I like to use Coconut Coir for seed starting. It's easy to use and less acidic than peat moss. Seeds do not need any fertilizer in the beginning stages so it is best not to use compost or treated soil for seed germination.
Coconut Coir Pellets or 6 Cell Germination trays work well for seed starting. Use garden markers to label the seeds you've planted. I hear from SO many gardeners that they forgot to label or lost their labels and they don't know what they planted! We recently posted 2 video to help you get started
Sowing depth varies, depending on the germination needs of the plant, but generally most seeds are sown at a depth about twice their width. Some seeds require light to germinate and so require sowing on the soil surface. Once depth is determined, sow one to two seeds per pot and mist the soil surface with water so it's evenly moist. Most seeds germinate best at temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Watering when the soil surface feels dry is sufficient, but empty any collected water from the drip tray within 30 minutes of irrigation to prevent soggy soil.
Some seedlings may have to be transplanted into larger pots to give them room to grow and develop their root systems. Handle the baby plants gently by their leaves, not stems or roots, and try to keep the tiny rootballs intact as you move plants to their new pots. When watering seeds, I use either a spray bottle to moisten the soil or pour water into the reservoir so the soil wicks up the water. Heavy-handed pouring can displace tiny seeds so it is best to use caution. Kathryn at Little Bits of Heaven homestead mentioned her secret to avoid "dampening off" in her video Starting the Summer Garden & Cheap Seed Organization and it's cinnamon! We use Cinnamon as well and it definitely helps. Check on your plants once a day Harden off your seedlings prior to transplanting outdoors. Not sure how, we have an article Hardening Off Seedlings If you'd like to check out our very first video on seed starting, it's also on our youtube channel
If you have additional questions please give us a call or email
We're raising chickens here at Mary's Heirloom Seeds and growing extras for our birds. Supplementing fresh, homegrown veggies and grains for our chickens is not only super healthy but it can also save a bunch on your feed bill!
This Combo pack includes:
2 ounces of Reid's Yellow Corn - Perfect for cracked or whole corn. An excellent storage corn that produces loads of high protein kernels. The staple of any scratch recipe.
2 ounces of German Golden Millet - Easily cut and hung up in the garage for later use. We tie these sprays of millet together, hang in the barn and throw the entire spray to the the chickens when we need it. No need to thresh, and the chickens love it.
2 packs of Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard - huge chard perfect for poultry greens, which are absolutely vital to good growth, egg production, chick development and health.
Includes SEEDS from Mary's Garden Pack. Over the years I've tried new varieties in my garden. This seed combo pack includes many of my favorites! Includes One packet of each: -Amana's Orange Tomato-German Giant Radish -Anaheim Pepper -Detroit Dark Red Beet -Jalapeno Pepper -Tom Thumb Lettuce -Blue Lake Bush Bean -Purple-Top Whiteglobe Turnip -5-Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard -National Pickling Cucumber
All over the radio and around I'm seeing advertising for Black Friday sales and a few of my friends have asked if we're having one as well. Well, the answer is NO...and YES!
This year, we're spending time with our families and not stuck behind a computer. Thursday we'll all get together at my sister's house and Friday I'm spending the day with my Dad, behind the counter at his retail shop.
We're starting a Sale TODAY that will run thru Sunday, November 27th
*While Supplies last*
Before we get to the Seed Sale, just a quick reminder. Our Gardens Fundraiser is going thru Dec 19th. We've added more items. Check back often for more NEW Items and Thank You for helping us help others!
SEEDS, COMBO PACKS & STARTER KITS
SALE Ends November 27th
*Click the Images for complete details*
We've added Organic Plant Food samplers to 3 of our Combo Packs/Starter Kits AND they're On Sale!
If you love the sweet, juiciness of homegrown, heirloom tomatoes then we have a very special combo pack for you! This combo pack includes 6 varieties of heirloom, organic tomato seeds. All individually packed, regular size seed packs.
