Friday, March 25, 2011

Plant Starts for Sale!

I had hoped that the banner at the top would be my access to advertising what starts I have available.  Alas, Blogger had a disenting opinion on how I should handle that.  It decreed that thou plants shall be posted in a post!  Without further ado - post haste!

Starts Currently For Sale
(upd 3-26)

3 1/2" pots
Grafted Tomatoes ($4.00) – Cream Sausage, Sunsets Red Horizon, Pittman Plum, Yellow Trifele, Black Cherry, San Marzano Redorta, Amish Gold, Cour di Bue, Persimmon, Azoychka

Standard Tomatoes ($2.00) - Amana Orange, Persimmon, Azoychka, Black Cherry, Stupice, Cour di Bue, Legend, Japanese Black Trifele, Ildi, Gary Ibsen Gold, San Marzano, Amish Gold, Rosalita, Cluj

Hot Peppers ($2.00 unless otherwise indicated)- Bhut Jolokia($4.00), Giant Bhut - Ghost Pepper ($4.00), Jamaican Hot Chocolate Habanero, Spicy Mustard Habanero, Inferno Hybrid, Yellow/Orange Manzano, Aji Amarillo, Alma Paprika, Ancho-San Luis, Kung Pao

Sweet Peppers ($2.00) Red Beauty(red bell), Queen (yellow bell), Flexum (specialty sweet pepper)

Catnip ($1.50)

2 1/2" pots -
Cilantro ($1.00)
Onions ($1.00) (between 18-30 onion starts per pot) Walla Walla, Yellow of Parma, Pacific Pearl, Red Globe, Red Bull, Red of Florence

Black Cherry, Early Wonder, Cour di Bue, Sunsets Red Horizon, Black Krim, Stupice, Manitoba, Cream Sausage

Artichokes($1.50) – Imperial Star
Peppers($1.50) – Orange Manzano

Gallon pots
Tomatoes ($3.00) Homer Fike’s Yellow Oxheart

4-Packs ($1.50 each)
Brassicas - Roodnerf Brussel Sprouts, Charmant Cabbage, Golden Acre Cabbage, Early Snowball Cauliflower, Green Calabrese Broccoli
Swiss Chard - Bright Lights
Romaine - Jericho, Outredgeous, Parris Island, Red Deer Tongue

Leaf Lettuce - Mixed Heirloom blend
Celery - Utah 52-70

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Braving the Unknown (to me)

Well, I broke down.  I'm now a Facebook member.  You can find me at Winona Farms Plants.  After years of resistance, I caved, but only in pursuit of selling plants.  I'm not sure how facebook will help me do that, as I'm not really trying to find my plants a quick hook-up or their long-lost classmates, but I'm sure the Social Network will eventually show me the light.

I'm happy to report that the greenhouse modifications have improved the climate inside quite profoundly.  By digging out some dirt so that it wasn't on blocks - thereby eliminating the cold under-draft - has brought the temperature up 7-8 degrees above the outside temp.  This is a huge boost because it has dipped down into the mid 30's a few times the past week.  Yet, the greenhouse hasn't gotten below 43 all week - my tomatoes and peppers are loving that extra bit of protection.  Combined with a small fan I always have on, the plants are quite happy in the humid environment (between 75-95% all the time.)

There are still a few gaps on the bottom I'll fill in with some dirt this weekend.  That may add another degree or two.  Also, I have the cords for the lights and the fan going in thru the door, which leaves a slight gap at that corner that cool air can come in.  I think I can re-route those undeneath the frame and improve the overnight temperature even more. 

All in all, I'm quite please with how the structure has performed.  For just randomly trying something that I wasn't sure would work, it's been a blessing.  Last year, I was constantly bringing tray upon tray of starts up the stairs in the morning and then back down at night.  Having a protected place to keep them outside makes my knees and feet so much happier.  I just need two more of them. 

Why two more?  Have I told you that I'm a serial seed buyer?  Yes?  Well, I plant a lot of seeds as well.  And now - LOTS OF PLANTS!  I'm updating the current plants at top.  These are all hardened off and they are ready to find purchase in some good gardening soil.  Won't you give them a home?  Email me if you are interested!

Oh, and pay a visit to my facebook page...leave a funny comment on my wall, as the kids are wont to do.  If you make me LOL, I'll give you a free grafted tomato!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Do You Feel Lucky?

As I've stated in the past, I'm serial seed buyer.  I need a good 12-step program just to walk past a seed rack without picking out a few packages.  I think getting something to sprout for me (you sprouted for me!?  Lowly ol' me!?) is what a gambler must feel like when he (or she?) gets on a roll. 

