May 272014

Ohio buckeye collage

Thanks to the squirrels in our yard, there are an abundance of tree sprouts appearing in the garden and flower beds every Spring.  While this can be annoying, it does give an opportunity to view the intriguing process of a plant coming from a seed.  All the information needed to produce a plant is contained in each seed.  Even the smallest of seeds contain all the cells needed to produce the desired plant.

As you an see, the top of the plant does not come out of the top of the seed while the roots come out of the bottom, though that is often how I imagine it.  Instead, the seed sprouted and from there the appropriate cells began to do what they were programmed to do.

Some plants are sensitive to gravity,Gravitropism, with their roots going down and their tops going up.  No matter which way you plant them, the appropriate parts will grow either towards or away from gravity.

Other plants are sensitive to light, Phototropism, with their tops growing towards the light.  These plants will grow towards the greatest source of light, even if it is to the side rather than up.

This post was part of:

Prudent Living on the Homefront
Apr 162013

Here are some photos of my garden so far this year.  It is just beginning here in my area.  Actually, most people haven’t started their’s, but some have tilled up their gardens.  Our last frost date was supposed till this week so I’m actually a bit ahead of the game this year.  I’m hoping we don’t have any late season winter storms.

dwarf blueberry bush in container


Above is the semi-dwarf Northland blueberry bush I ordered this year.  It is supposed to be self pollinating, so we’ll see what happens.  Blueberry bushes take a few years before they start producing.  I feel as if I know very little about blueberry bushes, though I have read a few books lately. I actually don’t know of anyone who grows a blueberry bush.  They just didn’t grow in the areas I have lived before.  I tried to make the soil mix acidic, as blueberry bushes like a pH of around 5- 5.5.  I was thinking of getting 2, one for each side of the shed door.  However, I had already ordered two blackberry bushes and 25 strawberry plants.  The frugal part of me just could’t convince the gardener in me that we had to have two blueberry bushes this year.

strawberry plants newly planted in raised garden beds


The spacing for the strawberry plants was supposed to be 3 plants for every 2 feet.  These boxes are about 4’4″.  I decided to have each box contain 12 plants, making each row within each box have 6 plants.  (The picture above shows both boxes aligned together.  I pulled back the new wood mulch, planted each plant, then covered the ground between the plants with mulch.

Side note:  the soil in these beds were still moist from several days earlier.  The one behind m back has the same soil except there is no mulch.  The soil there is already starting to dry out.  

tomato seedlings


These are my tomato seedlings in my basement.  I was worried about them at first, but they are doing okay.  Not great, but okay.

tomato seedlings side view

Here is a picture of some of the plants from the side.

tomato seedlings side view 2



bean and vegetable seedlings

Though I have mainly tomatoes started, there are also a few other ones planted. The taller plants are beans.  The cilantro hasn’t appeared.  The zucchini is starting to make an appearance.  The garden spot for zucchini is ready and waiting.  I may have to sow cilantro seeds directly into the location I want them.
new seedlings 2


Besides two squares of lettuce seed being planted that is where I am so far.  I’m hoping another week or two will find these seedlings looking a lot more sturdy.  Also, I believe my basement is a bit too cold this year for some of the seeds to sprout.

Mar 262013

We had 11 inches of snow Sunday night and though some melted by Monday, there is still a lot of snow out there.  If you were expecting photos of a green garden outside with pretty flowers and tomato plants two or three feet tall, well, I’m sorry to disappoint you.  What I do have are seedlings.  On my kitchen counter.

The seedlings on the left are Roma tomatoes.  The ones on the right are called ‘Mortgage Lifter’, also tomato plants.  Most of the Roma tomatoes came up, all except for two I believe.  One was the victim of an overly curious preschooler.  I’ve had more trouble with the ‘Mortgage Lifter’, which produces a larger tomato.  I believe the reason for not all of the seeds sprouting is the cooler temperatures in the house.  I’ve placed these near the stove, but I think it wasn’t enough.  The only reason these are not  under a growing light is that the growing light is on the same circuit as the upstairs bathroom.  The breaker is currently turned off.  I need to use an extension cord to enable the lights to be plugged in.  I think this would help them become less leggy.  I am planning on burying these some when I plant them, so I’m not overly concerned about them being too lean.

How is your garden going?  Is your garden in or are you just starting seeds?  Leave a comment and share a link to a picture if you have one.

May 242012

This was the scene in my basement at the start of March, two and a half months ago.  An abundance of individual soil packs.  No seedlings yet sprouted.  It actually looked vary bare.  Even more so when I turned on the grow lights.

This was the view on my back deck Friday.  Green.  Beautiful green sprouts.


This includes the handful of vegetable and bedding plants that were headed for the street side stand.  They had been transferred into a bit bigger pots a few days earlier and had acclimated well.  There were a few losses, but that was to be expected.  So far this year the survival rate  has been much, much better than years past.  Not quite sure what it is that I did differently.  I was very happy with the results this year though.  Perhaps I’m just getting a better feel for things – the amount of watering, light, when to put outside, etc.

