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The strangest posts wind up causing some controversy. It doesn’t make sense to me. When I wrote about why having an emergency seed bank is important, I didn’t quite get the reaction that I’d expect. I received emails, Facebook comments and Tweets saying that I couldn’t be more wrong about storing the seeds and that freezing them was a horrible...

Some believe that one of the best investments to currently make is in an emergency seed bank. With everything that is going on with the global economy and food system, it’s hard to argue. What would happen if our food supply was cut-off? or the price of food sky rockets too high? Yes, it is important to have the canned goods and non-perishables, but what happens when they run out and the supermarket shelves are dry? That’s where having an emergency seed bank helps out. I’m not getting all sensationalistic and saying it’s...

There is a parsley plant on my balcony garden that has been going to seed for a few weeks now. The seeds have finally developed. They emerged in about 3-4 stages, which are difficult to explain, but the the picture about clearly shows what the seeds look like. You just have to carefully pull them. What is your favorite way to use parsley? ...

The first thing you want to make sure before you plant anything in your garden is that you’re growing heirloom or non-hybrid seeds/transplants.  This is really important when it comes to saving your seeds.  With heirloom or non-hybrid varieties you’ll be able to successfully save the seeds from the plant. With hybrid seeds you won’t.   What’s...

It hasn’t been a great week for my balcony garden. First the oak green leaf container was infested with little black eggs that I later learned was cabbage worm crap. Now my tomato seeds that were doing so well have all died. I had each of them planted in a plastic strawberry container. Last weekend I went away from Friday to Sunday. When I left on Friday morning, the seeds were doing well. Three of the four seed starter pots were about 2-3 inches and had some leaves. Before leaving, I watered them and decided to leave them outside....

Yes it might sound obvious, but when you start your seeds make sure that you have a container to transplant them into. I didn’t and had a tray of dead seedlings. This could very well be one of the biggest gardening mistakes that I’ve made. Last week the seedlings were slanting a bit. This week they are all dead. A few of the pots were popped open and the roots appeared to be a bit compact causing their demise. The toilet paper roll seed starter pots are so shallow and don’t allow for much root expansion. There is about...

Posted on May 19 2010 - 3:41am by Mike Lieberman
#17

It’s been a little over a week since I started the experiment with planting the same set of seeds indoors and outdoors to see which would do better. There were two sets of four different kinds of seeds that were planted in toilet paper roll seed starter pots. They were leaf lettuce, basil, sunflowers and calendula. At this point, the seeds that were started indoors are performing a million times better. A million times in the sense that they’ve actually sprouted as opposed to the ones outdoors that have nothing to show. The...

After you are done with your coconut, hollow it out out and use it to plant vegetables with shallow roots in them such as lettuces and other greens. Much like the toilet paper roll seed starter pots, these are the great price of free. What you’ll need to get your coconut shell container made: Coconut shell Potting mix Seeds Spray bottle filled with water Drill with 1/4″ bit How to make a coconut shell container: Drill 2-3holes in the bottom of the shell. Drill from the inside of the shell. Fill up with potting mix. ...

Now that I have some seeds directly sown and another seed experiment going on, I am trying to figure out which tomato seeds to start for my balcony garden. I have 7 packets that I received for free from WinterSown.org. You just need to fill out the form, send them a SASE and they’ll send you free seeds. Nice. I learned on my fire escape that just because they are cherry tomatoes doesn’t mean it’s going to be a small plant. I don’t want to have a tomato tree on the balcony, but would like to grow some tomatoes. A...

Posted on May 10 2010 - 3:32am by Mike Lieberman
#9

Last week I direct sowed carrots and mesclun lettuce into containers on my balcony garden. I’m not seeing anything coming up on them yet. This week, I’m experimenting with starting seeds indoors and outdoors to see which light works better. I don’t have any self-watering containers to direct sow into, but I have seeds. So why not get some started? For this test, I’m starting a leaf lettuce blend, basil and also some of the flower seeds that I’m going to grow – sunflower and calendula. I made seed starter...

Two more self-watering containers were made and put out on the balcony garden. I started seeds in each of them. After some discussion about if it was better to start seeds indoors or by direct sowing, I decided it was best to start the carrot and mesclun seeds by directly planting them into the containers. When I started to plant the carrot seeds, I noticed that the package said, “Packaged for 2009.” It’s now mid 2010. I still planted the seeds and will see what happens. The mesclun seeds were dated for 2010, so I’m...

Now that I have my LA balcony garden started, I want to work on starting some seeds. There are about 12 packets or so that I’d like to get started of lettuces, kale, beets, carrots, tomatoes and some herbs. Since the weather is warm here in LA, I’m wondering whether it will be better to direct sow the seeds into the containers or to still start them indoors? I have accumulated toilet paper rolls, newspaper, plastic strawberry containers and some other things to use to start seeds indoors. The past few nights it’s reached...

The final question that I have before starting my vegetable seeds is do they require direct sunlight? Can they get by with indirect sunlight? I could easily put them out on my window garden. It gets a few hours of indirect sunlight a day, but no direct sunlight. The fire escape is an option as well, but having to get into and out of it everyday would be a pain since it’s in my roommate’s room. I’d have go through his room to set them out each morning, then bring them in each night. My preference would be to avoid that. I’ll...

An easy way to start your seeds indoors is to use toilet paper or paper towel rolls. There are two advantages of using toilet paper rolls. The first is that they are free. It’s likely that you already have both items available in your apartment. Ain’t no better price than free. The other is that that they can be put directly into the soil when transplanted because the cardboard will biodegrade into the soil. What you’ll need to get your toilet paper roll seed starters made: Toilet paper or paper towel roll Razor Scissors Duct...

Truthfully a lot of that last frost and zoning information is a bit over my head. So I had to look it up quickly. According to the book Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers, New York City is in Zone 7 and the last frost date is sometime in mid-April. The map and legend were hard to decipher. In the video, I erroneously say Zone 8 and mid-May. Genius idea to color code a map and put similar colors side by side. I also checked out a bunch of sites online and the only one that was somewhat coherent was the What to Plant Now...