A few weeks ago, I began my mass pepper plantings.  Normally, I seed between 12-18 seeds per variety.  I hope for (and am getting) about 75% germination, which gives me 9-15 plants with which to plant and/or sell.  One of the varieties I seeded was Early Jalapeno.  It's basic, but beloved by many.  I thought I would start a few more than normal, and I put 29 seeds into a flat. 

I should also note that I'm a stats freak.  I love Excel, and I've designed a highly nuanced spreadsheet that tracks my germination rates of each pepper by each day for the first 3 weeks.  I know that in my current setup, I cross the 50% germination threshold on day 9 from seeding. 

For the Early Jalapenos on Day 9, I was already at 91%!  It's named Early Jalapeno for a reason; still, that 27 of the 29 had already sprouted was far above expectations.  Having destroyed the average already, the only question would be:  Will it get to 100% germination?

I didn't have to wait long, as it was just the next day - Day 10 - where I got to the vaunted 100%.  I did have to count them a couple times just to make sure - that's a lot of seedlings in a 2" x 3" space.  This was confirmed when I 'celled' them over the weekend.

Seven 4-packs and one I put into a 2" pot makes 29. I want to see if I can get 50 out of 50 to germinate. 

Anyone got the number to planters anonymous?

Enjoy the sun, folks!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Break!

Those were the days...well, actually, I never did the prototypical college spring break vacation.  I usually went back home to visit the family.  They are nice and all, but something tells me I missed a few things at Lake Havasu or Fort Lauderdale or whatever the new hotspot is these days.  I suppose I'll get over it eventually.  In fact, a wee bit of sun would make things quite merry here in the rose city. 

My 'greenhouse' is slowly coming to completion.  I've hung some rope lights to generate heat and plants have been out there for the past week.  There are some design flaws, but that is to be expected when I was just throwing things at the wall.  Here is what it looks right now.

It's sitting up on blocks, which allows quite a draft to venture in from the bottom.  I was hoping it would stay a bit warmer inside, but right now, it's only 3-4 degrees above the outside temperature.  I think if I were to dig down so that it rests on the ground would help retain the heat.  That's my project for this weekend.  Well, that and potting up peppers and tomatoes.  Lots and lots of them jumping right out of the flats.

I still have some veggie starts for sale.  Red & green romaine, swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cilantro, catnip, onions (many types), and a few tomatoes.  Let me know what you are interested in and I'll hold them for you.

It's been a long week, as we've been nursing one of our chickens back from the brink.  She, somehow, swallowed a pointy triangular piece of metal at some point in the past couple weeks.  It left a pretty good mark going down into her gizzard, lacerating the esophegeal tube and puncturing the walls of the stomach.  The x-ray is something to behold.  We are trying to get a copy of it.  It's freaky looking.  At any rate, she's been in and out of the avian doctor's office the past week.  It does appear that she has turned a corner and is going to make it. 

After loosing another bird to a hawk a few weeks ago, we are having some bad chicken luck as of late.  I suppose that some chicken owners would probably say that's the price of admission.  However, these are our first birds.  They are more pets than anything else and we are attached to them - rightly or wrongly.  I suppose the next round of chickens we'll get, we'll have a more 'relaxed' attachment to them.  But not the first ones...those are first loves.

Time to get some sleep - hope your weekends are a splendid one.  And if you do find yourself in Lake Havasu, try not to laugh too maniacally when you think about all the poor saps trying to stay dry here in Portlandia.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Tired Eyes!

It's been quite a weekend.  I am nearly finished building my little greenhouse/cold frame for my plants.  The rain held off for a couple hours on Sunday so I grabbed it while the getting was good.  I'm excited to be using that instead of a porting plants up and down the stairs continuously.  I'll post a picture of it in the next day or two. 

We had a chicken get sick over the weekend as well.  As they are more pets than farm animals, she was immediately brought to the avian doctor.  Though my dad laughs at all the money we put into those birds, they did give my wife and I a great deal of enjoyment.  You can't put a price on that, but I suspect he understands that as well.

I got to spend the early part of Sunday with Dean Simpson, the man behind Wildcat Mountain farms.  He's been incredibly generous with his knowledge and expertise and has done nothing but to encourage this obsession of mine.  His operation up near Sandy leaves me drooling.  An enormous seed room, hot house, poly tunnel, and a covered nursery all combine for a rigorous start of a seedlings life.  Of course, it didn't happen overnight, so perhaps in 10-15 years, I'll have something like that as well.  I only hope that the mountain of knowledge Dean possesses comes with it.  If you want to check out his plants, you can find them at Peoples Coop (3029 SE 21st Ave) or the Urban Farm Store (2100 SE Belmont).  He's has a great selection and has outstanding stock.

I've still got some veggie starts available.  Feel free to contact me for anything you see at the top of the page -

It's time to wrap this weekend up.  Let's do this FEZ style - I bid you GOOD DAY! 


