Archive for the ‘starting seeds’ Category

Lorina’s Edible Garden

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First Day of Spring Open House News Letter
March 20,2009 12-5pm

Come check out what we are growing in our little greenhouse!
We have a selection of veggies and herbs ready to take home, more will be ready as the weeks go on.

You will find Lorina cleaning up the gardens still getting ready to plant. She would love to visit with you and help you with any garden questions that you might have.

Lorina will do guest speaking for clubs, classes or anyone interested in gardening with herbs.

We also welcome field trips at the farm for all ages. Gardening activities and visiting with the farm animals are a treat at the farm!

Come on out any day after March 20 by appointment.
For more info call (209)838-1457

Lorina’s Edible Garden

17397 Enterprise rd
Escalon ca 95320

Take hwy 120 east of Escalon towards oakdale. Look for enterprise on the north side of road, look for sign at end of driveway!

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To take a small, dormant capsule of life
and unlock its culinary and/or aesthetic
potential is glorious indeed!

Check out these helpful seed starting tips for your garden from Botanical Interests:


  • Varieties such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, perennials and some annual flowers really benefit from an early start indoors.
  • Light: Insufficient light is the biggest mistake people make starting seeds indoors. Long, tall, skinny seedlings which eventually fall over and die are the result of not enough light. Use fluorescent lights, preferably a 4-tube ballast. Tubes must be placed 1″ — 2″ above seedlings. Ballasts can be hung on chains and hooked into ceiling hooks for easy adjustment as seedlings grow. Seedlings must receive 14 — 16 hours of light per day.
  • Soil: Purchase high quality seed starting mix. Don’t use outside soil. Buying inexpensive, poor quality soil will only cause problems.
  • Water: Seedlings must be kept moist but not soggy. If they completely dry out just once, seedlings will die. If soggy, fungal problems can occur.
  • Containers: Almost any container can be used to start seeds including old milk containers or egg cartons. Seed starting trays and larger pots to transplant seedlings into are available. If you reuse containers year after year, soak containers in a 1:9 bleach/water solution to kill potential seedling pathogens. To retain soil moisture until seed germinates, cover container with a clear lid or wrap in clear plastic wrap. Remove cover immediately when you see the first seedling. Moving to larger containers: Once the roots of a seedling have hit the side of the container and started curling around the pot, it’s time to transplant to a larger container. Put soil in bottom of larger container, carefully spread apart the roots and place plant in the larger container (twice the size of original container). Fill container with soil and water to settle soil around the roots.
  • Visit Earthfirst.com for more container ideas!
  • Before moving outside: Harden the seedlings off for about a week by taking containers outside and placing in a filtered sun/shade location away from harsh winds during the day. Gradually increase time outdoors.


  • Inside: Generally, tomatoes are started inside 6 — 8 weeks before the average last frost, peppers 8 — 10 weeks, onions 8 — 12 weeks.
  • Outside: Warm season crops, crops that are frost sensitive such as beans, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, squash and watermelons should be sown AFTER the average last day of frost in your geographic region. Cool season crops such as carrots, lettuce, peas, radish, chard and many leafy greens can be sown as early as 8 — 10 weeks before the average last frost for a spring harvest and in late summer for a fall crop (see specific variety information on the front and back of each packet). Most annual flowers are generally sown around the average last frost date even though some can be sown earlier. Perennial flower seed Flower seed can vary from 4 — 12 weeks before the average last frost depending on the variety. For specific variety in can be sown almost anytime – early spring through late summer – as long as they have enough time to germinate and get a root system established. Even a late fall sowing works – seeds stay in the ground dormant until conditions in early spring permit the seeds to germinate.


  • Your knowledge of the average last day of frost in your region is crucial when planting a garden. To find out your last day of frost, call your county Cooperative Extension Service. Also inquire about the average date of the first fall frost.


  • GMO: (Genetically Modified Organism) Botanical Interests does not carry genetically modified varieties. Genetically modified varieties have had their DNA scientifically altered to make them more pest, disease, or chemical resistant. GMO seeds are controversial because no one is sure of their long term effects on the environment and humans.
  • Hybrid: A variety created by crossing two separate varieties to achieve desirable characteristics. A hybrid tomato, for example, may have been created to have excellent disease resistance, produce uniform, prolific fruit, or have superior flavor. If you save the seeds from a hybrid, though, the resulting fruit next year may revert back to the characteristics of one of its parents.
  • Open-pollinated: Varieties that are pollinated naturally by wind or insects without human intervention. Saved seed will be true to the original variety.
  • Heirloom: An open-pollinated seed variety that has been passed down through the generations for at least 50 years.
  • Organic: Organic refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. Organic seed, much like organic food production, is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic pesticides and inorganic fertilizers. This ecological management system promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. Botanical Interests’ organic seed is “Certified Organic” which means that our seed and our packaging facility have been inspected and meet strict standards set forth by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).


  • A perennial is a variety that regrows from the root system every year. The advantage of a perennial is that it doesn’t need to be replanted every year; a disadvantage is that perennials have a shorter bloom period than most annuals. When choosing perennials for your garden, mix varieties with different bloom periods so that you have color in your garden over a longer period of time. Annuals do not regrow from their roots every year. However, they may produce seed that will germinate and regrow the following year. There is no guarantee that those plants will be identical to the original plants. Annuals usually bloom for a longer time period than perennials – in many cases, they bloom most of the growing season (spring to late fall).


  • Seed Germination Problems: Botanical Interests, Inc. seeds are extremely high quality. Seeds may not sprout if a) unusually cool or wet weather occurs, b) if planted too early when soil temperatures haven’t warmed up sufficiently, c) if seeds are not sown at the recommended depths and/or d) if seeds are not kept consistently moist. Extensive sowing information is included on the inside of the seed packet!
  • Soil: Don’t over fertilize your vegetable garden. Excess nitrogen can sometimes cause excessive foliage growth and few flowers or vegetables. Usually adding ample organic material to your garden soil at season’s end will supply sufficient nutrients.
  • Diseases: Many plant diseases can be prevented by starting with high quality seeds and good gardening practices such as rotating your crops to different locations within your vegetable garden and cleaning your gardening tools regularly with a 10% bleach/water solution.
  • Pests: Old-fashioned, low tech, and chemical free options should always be the first line of defense against insects and are usually effective. Contact your local County Extension Agent for specific solutions to specific problems. More information is also available in books and on the web.
  • Sunlight: Vegetable plants and most flowers CRAVE sunlight. Without enough of it, they get leggy and don’t produce vegetables or flowers. Most vegetables need AT LEAST 8 — 10 hours of DIRECT (not shade) sunlight. Some root crops (carrots, beets) and leaf crops (lettuce, kale) can manage with 6 hours of direct sun. See flower packets for individual recommendations.
  • Weeds: Weeds compete with seedlings and desirable plants for water, light, and nutrients. They can also harbor harmful insects and disease. Keep flower & vegetable beds weeded all season, particularly during initial seedling emergence. To identify WHICH emerging seedlings are from the seed you have sown, see the seedling drawing on the inside of the packet (back of the plant tag). Mulch: Mulch is a layer of almost anything – grass clipping, leaves, artificial materials such as landscape fabric – which is placed on the surface of the soil to keep soil moisture in and prevent weeds from coming up. Mulch should be applied thickly enough, several inches if possible, to keep weed seedlings from emerging. Some perennial weeds will still make it through the mulch, but because the soil below is moist (because of the protective layer of mulch), these weeds will be easier to pull.

We would like to hear your favorite gardening tips!

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