Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Garden Accessories

For a look at some interesting Garden Accessories, go to http://www.nursery-plants.info/garden-accessories/index.html.

Plant Seeds Indoors to Jumpstart Your Summer Garden

Now is the time to think about getting certain seeds started indoors... take a look at this article...

Plant seeds indoors to jumpstart your summer garden
Staff Writer

Grow Plugs Seed-Starting Kit

Old Man Winter may be settling in, but dedicated gardeners can't help but think about spring.

Of course January is much too early to plant anything outdoors — even early-growing, cool-season vegetables need warmer conditions than are likely through February. But starting seeds indoors can give you a jump on the spring growing season. Now is the time to consider what you want to plant, and to pull out a calendar to determine the best planting times.

Timing is important when you're starting seeds indoors, but if you start gathering your supplies, you'll be ready to plant when the time comes.

Depending on the extent of your planting project, you can outfit your indoor space with all kinds of fancy equipment. Or, if you're experimenting with just a few seeds, you can get by with a fairly simple setup. Many nurseries stock equipment, and mail-order garden catalogs carry various seed-starting kits, germinating trays, heat mats, light stands, soil mixes, transplanting pots and other ''must-have'' items. Some do-it-yourselfers rely on supplies as simple as cardboard egg cartons for starting transplants indoors from seeds.

One must-have is a good seed-starting growing medium, preferred to potting soil. You can purchase a high-quality, sterilized, germinating medium, or you can make your own. A University of Tennessee Extension ''recipe'' combines one-third peat, one-third sand and one-third rich, finely textured, loamy soil. Sterilize the mixture by heating it to 180 degrees for 30 minutes in the oven, according to the extension's publication Growing Vegetable Transplants for Home Gardens. ''This will require moistening the mixture, placing it in a shallow pan and using a thermometer.''

A heat mat, which is placed underneath a seed flat to provide warmth, gives an added boost to germinating seeds, says Paul Thompson at All Seasons garden center in Green Hills.

If you don't have a greenhouse, the biggest challenge to growing seedlings is providing sufficient light. Fluorescent lights, placed just inches above the seed trays and left on for about 16 hours each day, can provide necessary light for tiny seeds to grow into sturdy plants ready for transplanting.


You can grow annual flowers for decorative borders, as well as herbs and vegetables for cooking, from seeds started indoors. Depending on what you want to grow, some seeds should be started four to eight weeks before outdoor planting time. Instructions on the back of the seed packet indicate how much time is needed to grow sturdy transplants and when they can be transplanted into the garden.

Pay attention to the expected last-frost date; in Middle Tennessee that expected date is in early April. Loose-leaf lettuce, for instance, grows best in the cool days of early spring, so seeds can be started indoors about six weeks before then, according to garden writers Felder Rushing and Walter Reeves in their book, Tennessee Fruit and Vegetable Book. Seeds started indoors in the next couple of weeks should be ready to set out in the garden as sturdy transplants about mid-March.


Once you've worked out the timing and have all the necessary equipment, you're ready to plant.

Fill the container you are using to germinate the seeds with damp, sterile germinating mix. Rushing and Reeves suggest moistening the soil in a bucket and using the moistened soil to fill the starter trays or containers. Sow the seeds according to package directions; some seeds should be lightly covered with soil, some should not.

Cover the container with clear plastic and place it in a warm spot (68 to 75 degrees) in a sunny window or, ideally, underneath a fluorescent light. Relying on the light from even the sunniest window in your home may not be enough during winter for growing strong seedlings, says Thompson at All Seasons garden center.

The soil in the germinating container should be kept moist but not soggy; use room-temperature water. Once seeds have sprouted, make sure they continue to get plenty of light.

When tiny seedlings begin to emerge, poke a few holes in the plastic covering to let air reach the plants, a little bit at a time. Allowing air to enter too suddenly may cause a condition called damping-off (see related story), a fungal disease that will wipe out every seedling in the container, writes Eileen Powell in The Gardener's A-Z Guide To Growing Flowers From Seed to Bloom.

When the seedlings develop their second set of true leaves, it's time to transplant them to larger containers. Fill the cleaned, sterilized containers (such as 4-inch plastic pots) with damp potting mix and poke a hole in the mix, then carefully remove the seedlings from the original container and transfer them to the larger pot, then gently firm the mix around the roots.

Water immediately. Keep them out of bright light for a couple of days to allow them to recover from the shock of transplanting, then allow the plants to grow under lights, making sure they receive consistent water. Garden sources suggest applying half-strength fertilizer twice a week for the first three weeks, then full-strength every 10 to 14 days.

When outdoor planting time gets close, the plants should be ''hardened off'' before they are subjected to harsher outdoor conditions. This process should begin several days before planting time. Garden writer Judy Lowe suggests placing the plants in a protected area outdoors during the day in a shady spot, then bringing them to an unheated area indoors at night. As planting time nears, gradually move them into an area where they receive more exposure and leave them out all night.

''Depending on the temperatures, hardening off can take as little as a week or as long as 10 to 14 days,'' she writes.

This Article Online from the Tennessean.com

I found this seed starting kit at Gurney's Seed Company website and what I like about it is that it is small and can fit it any kitchen window sill and get you to a fast start...

Grow Plugs Seed-Starting KitGrow Plugs Seed-Starting KitVented mini-greenhouses hold 18 Grow Plugs made from a biodegradable medium enhanced with fertilizer and beneficial fungi.

Start Your Own Backyard Nursery Business!

