In the Garden
This week's project: Plant tomato seeds
Garden writer Ciscoe Morris says this is the week to plant tomato seeds indoors. If you lack garden space, Morris suggests using containers on your desk as vegetable gardens. Blueberries make colorful garden plants.
Special to The Seattle Times
Sow your tomato seeds indoors this week and they should be ready to plant outdoors by Mother's Day. You can find everything you need to grow your own tomatoes at nurseries and garden centers.
Sow the seeds soil about ¼-inch deep in nursery flats filled with seed-starter. Moisten the seeding medium and then cover the flat with a plastic dome. Place the flat on a heat mat to keep the soil between 75 and 90 degrees, and put a fluorescent grow light (don't make substitutions) within 2 inches of the top of the dome.
When the majority of the seedlings emerge, remove the dome. As soon as the second set of leaves form, transplant the seedlings into 4-inch pots by digging them out with an old fork or spoon, while holding the seedlings by a leaf.
Keep the transplants in cool conditions (60-65 degrees) under a grow light or in as bright light as possible. Water to keep the soil evenly moist and fertilize weekly with a soluble fertilizer (diluted to ¼ strength).
Place the starts outdoors on mild days for seven to 10 days leaving them out later each night to harden them off before planting in the garden.
Try not to drool on the starts in anticipation of the delicious tomatoes you'll be eating right out of your garden by mid-July.
Even if you live in a condo or an apartment, as long as you've got a sunny deck you can grow most any kind of vegetable in a pot. The key is to use a pot about the size of a whiskey barrel with plenty of drainage holes. Before you plant, mix a cup of organic vegetable food and a handful of bone meal into the potting soil. Water as needed to keep the soil evenly moist.
If you plant root crops such as carrots or radishes, cover the pot with row-crop cover (available at nurseries and garden centers) to protect your crop from root maggots. Finally, even if you don't have a spot that gets sunshine all day long, as long as you get some sun, don't give up.
Visit your local garden center or nursery and buy a coaster specially made for large pots and put your vegetable container on it. Then whenever you're home, keep moving the pot to wherever the sun happens to be shining at that time. You won't only get healthy eating all of those home grown veggies, you'll also get fit as a fiddle from pushing the pot as you chase the sunshine!
Blueberry plants have a lot to offer
Blueberries not only produce delicious healthy fruit, they're also extremely attractive garden plants. The spring leaves emerge a beautiful shade of bronze and are soon followed by charming white bell-shaped flowers. In summer the berries are highly ornamental, and in autumn the leaves turn fiery fall colors.
Blueberry shrubs even sport bright yellow or red branches that brighten up the winter landscape. Blueberries are self-fertile, but they produce better with cross-pollination, so plant two varieties in one hole for bigger fruit.
Peat moss is the magic ingredient when it comes to growing healthy blueberries. Add lots to the soil when planting. Plant your blueberry where it will get lots of sun, give it adequate water, and feed with a shot of organic rhododendron food every April. Then start collecting blueberry recipes because you'll get lots of practice cooking with them.
Blueberry bushes often remain productive for more than 100 years.
Ciscoe Morris: email@example.com.
About In the Garden
Ciscoe Morris' column runs Thursdays. His show "Gardening with Ciscoe" airs at 10 a.m. on Saturdays on King 5.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.