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.

Time To Start Thinking About Elections

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Salt Lake County Gardening Association elections will be here before you know it…..

In October, we will be voting for a new board. These are just a few of the benefits of serving on the board:

  • Become better acquainted with the members
  • Develop new friendships
  • Help the association grow and improve
  • Counts towards volunteer hours

We would like your help in filling the ballot for this years’ elections. Would you be interested in serving on the board? Do you know someone that would be a good candidate for a board position? Continue reading

NEVER Use Weed Barrier Cloth

NEVER Use Weed Barrier Cloth

Article & photos courtesy of Judi Short

If you don’t read the “Spaces” section of the Tribune (and it might also be in the D News) on Saturday, you are missing out on a very informative article written weekly by someone from Jordan Valley Conservation Garden Park.

A few weeks ago, Cynthia Bee wrote an article about the use of weed cloth or weed barrier in the garden. Her advice is that weed barrier cloth is a weed. It doesn’t work, it kills your soil, and it kills your plants. There is a LOT of weed barrier cloth at Gilgal, and her comments rolled around in my noggin for about a week, and then I asked John Silletto (we call him “shovel man”!) if he could look at how hard it would be to remove the cloth from under the redbud trees in the allee. Now, John doesn’t know he isn’t 25 any more, he tackles any project like a challenge, and before I knew it, he had peeled about 15′ of that cloth up, and asked me to take a look.  Continue reading