aphids. One of them has very familiar holes in it- possibly the same worm that was attacking the Mizuna- it’s only one. Time for a midnight check!

This is about 2 hrs. later- they looked fine. By Sunday I had found the ants and all the damage. Planting out this early crop has obviously stressed the plants and made them quite susceptible to attach- by a few things!

More seedling updates will come and more on everything else as time allows.
Happy Gardening!



  • Daphne

    Our dog is spoiled too. She has her own bed. My son has a trundle bed and she gets the trundle.

  • gardenerprogress/Catherine

    You spoil your pets and your plants! :)

  • Karen

    The doggie stairs are hysterical! Hey, pets are part of the family, you do what you have to for them to be comfy. Love the crib too. Kind of like an "Arms' Reach" attachment some people use with babies. Only in this case I guess it would be "Toes' Reach." Ha. Wow, just reading about your seedlings makes me tired! Where do you find the time to do all of that? My mom is the same, a seed-starting dynamo. I am in awe of you people.

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Thanks guys, for stopping by- Yes, spoiled dogs! They are worth it though :).

    Karen- It is time consuming and sometimes it's like running a small business. I'm home though, and have been home schooling the kids for a few years now- so it's a good thing I ended up being a gardener!

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