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Grafting Tomatoes

After a few rounds of practice, I think I've gotten the hang of tomato grafting.  I'm lucky in that they are remarkable resilient plants and no matter what amount of tomato blood I spill, they seem to battle back to become stronger.
Cour Di Bue Single Graft
Cour di Bue/Yellow Brandywine Double Graft
These poor plants couldn't have looked worse.  I thought for sure that the two double grafts I did would fail, and the single grafts weren't much better.  These pictures are about 2 weeks old, and they're hardly recognizable to what they look like now.

It's amazing, really, to see the improvement.  All that growth happened over the past 7 days, as the previous 7 were spent inside a healing chamber as the graft began to take hold. They are quite the amazing plant.

So, now that I'm one small step above a greenhorn tomato grafter, what varieties would you want to see on a single plant?  Here are a couple of my initial thoughts on the varieties I will be growing this year.
First off, the obvious ones:
1) Yellow Trifele/Japanese Black Trifele
2) Amish Gold/San Marzano Redorta
3) Yellow Brandywine/Vintage(striped brandywine)
4) Ildi/Black Cherry/Rosalita/Cluj (various cherry combos)

But, what about the most shocking pairs?
1) Black Krim/Homer Fikes Oxheart
2) Yellow Brandy/Black Cherry
3) Marvel/Cream Sausage

What do you guys think?  How crazy can you get?  What combos make your mouth water?


Friday, March 4, 2011

3-4 Craigslist Ad

First ad of the year!

Veggie Starts For Sale

In other news, it was a busy day for me.  Potted up all my habanero-type peppers (Bhut, Ghost, Jamaican Hot Chocoloate, Spicy Mustard, Aji Amarillo) into rose pots.  Also involved were some Orange and Yellow Manzano peppers and a few tomatoes.  Good times!

So what is the weather going to do this weekend?  I'm hanging some netting for our chickens to free-range under.  It would be really nice to have a dry spell to do that in.  We'll see.

Take care - enjoy the weekend.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

More New Stuff!

I put together some PDF documents (on top, to the right) of things I'm currently growing or will have in stock shortly.  Hopefully the print isn't too small to read.  Perhaps with a purchase of 10 plants, I will give away a free magnifying glass...for next years ordering ease!

Forty-four varieties of chili peppers, fourteen varieties of sweet peppers, thirty-four varieties of tomatoes, and eleven types of basil will keep me plenty busy this spring and summer.  Perhaps one or more varieties will spark your interest as well.  Although my focus is tomatoes and peppers, don't forget the onions, greens, and other miscellaneous items like eggplants, tomatillos, and sweet huckleberries in the accompanying lists.  All kinds of fun stuff to be had.

You will also see an 'Order Sheet' as well.  I'm a bit ahead of myself, as I don't have the capability to do online orders.  Not yet, anyway.  However, you may find it handy to print out and mark down which varieties that interest you and then email me your list.  I'm happy to put plants on reserve.

Pricing is pretty simple.  $2 for each plant for the first 10 plants.  Everything after is $1.50 each.  Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc, all come as one plant.  I do have 4-packs of lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc that I'm treating as 'one plant'.  $2 for the 4-pack for the first 10, $1.50 for each on after.

There might be some variance on that for special items, like onion bunches, but this will be the general pricing guide.  Feel free to email me with any questions (

I'll post pictures on a picasa site shortly of examples of what the plants look like.

One last thing, I'll create a banner at the top of the blog that states what I currently have in stock.  My goal is to keep that as current as possible, perhaps even with specific varieties available.

Thanks for coming by.  Hope to see you in person sometime this spring!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Links to the Starboard

I'm slowly working this website into shape.  Something akin to The Biggest Loser...except backwards.  They are trying to shed the weight, I'm looking to pack as much into this virtual space as possible.  It may be a muffin-top, but at least it will be organic.

I've put together a couple lists to your right.  The first of which is the seed companies that I've ordered from (or bought in a store.)  Some I use much more frequently than others.  For instance, most of my tomato seeds came from, and most of my pepper seeds came from Trade Winds Fruits.  I also like Territorial quite a bit, since they specialize in our maritime climate.  Johnny's Select Seeds was a recent find, and I've come to like them quite a bit.  They are the ones that sold me the rootsock seeds and clips for grafting tomatoes.  The rest of the them fill in needs here and there - which really means, that I'm a serial buyer of seeds and it takes minor miracle to walk by a seed rack and not pick out a couple packets of potential goodies.

The other list is a bunch of links I find myself using frequently.  Guides, databases, and helpful knowledge about gardening in general.  I'll continue to update these lists as my late-night googling will surely turnup some other good pieces of info that I want to pass on.

Until next time - be one with the rain...