Golden’s Tips for Successfully Starting Seeds Indoors

I love the idea of growing my own plants from seed and I’ve tried starting my own seeds indoors on numerous occasions. Something different went wrong each time. First I wasn’t watering enough and the seeds germinated sporadically. I tried again and ended up with mold growing from things staying too wet. Other times the plants were long, spindly things that just flopped over. Eventually, I just gave up. I guess I just don’t have a knack for delicate new plants.

Recently, however, I had the good fortune to pay a visit to Golden’s home and see his seed starting set up. He was kind enough to talk with me about his process for starting seeds indoors. Golden knows his stuff. He is famous in the Salt Lake County Gardening Association for having tomatoes on the vine long before most people are even thinking about planting them. He starts his tomato seeds in January and has a greenhouse where he can continue growing the plants until they can go outside.

Here is what I learned from Golden. Continue reading

October 2016

The Utah State Fair is over for this season and I can get on with my gardening at home.
That takes about two weeks out of my schedule and in some ways puts me behind a little
on my fall clean up and harvest. A few years ago I gave an Italian prune tree to a neighbor
and it took about 4 years for it to start into production. This year it was loaded.
I normally pick and dry the prunes for her, it took a lot of effort to get that taken care of.
At home, on the prune tree that I transplanted about 28 years ago from my last place,
the tree was loaded with prunes and Pluots I had grafted on to it a few years ago from Bart Anderson’s tree.
There was one variety that I did not like the way it grew.
It’s called the Queen, a yellow fruit that split at the stem end and started to rot before
it was ripe. I’m going to take that graft and add one of the other varieties that was a better fruit.
The second crop of Espada beans I planted after taking out the cabbage has produced really great.
They areabout the best bush beans I have tried;
tender with no strings and have an excellent taste. I have planted Brussel Sprouts this year
and I am still waiting for the sprouts to start getting bigger. They are at each leaf node
but not growing so far. I had heard that you need to cut the top out of the plant to get
them to start growing. I tried it on one plant and so far it is not working.
The fig tree has been producing fruit and has grown about 16 inches.
At each leaf node there are green figs and I have found out that as the figs turn
a slight red they are getting ripe. But I don’t pick them until they get soft and
droopy. That is when they are the best tasting.
The tree is supposed to take up to 20 degrees below zero and still survive in this climate.
This rain we got the middle of September was really great, my water bill this month was quite
high and my wife vows we need to cut back on the plants that need water next year.
It has been a really dry summer this year, but I hope this winter will be a wet one.
With fall arriving in September I am thinking of all the work that I need to
be completed before snow flies in the valley. This is a good time to go after
the morning glory. When I bought the house I am living in the yard was full
of morning glory. I hauled a pickup load of green plants loaded with green
seeds to the dump and then started to spray for morning glory as it grew
back clear into the fall.
At Gilgal Garden last week I was spraying for morning glory and other broad leaf weeds
and as I was moving through the garden I was tripped by a short rose bush and fell.
I wasn’t hurt, but I hit the spray tank on a rock and the top of the tank blew off and
went flying about 20 feet from the pressure. Needless to say, I got drenched and needed to go home to take a bath.
I will finish the job this week.

