Friday, February 11, 2011

Cheapskate plant markers

Every spring I start several flats of vege and flower seeds.  Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, etc.  Each of the seedlings needs to be labeled with a plant marker, in order to tell which is which come planting time.  Most people use wooden Popsicle stick-like things, sold in gardening catalogs, to identify their plants.  A couple of years ago I decided I didn't want to spend five bucks for a dozen Popsicle sticks, and devised a cheapskate alternative.  Interested?  Want to learn more?  Thought not.  Too bad!  Here goes!

Take a plastic gallon milk jug.  Empty, of course.

Cut off the curved base.

Cut off the curved top and the two sides adjacent to the handle  You just want the two flat, smooth sides.

If you want 3" markers, cut the flat sides in half.  If you want 6" markers, leave them at their full height.  I cut mine in half, width-wise.

Now cut the bands into 1" wide strips.  You can cut them into triangles or rectangles depending on your preference.

A Sharpie works well for writing on the plastic.  One gallon jug will make about thirty 3" markers.

See, that wasn't so hard!  Easy peasey, lemon squeezey!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Scratching the itch

Germination testing.  So far, so good.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chokecherry jelly

This batch turned out remarkably well.  Sweet, but with plenty of chokecherry flavor.  I picked the berries last summer and froze them, figuring that I would have more time during the winter for jam-making.  I did that with a lot of fruit, actually.  I've still got several gallons of gooseberries, blueberries, strawberries and mulberries to turn into something tasty.  And I'm running out of time -- we're getting another quarter beef in a few weeks and freezer space is at a premium.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Secret stash

I found a secret stash of basil flower stalks.  I had put them in a paper bag at the end of the summer, and then set the bag aside to dry.  The bag was moved somewhere else and I lost track of it until yesterday. 

To harvest the seed, I crumble the dry seed pods in my fingers and let it all fall into a bowl.  I'm still working on this part--I've got a lot of basil.  Next I will try to winnow the seeds from the chaff, perhaps by using a fan.  The seeds are pretty light, so I'm not sure if that will work.  If it doesn't, I will save the seeds and chaff together and just pick out the seeds as I need them.

I've also started my mid-winter germination testing.  Just playing with all these seeds has got my hands itching for dirt.

Dear Winter,

We have enough snow.


Benjamin, orange kitten and the hubby