Starting Peppers

Started peppers today (about 12 weeks before planting). The packages all say 8 weeks, but the New Seed Starter’s Handbook suggests that 12 weeks is just fine for peppers. Since I think we’re going to have a slower germination (because we keep the house between 55 and 65 degrees), I’m going to roll with it.

We started 9 each of cayenne, jalapeño, and sweet peppers. That’s about twice as many as will go in the garden, but should give us enough to allow for poor germination, or to give some away.

Seed Cabinet


Malcolm and I made a trip to Costo and Lowes yesterday. We picked up a heavy-duty shelving unit, some shiny radiant barrier insulation, and a bunch of fluorescent ballasts and bulbs. Our results look like something NASA would put on the space station.



I think what we’ve got here are some good seeds, and what we’re seeing is the first eruption of the root from the seed coat, about 3 days after planting the seeds. I pretty much just pressed the seeds into the top of the soil and covered with a light dusting of additional soil, so this looks like the root searching for purchase.


Starting Onions

This year, we’re starting some seeds indoors. Last year was an experiment in figuring out what we could grow by direct-seeding (except for some tomato starters we purchased and some kale we were given). It mostly worked well, with some exception.

Apparently the first thing we needed to start, though, was our onions, and that should have been around February 1. What’re you gonna do?

I started 72 seeds of Dakota Tears onions from High Mowing Organic Seeds in moistened Pro-Mix Organic Seed Starting Mix. I barely pressed them into the soil and dusted another thin coating of the soil mix over them.

We keep the house at 65° during the day and it drops to 55–60° at night.

Dakota Tears Onion

Mid-sized yellow storage onion selected for vigor, size, storability, and insect resistance. Long day. 112 days

Cool-season biennial grown as annual. Direct sow in mid-spring or start transplants at 50–90° 10–12 weeks before planting out. Sow 1/4″ deep using 20 seeds/ft thinned to 3–6″ apart in rows 18–30″ apart

Clearing and Pruning

  • 6/14—Temp: 55–80F, Precip: 0.00″
  • 6/13—Temp: 60–81F, Precip: 0.02″
  • 6/12—Temp: 55–82F, Precip: 0.19″
  • 6/11—Temp: 64–82F, Precip: 0.00″

It’s been a warm few days.

Put lilac pruning class into practice. Clearing tons of overgrown areas (will probably be around 500 sq ft total) and pruning lilacs and forsythia.

Pretty much definite to take down shrubs closest to either side of driveway.

Brush pile in driveway continues to grow. Hopefully ready to be picked up and chipped by end of next week.

Pulled row cover off of second bed. Black beans several inches tall with big leaves. Everything else looking good, though it seems a couple of okra and a couple of zucchini didn’t germinate. Still should be plenty.

Pruning and Blocks

  • 6/10—Temp: 55–77F, Precip: 0.00″
  • 6/9—Temp: 60–73F, Precip: 0.24″

Ordered 80 cinder blocks yesterday to form garden bed perimeters, hopefully to better retain soil. Arrived today. Malcolm gathered existing rocks from do-nothing border while I hauled blocks across the yard and placed. We make a good team.

Attended a lilac pruning workshop at The Monadnock Center for History and Culture. Presenter was A.J. Dupere from NH Forests and Lands Urban Forestry Center. Extremely knowledgeable and patient. I feel ready to tackle our lilacs (and other spring-flowering shrubs like forsythia and pussy willow).

Dupere also recommended resources for identifying trees (and distinguishing between Norway and Sugar maples):

Barberry – Toast

  • 6/8—Temp: 55–73F, Precip: 0.05″

Watered this morning. Need better barrier around beds (possibly cinder block), as soil seems to be quite erosion-prone. Will bag next lawn-mowing and use as mulch.

Pulled a few weeds from garden. Mostly tiny clover shamrocks.

Wild strawberries have fruited. Ripe ones are about the size of a pea, but incredibly delicious.

Hopefully eradicated majority of Japanese Barberry in yard. Removed huge shrub (and pulled roots) in front yard. Found more in dense growth in back yard on either side of property line. Cut off at ground and pulled out.

Everything Sprouts

Installing Tomato Antennas
Installing Tomato Antennas
  • 6/7—Temp: 37–72F, Precip: 0.00″
  • 6/6—Temp: 46–71F, Precip: 0.00″
  • 6/5—Temp: 51–75F, Precip: 0.00″
  • 6/4—Temp: 48–68F, Precip: 0.00″

Left 5 June for wedding in New Jersey. Watered heavily that morning. Tomatoes had begun to struggle at floating row cover.

Returned 7 June. Removed row cover from entire front bed. All plantings in front bed have sprouted.

Despite cool temperatures nearly everything in back bed has also sprouted, even watermelon and zucchini. Bean and onion sprouts about 2 inches. Okra, watermelon, and zucchini about half an inch. Garlic still underground (planted 4 inches deep).

Rain and Moose

  • 6/3—Temp: 44–66F, Precip: 0.00″
  • 6/2—Temp: 43–50F, Precip: 0.65″
  • 6/1—Temp: 44–48F, Precip: 1.21″
  • 5/31—Temp: 44–66F, Precip: 0.54″
  • 5/30—Temp: 55–82F, Precip: 0.00″

Not much to report. Steady rain for two or three days and cool.

Female moose sighted walking west-to-east across our front yard. Went behind 1 neighbor’s house, came out, then continued west. Lost track of it after that.