Now for them to survive planting and the heat.  It suddenly got in the 90’s and there has been a lack of rain so far this year.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’m not above knowing when I have been beat and heading to the local hardware store to buy plants.  I think I have enough to outlast that though.  There are over 34 cucumber plants in this mix, for example.  I only need 4.

Apr 262012

I feel as if I have been MIA for a while … that is probably because I have been.

So what has been going on here?  Well, not gardening, that is for sure.

Last week we were on a family vacation.  It took us to a dessert zone out West.  Much different than my Zone 5 and I have some pictures to prove it.

And this week?  Potty training.  I think I prefer last week’s vacation.

It has been a bit rough.  Actually a long 3 days.  So much for “less than a day” for us.  But there are positive signs that it is catching on.  There are some reasons I believe it is taking longer.  Reasons that other probably don’t deal with, which make it harder for us.  Progress is being made, though … I think. The first day we had accidents every half hour or so.  Day two we only had four or five.  Today, only two so far.  The first in the morning when I woke the child up, still tired, and a refusal to use the potty (ready, screaming tantrum due to still being tired) resulted in an accident.  The second one was only because the child didn’t pull down their underwear fast enough while standing in front of the potty.  (That one was more understandable, because sometimes just the site of the potty also makes me have to go even more urgently.)

The fact that I have 1 diaper in the house (plus two or so in the diaper bag) really helps the resolve of not going back.  I had to make that clear on the second morning, “I will not be putting you in diapers or pull-ups.  I have no pull-ups.”  This after the tantrum begging for them.  I think until that moment there was a glimmer of hope in the young mind that I would give in.  By the end of yesterday I was ready to.  I’ve tried to stay positive, but come 7 PM or so I am pretty spent.

Part of my resolve was that I was told TWICE on the plane rides (once out, once coming back) for vacation that this particular child had to go potty.  At first I thought it was an excuse to get up.  It was.  But, it also resulted on said child going potty on the potty.  So, if a kid can do it on the plane, they can do it at home.  Right?

On a greener note, my seedlings are doing well.  I have had a better survival rate than in the past.  They are still a bit puny, but hope to beef them up a bit.  Mainly the tomato plants.  The lamb’s ear look great.  If tomorrow goes as well as today, minus the trip away from home twice and a meeting at the house, I hope to have some lettuce seeds in the garden only a few weeks later than I wanted.  That’s okay.  We went on vacation and I now have a partially potty trained child.

Apr 092012

Previous Goals:


  1. Start some seeds given by a local gardener.  Try to divide them out into similar seeds (they were given all mixed up in a baggie.)
  2. Start cucumber seeds
  3. Purchase tray and lids to place newly started seeds and pellets in.  (This will help with the wasted space by randomly shaped or round containers.)
  4. Mix up dirt and compost in my garden.  (My compost did not get hot enough, so after I added it to the garden little pumpkin or squash plants appeared.  I think I have found a home for them, but it is unknown as to what will actually appear from these plants as I couldn’t tell you exactly what they came from or crossed with previously.  Don’t you just love surprises?  Anyway, these will need to be relocated before said mixing of soil and compost.)
  5. Start some lettuce seeds.


  1. Finish all of Zone 1 work
  2. Finish making the scones/biscotti for the upcoming bridal shower


  1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night (ongoing)
  2. Do my daily Bible reading at least 5 days this week (ongoing)


  1. 2 posts beyond my weekly goals (ongoing)

Well, let’s just say I didn’t do so well last week.  I seem to be saying that a lot lately.  Makes me wonder if I am setting too many goals,  if my goals are too high, or if I’m just not being motivated to do what I need to. Perhaps it is a bit of that last one with a little bit of “setting the wrong goals” mixed in.

So with a few days of Spring Break at the beginning of the week, a bridal shower at the end and another commitment immediately after the bridal shower ends, I feel like this week is a bit compressed.  Being as this week is a bit odd I think I am going to try something different with my goals’ list. I am going to do it by days rather than by areas of my life.

I’m also glad this is an easy zone this week. We just don’t have a lot of things in our living room, so that makes it easy.

New Goals:

Monday – 15 min zone work, make Cranberry-Orange Scones and Heavenly Scones, go to the park

Tuesday– 15 min zone work, make Raisin Scones and Almond Biscotti, shop for bridal shower gift and birthday gifts, get updated insurance quotes

Wednesday – 15 min zone work, make spreads for sandwiches, grocery shop

Thursday – 15 min zone work, prepare for additional commitment

Friday – 15 min zone work, finish whatever needs to be done around the house before the weekend, gather items for bridal shower, move seedlings to kitchen counter for natural sunlight

Daily – quiet time and shower, load of laundry

This list acatually makes me feel more at ease as I can see that it is all doable.

Garden update:

My seedlings are growing great.  They are doing so much better than I thought.  Not sure what I have done differently this year but it seems to be working.

I always worry about my tomato seedlings being too leggy, but then remind myself that I can always bury them further in the ground.  They are one of the few plants that I always do this practice with and which I recommend others do also.  The tomato will grow roots from the stem, so this provides a potentially larger root system for the plant.   Just to make clear, this is not meant to say that you bury the whole plant.  That would kill it.  You just lay down part of it, leaving the majority of the leaves above the ground.  Let me know if you are wanting something more specific.