September 2016

This summer has gone by real fast. With the State Fair just around the corner
and the days getting shorter, you can tell that fall is approaching.
The fig tree that cost an arm and a leg is producing fruit. My wife doesn’t like
them, but they taste good to me. They have figs at each one of the leaf nodes so
the production is great so far. I found that if I leave the fruit on the tree until
they get real soft they are the best tasting.
The beans I planted a month ago have really grown and are in full bloom,
so I need to remember to work theinsect control into the soil before I plant seeds.
The first planting of beans are starting to turn yellow and look like
they are on the down hill as far as production is concerned.
The Italian prune tree with all of the plot grafts on it is loaded.
There are three different varieties of pluots on the tree this year.
The first graft that ripened was on that had a greenish marbled skin
with a dark red fruit in themiddle. It was delicious!
There is one that has a light yellow skin and yellow meat inside and is very sweet.
Thelast one is one you need to pick a little green
or when the birds start feeding on them. Let them sweeten a little
before eating them. All in all it was a great graft for the Italian prune tree.
Last fall I took all of my Gladiolus bulbs and ground them up
and put them in the compost pile. This spring I bought a bag full of new bulbs
with lots of color in them and planted them. As they began to bloom all the
blossoms were yellow. I was looking for the various colors on the bag
and was disappointed that they were just yellow.
Later on the other colors started to bloom so it turned out great.
Rather than leave the flowers in the garden I cut them
and brought them in the house so we could enjoy the blooms.
The grape vine (which is the third planted) is doing great.
I have over six feet of runners set on the new plant so
far. So I need to start pruning the vines that are on the fence
to give the new vine room to spread out.
The first two plants I got from Stark’s were just dead sticks and
I could not get them to grow. I bought a plant from a nursery
that was already growing in a pot and it has not looked back.
In talking to one of the nursery men he indicated
that most of the bare root plants were harvested in the late fall,
then stored in a cooler and shipped in the spring
so most of the time you are better off buying a potted plant in
the spring that is growing.
My compost area has been real busy with the neighbors apricot
tree breaking a large branch. I was able to chip
up most of the smaller limbs with the leaves on them.
Then adding some grass clippings to the pile I was able to
get the heat up to 170. When I clean the debris from the flowerbeds
I put them on the lawn so I can mow them
up with the lawn clippings to add to the pile.
It doesn’t take long for the pile to cook, by turning it about once a
week, in about a month it is ready to pile into the bins to finish.
With the yard work around the house and trying to help
some of the neighbors with their yards it keeps me busy.
The garden is producing well. The weather is cooling down.
What more could you want?

Continue reading

August 2016

Wow! The heat has hit and I am having a problem trying to conserve water
and keep all of my plants growing and green. I water the lawn every three days
and I still have some dry spots that show up on the second day,
so I just use the hose to give them a little water to hold them over.
Some of the hanging baskets are the coco fiber base and they dry out quite rapidly.
One of my neighbors lines her hanging baskets with plastic to keep the water in.
I have some hanging baskets that are made out of plastic and I have no trouble with them.
The peas went down in late June. I cut the plants off and have replaced them with corn
I had planted in paper pots in the basement.
This way I can start the plants about a week or two early
before I even take the old crop out. When I took the cabbage and cauliflower
out I planted beans in their place. Over the last few years I have
had trouble getting the plants up in the garden.
Most of the time they get eaten off before they even come out of the ground.
I have used the granular insect killer but that has not helped.
I would spread it over the ground on top of where I had the seed planted
and it did not do any good. Have you heard the old saying when all else fails read the instructions?
Well, I took the opportunity to sit in a big rocking chair at the store on a hot day and find out what
I was doing wrong. The label instructed to sprinkle the product over the area and then
dig it in to about six inches deep and then plant the seeds.
I tried it and it worked with only just a few beans not making it out of the ground.
The garden is in full production, the potato plants have fallen down
and mostly eaten by the bugs, but the harvest is great with great tasting potatoes.
The large tomatoes started producing the third week in June and have not slowed down.
I am starting to get ripe Pluots that are the sweet variety and they are delicious
thanks to the start I got from Bart a few years ago.
The broccoli is still producing and Chuckie, my little dog is delighted with the stems.
The grape plant I got from Starks Brothers, the second plant
was still a dead stick with roots that did not grow. I called for a refund
and they sent it to me. I told them I had lost two months of growth
on that plant but I was able to find what I was looking for at a nursery
here in the valley and it is doing well. Maybe next year I will find out how it tastes.
The fig tree that my wife almost had a heart attack over (because of the price)
is growing and has set a good amount of fruit.
This year the apricot trees were loaded in our area.
The neighbor’s tree to the north had a large crop on it and
it was weighing one of the limbs clear down to the ground.
There was a swing set to help prop the limb up but
that got in the way and caused the limb to buckle and break.
So she will lose a large part of the production of the tree.
It looks like I will need to help her take care of that problem
so I have been through my composting area and piled
every bit to make room for the debris. I had three piles cooking
and I was able to put the last two piles together into one of the bins.
I had a bunch of parsley growing under the rose hedge on the south side
that I took out so I put mulch over it and now I have a good crop of new parsley plants growing.
And remember that the first of August is the time to take rose cuttings from your plants
and follow my instructions from last year to get new plants growing. Remember to
wear your large brimmed hat to keep away skin cancer. It isn’t fun.

