Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me

Spring may be coming after all
      This past Thursday was my birthday.  Daughter Barb and family visited yesterday and brought this beautiful present from them and from daughter Emily and family.  What a great way to chase away the winter grays.  Thank you all.
      It has been a long and dreary winter, and I have not even started seeds.  I hope this present will get me jump started.  If I clear out the failed cold frames, I can put these cool weather crops out now.  Be picking salad greens shortly.
      Thanks Barb and Em.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Kale Sprouts

      About two weeks ago was the first time I had heard about and read about kale sprouts, also known as Kalettes.  Developed by the English seed company, Tozer Seeds, Kalettes are a true breeding cross between red kale and brussel sprouts.  The plant grows tall like brussel sprouts, but instead of sprouts on the stems, there are miniature edible kale plants.
       Now I was interested.  The problem is that Johnnies Seeds is the only American source for the seeds, and being new, the seeds are $10.95 for a packet of 40 seeds.  Naw, for a cole crop?  Yep, I just looked at Johnnies.  Boo, hiss.
       During my internet search, I saw that Trader Joe's carries the kale sprouts, and a visit to my local store got me this for $3.50 for the bag.  They tasted alright raw.

I was thrilled to have found a supply of fresh sprouts, because I wasn't going to buy the seed without tasting the product.  Plus I had a devious little thought.  Maybe I could root the little buggers.  A search of the net resulted in absolutely no help about rooting them, but I was encouraged about the trademark issue.  They are trademarked as Kalettes, meaning that you can not raise the plants and sell them under that name, even from seed.  But you can sell them as kale sprouts, and nothing prevents you from trying to root the cuttings from the package.  You can not raise "Patented" plants from cuttings, but are allowed to do so from "Trademarked" plants, but can not use the trademarked name.
      Whoopee.  I now had a whole lot of little plants that I could try to root.  I have to say now that I wasn't really optimistic, though I had to try.

      The bag full of sprouts was dumped onto the table, and you can see three individual plants above.  Look to me like they might root in water.  Four of the little plants were put in a plastic container with a lettuce stub that I was trying to root.  The rest of the sprouts were put in a shallow plastic tray that had about 1/2 inch of water.  The tray is kept covered to maintain humidity.
       I have been checking for rooting activity but with no luck.  But today, lookey here:

      See the roots at by the purple base.  Wow am I excited.

      Beautiful.  And rooted.  Should transplant easily to individual pots.

      The rooted cuttings are from this little covered container.  They have rooted, while the others in the plastic tray have not yet rooted. This little container sits on top of an aquarium light, and I think the added warmth has accelerated the rooting.  I hope to have a large crop started soon, and it will only cost me $3.50 for them all.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Planting Time Soon ???

Morning of March 6, 2015
      The calendar indicates that plantings of peas, potatoes, and onions should begin soon.  As in outside planting.  A look at the garden this morning might suggest a little caution.  Adding to the problem is that I have not yet started any of my other seeds!  In prior years the porch has hundreds of seedlings on trays.  Yet this morning was nine degrees!

      Maybe I'll have another cup of coffee.  Then try to decide if I should at least pull out the seed supply as a feeble attempt to start this year's gardening.