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Are you ready to plant???

We have been waiting so eagerly to put our hands in the soil and grow…whether you started your plants from seed 😉 , purchased them from an Alaskan farm, garden center, Master Gardener plant sale or the Palmer FFA – plants need to be hardened off to your landscape prior to being transplanting.

What does this mean and why? For those plants grown indoors under lights or glazing (greenhouse coverings) they have enjoyed a lot of cotteling. Including but not limited too: constant consistent temperatures, timely watering, frequent feedings, reduced UV light exposure, minimal wind, limited pest pressure and lack of exposure to the soil ecosystem.

All of these protective measure have grown strong healthy plants but can they withstand the forces of nature on your landscape? If we take our juvenile plants and place them directly into the outdoor environment without a hardening off period, there may be some rather shocking impacts.

Suddenly plants that have adapted to a protective environment are now subjected to fierce drying winds, massive fluctuations in temperature, intense UV exposure, “pest” pressure and cooler soil temperatures. A period of gradual transition to their new home will allow for adaptation to occur so that they may thrive in nature.

Excluding the warm loving plants that may suffer tissue damage below 45F (tomatoes, peppers, squash, pumpkins, corn, dahlias, sunflowers, zinnias and others) many cultivated varieties can handle cooler temperatures. What they cannot handle is direct and immediate exposure to UV rays. Sunburn and sunscald are the most common concerns that will come up during this time of year.

Taking a broad focus to include as many plants as possible:

In a protective location out of the wind and direct light- away from pets, littles and wild animals

Start hardening off with time: setting plants out plants each day for a period of time (start with one hour and increase every day over a 10 day period)

Use directional hardening off: start in the North, move to the East, then to the West and finally the South

Increase watering and fertility: we want to give our plants the best chance at survival and the capacity to fend off “pests” and disease. Restricting food and water (although are adaptations in the wild) decreases a plants health and vitality. We are growing in managed ecologies with a goal of food production…our actions should reflect that.

Once your plants are in their new homes you may find that they are not looking so well. This is a period of adjustment as plants are taken from the current vessel that lacks all the biodiversity that living soil has to offer. Once transplanted, new relationships within the soil will begin to form with millions of microorganisms, fungi, bacteria, nematodes and protozoa. Your plant is now the new kid at school and it will take time for the root system to become part of an even bigger system. Help your plants through this phase with light feedings, warm water, staking and of course wind protection.

Once our trees fully leaf, the temperatures are consistently in the 60Fs and soil temperatures are above 50F…we will begin to see a massive influx of insects who are hungry! Will your plants be strong and healthy enough to fend off this initial pressure? They will because you have hardened them off 🙂

 

 

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Farmhouse Kitchen Recipe: Daily Bread

8 ingredients

From the farm
  • 1 Egg yolk
Yeasts and Salts
  • 1 1/2 tbsp 2 packages active dry yeast or (if you use bulk yeast
  • 6 cups All-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 4 tbsp Sugar
Fats
  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
Water
  • 110F  Degree 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp Water
    1. In your mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add 1 tablespoon sugar; let stand for 5 minutes until it becomes bubbly/foamy. Add the oil, salt, remaining warm water and sugar and 4 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

    2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place back into bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
    3. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 8 pieces or two large pieces for bread
    4. Shape each into a ball and than flatten just a bit to spread out a little. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets.
    5. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Beat egg yolk and a splash of cold water; brush over rolls with a pastry brush.
    6. With a sharp knife (I like non stick knives), cut a 1/4-in.-deep cross on tops of rolls
    7. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to wire racks to cool.
    Recipe Notes

    After brushing bread with yolk (I prefer yolk for the golden hue it gives the bread), I sprinkle artisan cheese, roasted sesame seeds or cayenne pepper before baking.

    Store in a covered container for up to 1 week or in the refrigerator for 10 days.

    I originally found the basic roll recipe on Pinterest

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To soak or not to soak…that is the question (?)

The ecological relationship between seed and soil is like a symphony; there are natural cues that promote germination.

One of the major cues is moisture level! When the conditions are right, the seed will follow its own instinct and begin to swell. Once the seed coat is soft and moist the new seedling erupts into life.

The germination time for seeds varies greatly depending on the species. Some seeds can take years for germination (peonies) and others germinate in less than three days (cabbage family). We can use a mechanical force to speed the germination time (soaking).

Large seeds with hard coats (sunflowers, honeywort, peas, beans, corn and sweet peas) will appreciate a longer soaking- up to 24 hours.

Larger seeds with softer coats such as pumpkins, squash, chard, beets, nasturtium and cucumber are perfect to soak overnight.

Small seeds like lettuce, radish, carrots and tomatoes can become mushy and sticky if soaked too long (15-30 min) is appropriate.

Find a shallow bowl, place your seeds and top with water. Set away from pets, kids and spouses out of direct sunlight and in a warm location. Warm water is best but any water will do (what would nature do).

Once seeds have soaked and swelled…it is time to plant! Follow your seed packet guidelines for planting depth or reference our write up: https://seedsandsoilorganics.com/…/seed-starting-simply/

When in doubt…ask the question: What would nature do?

Alaska Sown-Alaska Grown

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What seeds are we starting this week

Chives!

One of my favorite “stacking” plants…chives have so many functions within the garden ecology and they are one of the easiest plants to grow with a little attention.

A hardy herbaceous perennial (zone 3 to 11) that serves as an edible perennial, pollinator attractor, biocontrol, cut flower, edible flower, self seeding plant that can be divided in the fall every 2-3 years. I don’t think it get much better than that.

We intensively plant chives around our Apple trees to outcompete the grass but to also attract pollinators and beneficial insects.

Start in flats or cell packs. Sow 1/4″ deep with germination occurring within 10-14 days. Once chives reach about 5″ in height, give them a nice trim to 2″.

Don’t forget to feed them every 3 weeks while growing indoors.

Yes! We do have seeds available: https://seedsandsoilorganics.com/product-category/shop-seeds/

Happy Growing!

Alaska sown-Alaska grown