July 2016

We can kiss the colder temperatures good bye and say hello to the heat of summer
that is upon us. I hope this rainy weather will continue for a long period of time
to cut down on the water usage. When the natural gas bill goes down I know
that the water bill will go up, it is just a fact of life.
The cole crops have just about run their course,
the cauliflower was extremely large and I had trouble keeping up with picking them.
The broccoli heads were larger than normal and now the secondary heads will
produce well into the fall. Chuckie our little dog thinks that broccoli
is his personal treat and cauliflower trimmings are great also.
When I go into the garden to pick the produce he is anxiously waiting for his share.
The stone head cabbage is ready to be picked;
I find if I pick them too early the heads are not full so I wait
for a while to make sure they are ready. Then on the other hand
if I wait too long the heads start to split, but
even when they split they are still good.
The rose starts I took last August turned out great this year.
I have one from the Gilgal Garden and another
one from another location that has turned out to be great roses.
A few years ago I had a pruning class with
the Rose Club in Ogden. I indicated that I was starting roses from cuttings.
That takes a little longer to get
your roses to grow. One of the members indicated that it was the best
way to get a good rose start. A couple of years ago
Bart started a rose and it froze to the ground.
In the spring, it came back with no problems. On some of the grafted roses,
if they die back you get the rose growing from the rootstock with long
shafts and no blossoms. Then it is time to replace it.
The iris garden at Murray Park is through blooming
and I have just a little bit of clean up left to go before it is
ready for the summer. Sometimes I get discouraged
when I find that people or animals have been through
the garden and broken a lot of the flowers and plants off.
Oh well, it is a public park.
At home I have taken out a lot of the iris that I did not separate last year.
The new iris plants I planted a couple of years ago all
bloomed this year and I will put some of them in place of some of the common ones I had.
My wife discovered that I had bought a fig tree;
it is a Chicago cold tolerant fig. The one that Loren from Wasatch Gardens talked about.
She almost had another heart attack when she found out how much I had
paid for it. Then she put me on a guilt trip and I had to buy some of the
gardening items she wanted. The grape vine I bought from Starks Bro.,
turned out to be a dry stick with dry roots on it.
I followed their directions and planted. It did not grow.
I called them and they replaced it and now I have been waiting for
another dry stick to show some life.
It has been another month with no growth and I have lost two
full months for the vine to grow.
I think I will call and get my money back on that one.
Sunday June 12th at 5:45 pm I hear pounding on the side of the house.
It started with just like someone throwing rocks at the side of the house.
Then it intensified and we had a hailstorm with ½ inch hail. I tried to
get outside to get some of the plants covered but that hail hurt when you got hit with it.
The sun was shining and no clouds were above us.
That was weird, but the large hailstones tasted good and it didn’t last that long
so my garden looked like it survived. May you get rain on you garden and not hail.

June 2016

Wow! Another month has gone by and the weather has modified
to the point that I took my water walls off the tomatoes about a week ago.
I normally wait until I can see what the weather is going to be for the next week or
so. This is a little early for me this year so I hope we will not get any more
freezing weather. My cole crops are doing extremely well this year.
It is only the 18th of May and I have broccoli heads ready for picking.
The cabbage is starting to head up and the cauliflower has small heads already.
I had to take the Remay cover off of them real early this year
because the plants had pulled the cover out from under the bricks holding it down.
I have weeded the carrot patch and taken out all of the radishes, I call them my weeds.
With the rainy weather they were the best this year, nice and crunchy.
I plant the carrots and radishes together. I use the French Break
fast radish seed. This helps to give cover so the carrot seed can grow.
The French Breakfast radish has a long slender root but the bulb stays
above the ground so when you pull the radish out it does not disturb the carrots.
This year Chuckie our little dog was begging for a radish and when I gave him one
it was gone in an instant and he was ready for more.
I found out this dog likes radishes and broccoli. With the apple tree I got from Starks Bros.,
I had also ordered a grape vine. After spending a month in the ground
it still looked like a withered up dead twig. In testing it out, it was dried up with no life in it.
I called them and they replaced it at no charge, so I am waiting to see if this dried up twig
will grow into the grape vine I ordered. Only time will tell.
The new irises I bought two years ago are coming into bloom this year
and some of them are stunning with the color and size of the bloom.
I am finding out that I have a few spots with iris in them that I need to weed out.
They are plain and boring to me now. With a little transplanting in the next few weeks
I should get the ones I want where I want them.
With the grafting class we had in the month of April
I was able to use some of the seedlings growing in the garden to graft to.
So far I am 100% in getting them to grow.
I found a shoot coming off of the weeping crab apple that was on dwarf root stock.
I was able to get the shoot to grow and grafted a Cameo apple to it.
In short, I have a Cameo apple on a dwarf root stock.
This should be interesting. I spent too much on flowers and plants this year.
My wife said no more flowers, but then she wanted a yellow calla Lilly.
I hunted for the yellow Mandevillle and found that Cactus and Tropicals only had two come in.
I got one of them so I scored on that flower.
Let’s hope the weather stays good for the next few weeks.
Then we will be out of the frost zone.

