Tuesday, May 5, 2020

All Things Spring

Its the most wonderful time of the year!!! For me anyway. I LOVE spring and all of the new life, be it plants or animals it's just such a beautiful and enjoyable season as it melts away all of the bone chilling weather.

The first thing my husband and I like to do to shake off the winter blues is start our seeds. Tomatoes and peppers are always first as they take the longest to get ready to be planted outdoors. Quite honestly we have yet to have any luck starting peppers, they always seem to pop right up and then pitter out before it's time to go outdoors or get too leggy. This year we really nailed it with the tomatoes and MAYBE even the peppers and I think it has a lot to do with keeping the light above the seedlings correctly. We really struggled with the seedlings becoming too leggy as they reached for the light and couldn't quite get the light hooked up so it was easily adjusted or secured well enough so we felt that it wouldn't be a safety hazard. When we finally had those two issues sorted out...well we left the light on to long a few too many times and the plants just dried up a bit. This was all until I finally made a fantastic purchase with an adjustable plant light that actually has THREE light settings for plants. I really didn't understand why it was so important to have different color lights for seedlings so in good fashion I read all about it- it's kind of what I do best.

The three light settings are as follows- red, blue or red and blue.

 Red helps plants that you want to produce fruit or vegetables yield a higher crop. Did you know that there is actually red weed guards you can roll out in between your tomato plants that help your plant produce more fruit simply because tomatoes love the color red? I didn't either until last summer. I haven't tried it yet but if I ever do I will be sure to write about it.

Blue helps your flowers. So if your starting lavender or petunias for instance you would want the blue light setting on to help create those beautiful blooms your looking for. I also recently used it on an Easter Cactus I was having trouble getting to bloom again and sure enough it worked, not to mention my Orchid loves it when it has trouble sending up another flowering stem.

And as you have probably guessed the red and blue is for a little bit of both if you have an assortment of seeds starting like I do but I have noticed it seems to work better to have only one color on at a time.

One of my favorite features though is the timer! Never again will we leave the light on too long! Just kidding, sometimes I forget to hit the timer button. Any who, there are three timed settings- 3,6 and 12 hours. I like to put it on for 3 hours in the evenings to get the plants to straighten back out if they've started leaning toward the window.

I can't forget to mention the adjust-ability of the light that is so important to keep the light just above the plants so they don't get that leggy look and start to fall over.

Here's the link to the light a purchased off of amazon : https://www.amazon.com/BriteLabs-Spectrum-Adjustable-Gooseneck-Dimmable/dp/B07D9HWHY6/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=brite+light+gooseneck+plant+light&qid=1588730417&sr=8-5

We started our tomatoes, peppers, shasta daisy and lavender back in late February/ early March :
As you can see now they're doing rather well and hopefully make it to the garden with out any mishaps. I think my husband thinks it's a past time of mine to start seeds only to end up buying started plants from a green house.


Shasta Daisy and Lavender
Moving outdoors, my rock star of a husband, has already turned the garden soil three times with his new little machine called the "Earthquake" that he purchased at our local Tractor Supply Co. In the garden we have directly sewn radish, carrots, kale and beets. Any root can be planted before the last frost and as it turns out kale actually prefers to be cold so it doesn't get leggy.

Here are our four rows of goodies we have planted in our enclosed garden bed, as you can see they have not sprouted yet but they will.(The pitiful looking plants outside the bed are left to right- goji berry, 2 honey berry and a blueberry. The blueberry actually looks okay as it is from last year but our new additions are a little sad from their postal trip.)

What I am most excited to see do well this year is our strawberry bed! Last summer I bought one June-Bearing strawberry plant not knowing much at all in the ways of berries. To my disappointment the name says it all. The plant only bears fruit in the month of June. To make matters worse I only saw two berries on it that were doing really well until the chipmunks ate them. Luckily for me my wonderful sister in law and her husband gifted us a few ever-bearing strawberry plants later in the summer that wintered really well in our strawberry bed! And as I type this my husband is finishing up the cover so Chip and Dale can no longer commandeer our harvest. I'm too excited to wait for the paint to dry to share a picture of the bed with the cover on but I promise there will be more about strawberries when it's time to harvest some for short cakes, strawberry rhubarb wine (that's right ladies and gentlemen we will be talking about making your very own wine here) and of course strawberry spinach salad with peppercorn dressing that my mother loves so much.

I look forward to sharing every single one of my recipes with you and all of the kitchen gadgets I have acquired over the years. I will do my very best to post the most accurate information available to us all and the most ad-free links I can find for products I personally use in my own home. As always questions are welcomed and even encouraged! As the weather warms up and I am able to start projects I will be sure to post step-by-step how to's. For now I hope you enjoyed my intro to spring.

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