For those of you just getting started and looking for guidance, we have created a special "kit" just for you. This starter pack includes PRINTED instructions from some of our more popular articles and tutorials as well as seeds, germination supplies, organic pest control and organic soil amendments
An excellent starter pack! Includes 10 varieties of organic, non-GMO seeds (25 seeds per pack), Coconut Coir seed starting pellets, Plant Markers, organic plant food and detailed growing instructions
Organic, Heirloom, Non-GMO Seeds: St. Valery Carrot, Tom Thumb Lettuce, Roma Tomato, Black Beauty Eggplant, Blue Lake Bush Beans, New Jersey Wakefield Cabbage, National Pickling Cucumber, Early Scarlet Globe Radish, Yellow of Parma Onion and Black Beauty Zucchini
8 ounces Organic Plant Food 3-4-4
Options: 24 Coconut Coir Pellets OR 50 Coconut Coir Pellets
A more recent addition to our combo packs includes our homesteader packs!
Coconut coir growing medium comes from the coconut's fibrous husk (known as coir) that is bound together by lignin (known as pith). After the husk is immersed in water for 6 weeks, the fiber is extracted mechanically, and the pith is left behind as a waste product and stored in heaps to age. Since the pith comes from the fruit, it is quite naturally rich in nutrients. Coconut coir growing mediums are dehydrated and compressed into a compact form for easy handling. With the addition of water, coir expands to an easy to work with growing medium.
Unlike peat moss, which is highly acidic, coconut coir has a neutral pH level. Most garden vegetables and flowers grow best in neutral to slightly alkaline conditions. When you use peat to amend a garden bed, an addition of agricultural lime is often necessary to combat the higher acidity. With coconut coir, limestone isn't necessary unless the soil naturally has a higher pH level. Coir use results in both a monetary and a labor savings, since you don't need to purchase further pH amendments nor work them into the soil.
-Coir improves soil drainage in the bed while also helping to retain moisture in quick-draining soils. Since coir breaks down slowly, much like peat, it creates air pockets in the soil that allow excess moisture to drain away from plant roots. The coir itself holds onto some moisture so the drainage doesn't occur too quickly and the soil doesn't dry out completely. These dual drainage and retention properties allow coir to improve moisture management in both heavy clay soils and dry, sandy beds.
-Peat moss, which coir replaces as a soil amendment, takes centuries to regrow once harvested. Coir is completely sustainable since it is a natural byproduct of coconut harvests, and coconut trees produce new coconuts every year. Using the coir in the garden keeps it out of the landfill where it would otherwise go. Coir can take a century or longer to fully break down in these landfills, so it's more sustainable to use it to improve your garden soil.
Step 1: Take out your Coconut Coir Pellets. I like to use a large tray
Step 2: Add water to tray and Coconut Coir Pellets. Using warm water might help them "grow" faster.
Step 3: Add seeds to the hole and gently cover or "squish" coconut coir.
Step 4: Place in a warm sunny place and keep moist. This is where the real growing happens!
Common Seed-Starting Issues
-Incorrect Temperature. Different seeds have different needs.
-Old Seeds. When properly stored seeds can have a very long shelf life. But the older they get, your germination rate will begin to reduce
-Incorrect Watering. Water in a necessity for all plants. In the germination stage you need to make sure you keep the soil evenly moist. If you water too much, you run the risk of your seeds rotting before they germinate. If you let them dry out, they will either never germinate or die trying!
-Planting Depth/Light. When you plant your seeds pay attention to your planting depth. This is important because if planted too deep you plants could run out of energy before reaching sunlight. Planting too shallow can lead to drying out. Some seeds actually need some light to germinate, so instead of digging them down you just press them into your soil.
MOLD or ROTTING
Dampening off, is probably the most common disease when starting seeds. It’s a fungus that can attack the seeds as soon as they germinate or after the seedling has emerged. You will know this is what killed your seedlings when you notice dark spots on the stem right at the soil level and the seedling topples over and withers away.