If you have a GREEN THUMB and a hankering for some more GREEN BACKS, I have the perfect idea for you! Start a backyard nursery! You can grow plants from your backyard and sell easily to your community! It can be done with the tips that my good friend, Michael J. McGroarty provides in his step by step instructional ebook. I know Michael and I know one thing about him, he really knows his stuff about growing plants, and the great thing about his course is that he has all the practical tips and ideas on running a backyard nursery all rolled into one package. His main focus is on plant propagation and he has the perfect name for his site... it is called



The Plant of Love! Valentine's day is near!

Here is a plant that I absolutely love. The first time that I ever seen it was in college at Jacksonville State University at a place I was renting. In the fall this curious plant that I later found out was named "Heart's Bursting With Love" and is also called 'Bursting Heart'. It provided an amazing display of bursting-open red seed pods & dangling red seeds that really grab your attention. Very ornamental. If you are looking to plant a different bush for this spring in your yard, I would highly recommend this plant.

To order this plant go to the links below...Bursting Heart Burning Bush
Price: $12.80

The Bursting Heart Burning bush, Euonymus americana 'Bursting Heart', is a unique shrub. In the spring and summer this shrub quietly takes the back seat to other seasonal color.... Read More

For more Bushes & Shrubs simply go to Nursery Plants and browse the site for more plants.

Order Garden Catalogs

If you are looking for a unique garden catalog, try Sand Mountain Herbs! http://www.SandMountainHerbs.com Email him for a spring catalog.

Also visit my online nursery at Nursery Plants

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Perennial Herbs Often Need Planting in January

This is a note to many gardeners who seem to have trouble growing some perennials when sown in the Spring. You need to sow many of those seed from late fall to this time of year, January, due to the fact that many of those kinds of seeds need to "winter over" to break dormancy. Some people try using the refrigerator to do this but you will find that you get much better results with nature itself. Also, for some of these seeds you can artifically break the cold treatment requirement by using a powder known as G3 (also known as gibberellic acid)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Plant Schisandra NOW! --Don't Wait!

January is the is the best time to sow schisandra. Here is a trick to germinating the seed successfully.  You need to boil water let cool for 2 minutes.  Should be 180 degrees F.  Soak overnight, then sow outside in a pot, or you want it to grow. It then needs 2 months of cold weather to germinate, or saturate 2 months at 40 degrees.

It makes a beautiful vine with red berries, which are edible - raw or cooked. Can be dried and used on journeys.   Rich in sugars, it has a sweet/sour flavor. In Russia a paste made from the fruit is mixed with Kiwi  (or Chinese Gooseberry) (Actinidia arguta) in order to counteract the low acidity.  You can order this plant at my Dad'sherb store and the order info is below..

Name: Schisandra chinensis
Common Name:  Schisandra
Other Common Names: Schisandra, Tyosen-Gomisi, Wu Wei Zi, Wu-wei-zi
Plant Type: Perennial
Where To Plant: Full Sun to Partly Shady
Soil Types: Average
Zones 4-8

Germination: Hard
Number of Seeds Per Pack: 25
Uses: Medicinal
Notes: Chinese Herb, berries used to treat nervous conditions, chronic cough, asthma, thrist, diarrhea. Called Chinese Prozac.

SCHISANDRA CHINENSIS (Wu-wei-zi) Chinese medicinal; astringent and demulcent berries are used to treat nervous conditions, chronic cough, asthma, thirst, too frequent urination, and diarrhea. Sometimes referred to as 'Chinese Prozac'. Hardy climbing vine, to zone 5. Has adaptogenic and immune-enhancing properties similar to ginseng.
Price: $2.75/pkt

The Great Fire of Skirum 2006

This is funny and not by design. Actually I was burning a few boxes on top of the kitchen scrap pile last Saturday and the wind caused the fire to get into the grass of the nearby field. Unfortunately it got out of hand! --Ouch! Neighbors come out and was beating out the fire with me, and we were just hoping it would not get the neighbor's shed on fire. One neighbor was helping that just had recent heart surgery (pacemaker) and that was a bad thing... - - - ouch again! Anyway the local fire department from Geraldine showed up 20 minutes or so after it started and finally doused out the great fire of Skirum with their gasoline powered pump engine and 2 man crew!

Anyway, you can always count your blessings when you think about the fact that no one was hurt, no property was damaged, and it did not cost me any money! It was not on my land either, but maybe I can plant a garden there since I cleared it off for them.. hehehehhe!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Herb Roots Website Announcement!

My dad, Larry Chandler, & I started a new website this winter called HERB ROOTS at www.HerbRoots.com, & so far it has been a great success! We have been running the hugely successful herb seeds online store, called Sand Mountain Herbs, based here in the northeast corner Alabama. It has been in operation online since April 2002.

The new site, Herb Roots, provides many of the same herbs we offer in the online seed store, but only as roots! This makes it much easier for some of the non-green thumbs out there that have a hard time germinating seed (and perennial herb seeds can be tough sometimes) to just plant the root instead. The roots are mailed only in the cooler times of the year, such as late fall through winter, because of the dormancy period of the plants and the danger of killing the roots by going through a heat in the warmer times of the year.

We have plants like the Mayapple, Goldenseal, Wild Ginger, Passion Flower, Solomon's Seal, Sweetflag, Trillium, Ginseng, and much more. The plant above is a Mayapple, which by the way was one of the foods that saved the pilgrim's lives in the first winter in America.

Anyway.. Stop by and do yourself a favor! Get you some herb roots! Go to

You will be glad you did!