May 2016

So, you got an Amaryllis bulb for Christmas (that’s great),
it has bloomed and the flower is gone and
now all you have is the green long leaves that want to fall over.
What do you do with it next?
Over the years I have saved the plant and planted it in the garden
when spring has arrived. I have found the
best way to keep them growing and to get it to bloom next year is to
leave them in the pot. Take them outside
and put them in a place where they can get part shade and part sun.
I have a drip system I use to keep them watered,
but you can plant the pot in the ground in an area that receives water.
They like their roots to be crowded so keep them in the pot.
In September dig the pot up and place it in an area
that it can dry out and will not freeze.
As the leaves dry out, cut them off.
Store the bulbs until around Christmas.
Then you can start to water them as you see the flower head start to emerge.
I have a pot with two large and one daughter bulb.
This year I have five blossom shafts.
One shaft has six flowers on it and I can count 22 flowers.
As the bulbs get larger they will have more shafts and more flowers
so keep them growing for years.
Bart and I will be teaching a grafting class on the 16th of April at 10 am at my place.
If you want more information on the class call me at 801-561-1766.
We made our pilgrimage to Erda in Tooele Countyand got a lot of scion wood for the class.
We have been teaching this class for about 17 or 18 years
and have made a lot of friends and had a lot of success
both in our grafting and those that come to learn.
If you want to try and revive an old apple tree or just want a variety grafted onto your tree,
come and learn with us.
The Glacier tomato plants I seeded just before Christmas are now in blossom.
This year I have tried something new.
Other years, I have planted them in some soil I have made.
This year I have used the Miracle-Gro potting mix and put them in six inch pots.
I gave them a lot more room to grow and what a difference it has made.
They are real healthy plants and in bloom with tomatoes set on them already.
They should be ready to plant in the garden by the middle of March with weather permitting.
This is the end of February, so I need to start my other tomatoes and peppers real soon.
I have had some fire blight in my apple trees and have removed
a lot of limbs from the Golden Delicious tree.
I am now trying to decide, do I take it down to the the ground
or see if it will grow back without the problem?
I have seen other trees that have been trimmed in the same manner
and have recovered. The apple crop last year had a lot of problems
and I hope to avoid them this year. I have run the smaller
branches through the chipper and will try to hot compost them.
With the change in the weather and the sun starting to return North,
I was able to move the pelargonium plants into the greenhouse
and get it started up. I needed the room in the basement for the Cole crops
I have planted as I moved them from the seeding pot into individual containers.
I can plant a lot of seeds in a 4 inch pot
and when the first true leaves come out I then move them into other pots.
This is when they start to take up more room.
Spring may be just around the corner so get prepared,
you know the weeds are not far behind.