-Don't over water
-Provide air movement.A small fan will work
-Nutrients: Use a half-strength, organic fertilizer with tiny seedling.Our DIY Kelp Meal Tea is a great option for tiny seedling.You can use this as a foliar feed as well.
For coconut coir pellets, plant no more than 2 seeds per pellet for small seeds and only one per pellet for larger seeds.If both seeds germinate, do not pull one out.Pinch off one of the seedlings at the base to remove.This will give the remaining seedling a chance to survive and thrive.
Once your seedlings are strong and roots start to grow out of the mesh, it's time to transplant them into the garden or into your containers.
Take the entire pellet and plant into the garden. For healthier root growth and to give plants a boost, I add a tablespoon of Azomite into each hole and mix into the dirt before transplanting the coconut coir pellet with growing seedling. I also water with a diluted version of our DIY Kelp Meal Tea when I transplant to help with shock.
We hope you have enjoyed our in-depth article about Seed Starting with Coconut Coir. If you have additional questions, feel free to comment below or send an email to email@example.com
I'm starting with Radish because it's one of the first crops to mature in our garden. As long as your soil has balanced organic matter, Radish is an easy crop to grow and usually pest resistant. The Early Scarlet Globe Radish is heat tolerant and matures in as little as 22 days. The German Giant Radish matures in as little as 29 days and can be harvested small and early or let them grow as large as a tennis ball (no joke. I've done it)
If you're looking for a good dual-purpose crop, Beans are your go-to homestead crop. Some varieties can be picked early as a snap bean or left on the plant to mature for a nice dry bean (for soups, etc).
Here's another dual purpose for your homestead. Glass Gem corn for example is a great popping corn and can also be ground to make cornmeal. Floriani Red Flint Corn is a very unique, strong variety for cornmeal. Blue Clarage Dent Corn can be picked and eaten in the earlier stages or grown longer to use as a cornmeal OR chicken treat. Sweet Corn varieties can be used right away, frozen or canned. So many possibilities!
Even the pickiest of eaters might enjoy a nice beet green salad. We grow beets almost year round here on our homestead. The tops make a great salad. Beets can be eaten fresh, roasted or canned. Most Beets mature in 50-60 days, and are somewhat pest resistant. Even if bugs eat the tops, the bulb usually survives. Detroit Dark Red, Chioggio and Golden Beets have been our best producers so far. The Early Wonder is a great early maturing variety.
Onions take about 5 – 8 months to mature from the time the seeds are planted, so you’ll want to begin them early in January or February. If you are in an area that gets frost in winter, plant them indoors in pots or in a greenhouse to give them protection. Bunching onions are a faster maturing option.
Determinate varieties of tomatoes, also called "bush" tomatoes, are varieties that are bred to grow to a compact height (approx. 4 feet). They stop growing when fruit sets on the terminal or top bud, ripen all their crop at or near the same time (usually over a 2 week period).
Indeterminate varieties of tomatoes are also called "vining" tomatoes. They will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost and can reach heights of up to 10 feet although 6 feet is considered the norm. They will bloom, set new fruit and ripen fruit all at the same time throughout the growing season.
Summer squash are usually a faster maturing option. Summer Squash take longer to mature but usually store for longer than summer varieties. Squash is a great addition to your homestead garden since they are heavy-producers and make seed saving a bit easier IF you are mindful of cross-pollination. Black Beauty Zucchini and Golden Crookneck are our homestead favorites. Spaghetti Squash and Butternut Squash are Winter Squash favorites.
Give Peas a chance! But first, decide what type of pea you'd like. Southern Peas, also called Crowder Peas are not your garden variety peas. Southern Peas are used like you would a dry bean. Our homestead favorite is the Whippoorwill Southern Pea. Then you have Garden Peas, also called Shelling Peas, and these are great for canning and soups. Sugar, Snow and Snap Peas are useful for homesteaders as well.
There are so many unique veggies available, too many to list in a single article. We've gone over a few of our favorites. We'd love to hear from YOU about your favorite homestead crops.
If you have a short growing season or want to get a head start, plant watermelon seeds indoors in individual containers or pots. We recommend using coconut coir pellets, which can be planted directly in the garden with minimal transplant shock. Plant one to two seeds per pot.
Sow watermelon seeds in hills or rows. For regular watermelons, sow three to four seeds per hill, spacing the hills eight to ten feet apart. Space the rows ten feet apart or more, if you have room. Thin watermelon seedlings in each hill, to two seedlings one week after they have germinated. When planting in rows, space the seeds four to six inches apart and thin seedlings to ten to twelve inches apart. For bush varieties, final spacing can be cut in half or even more if you are tight for space. Days to Germinate: 3-5 days Days to Harvest: 65-85 days
Watermelon prefers full sun for healthy, strong vines.
Companion plants for Watermelon
Planting corn with your watermelon will provide shade for the plants during the hottest time of the day. Allow about a foot between the corn plants so the watermelon plants still receive enough sun.
Young melon plants are susceptible to insect invasion, especially cucumber beetles. Once the plants mature, they can tolerate some leaf loss due to insects, but keeping companion plants nearby helps control swarms of pests. Cass County Master Gardeners recommend marigold, oregano and nasturtium as companion plants for melons.
from almanac.com, Dr. Bill Rhodes, professor of horticulture at Clemson University, offers the following advice on how to tell if watermelons are ripe:
Thump it. If the watermelon sounds hollow, it's ripe.
Look at the color on the top. The watermelon is ripe when there is little contrast between the stripes.
Look at the color on the bottom. A green watermelon will have a white bottom; a ripe melon will have a cream- or yellow-colored bottom.
Press on it. If the watermelon sounds like it gives a little, it's ripe. (Rhodes doesn't like this method because it can ruin the quality of the fruit.)
Check the tendril. If it's green, wait. If it’s half-dead, the watermelon is nearly ripe or ripe. If the tendril is fully dead, it's ripe or overripe; it’s not going to get any riper, so you might as well pick!
Stems should be cut with a sharp knife close to the fruit.
Watermelons can be stored uncut for about 10 days. If cut, they can last in the refrigerator for about 4 days. Wrap tightly in plastic.
Chicory greens have long, broad, dandelion-like leaves with an asparagus-like flavor. A rapid grower, the leaves and tender spring stalks can be used as early greens. Germination: 45-70 days Days to Maturity: 52-80 days
About Dandelion Dandelion greens contain vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamin, riboflavin, beta carotene and fiber. They are actually more nutritious than most of the fruits and vegetables you can buy in the grocery store. It is also touted as being beneficial to your liver, kidneys, blood and digestion. Not to mention that it supposedly helps with acne, weight-loss, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is nearly a perfect food.
From Global Healing Center HERBAL PROPERTIES AND USES: Highly nutritious and known to treat a variety of ailments, dandelion is a great plant to grow in your garden. From heart problems to acne, liver diseases to eye conditions, most people are unaware that this weed has higher amounts of potassium than bananas and more vitamin A than carrots. Dandelion is also reported to have anti-rheumatic capacities. It is also a powerful diuretic with additional laxative properties. Good for hepatic and gallbladder conditions, digestive complaints, as well as general constipation.
Growing Dandelion from Seed Because dandelion is considered a weed, it doesn't take much effort to grow. If you're looking for a low-maintenance garden green.
Plant seeds directly in the garden 1/4 inch deep in the soil in single rows, about 8 inches. Plant the dandelion seeds in early spring in well-drained, fertile soil. Harvesting Dandelion Never harvest dandelions from a location that is near a road or has been treated with pesticides or other chemicals. Harvest leaves as needed when they are a usable size.