April 2016

The Golden Delicious apple tree has been removed.
The larger limbs on the tree went to a neighbor that turns
wood bowls. The other limbs I saved for my neighbor next door.
When the wood dries out I will throw them over
the fence and stack it for him. Last year, he sold his home and didn’t want the wood,
so I stacked the wood over at my neighbor’s wood pile
and he didn’t know where it came from, but he burned it anyway.
I have taken the apple tree root out and as last time, I planted a standard Golden Delicious tree,
this time, I am looking for a semi-dwarf Golden Delicious
spur type that will allow fruit to form on each limb bearing from the
trunk out. This will increase production and give fruit much
earlier than the standard tree. It takes a lot less time to prune in the
spring and that is a plus for me.
The Glacier tomatoes planted just before Christmas have tomatoes set on them.
With the weather turning cold the middle of March
and with all of the family things to take care of I will wait until the end of March to get them
planted in the garden. I have the cole crops with a floating row cover
or a product called Remay and that will act
as a blanket on the cold nights but also, keep the cabbage loppers from getting to the plants.
I have all of my Regulator tomatoes planted, seeded and up.
They are planted into the small containers and may
be ready by the middle of April to be put in water walls.
One nice thing about putting them in the walls is you do
not need to harden them off before planting them.
Remember to fertilize them when you plant. Put 1/3 cup of 16
– 16- 8 fertilizer, six inches deep and six inches away from the root of the plant.
This will provide enough energy to last the tomato plant for the rest of the season.
So far we have had a break from winter to get some of the clean up from
last fall taken care of. It always amazes me to see how fast the weeds start to
grow in the spring and some grow all winter long. The snow mold on the
lawn in my back yard was really a mess this year. I have raked it out and fertilized it,
but it will take a while for it to recover.
As you plant lawn over the years it changes to a type of grass
that will survive in that location. Most of the back lawn is now bent grass,
but it is the dog’s side of the yard and it takes a lot of abuse so I can’t complain.
Last year, I took out all of my Gladiolus and got rid of them. Over the years,
they seem to all turn the same color. Last year I dug all of them up and put
them through the chipper shredder. I was tired of all of them looking the
same peach colored flowers with pink throats. I bought a bag of all colors
so that should be a good change.
The neighbor’s apricot tree is starting to bloom, so that is a telltale sign that
spring is on its way, but snow can’t be far behind. Have a happy planting

March 2016

I planted the cole crops in the garden the last of March and with April
so warm they have been planted in the garden for just over a month.
I put the Remay or row cover over the top and this is only the 20th
and already the plants have grown so big that the cover will soon need to be removed.
It is alreadypulling out from under the bricks I have it weighted down with.
Most of my tomato plants have been planted or given away at this point in time.
The ones planted in the garden are growing quite fast
and some are already wanting to get out of the top of the water walls.
We still have a few more nights of frost coming so I will need to keep an eye on the weather report.
If they report temperatures at the airport below 40 degrees
I need to cover here in my yard.
I did get my apple tree in from Starks Bro’s Co.
My wife called it a dead stick, but I can see signs of life with some green shoots showing.
I checked some of the nursery’s around town and could not find
what I was looking for. I did find a Goji Berry I wanted.
In the catalog it was in a quart container and for few bucks more I found it in a two gallon bucket.
It should bear fruit this year.
I have pruned the remaining apple tree that had the fire blight
and in doing so have lost two of the grafts I had on the tree.
Some of the branches were so bad that I needed to take the entire limb next to
the trunk off. I hope that it will recover, but just in case I have another seedling tree
I grafted last year that I could replace it with.
The Granny Smith apple tree is in a cloud of bloom and I am spraying it for
fire blight for the next week or so. I had no idea where the fire blight came from
until I started looking and found out it comes from bees. They have a powder you
mix with water and spray on the blossoms three or four times during the bloom cycle.
This will stop it from being spread from someone elses tree
in the neighborhood. Last year the Granny Smith apple tree
did not have very many apples on it so I guess that is the reason it did not get fire blight. Next,
I will need to spray it with liquid 7 to try and thin out some of the apples from forming.
At the Murray Park iris garden I was able to put a layer of wood shavings around
all of the plants. It’s about an inch and a half deep.
Over time the mulch will turn a dark color, but right now it looks great
being a light wood color. It comes from a fellow in our neighborhood that
turns wood bowls. I hauled a number of bags into Gilgal Garden
and we put it around the rose bushes. At home I am working on my
second batch of mulch using the same wood shavings. I will need to
use a lot of grass clippings to mix with it to get it started cooking.
I am on a corner lot and so there is twice as much area to take care of
and this will cut down the time I need to worry about weeds. In checking for weeds
this last week myweed count went down 80%, only two weeds were found.
I have a green house that is full of plants that need to be planted.
I have Gladiolus bulbs that need to go into the ground,
so there is still work that I need to complete in the next few weeks.
And yes, there are quail running around the neighborhood,
but I hope they find another place to raise their young.