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Cliff's Grower Log -- April 2005

April 4

We've been cool and rainy (snowy) since mid-March. This is great! We may actually get the water we need after all. I'm anxious to begin final patch prep, but the weather is holding me back. This may be a good thing. It may be a little too early. But next week I have to take a trip to Belgium, and when I get back, if the weather is not good I can quickly turn "too early" into "late". I do want to get going about a week earlier this year.

April 20

I know what you're saying.

You're saying, "Cliff, this site is nice and all, but how long has it been?" "How long has it been since you posted some photographs?" "A little color!" "A little art!" "Cliff, where are the flowers, man!" Cliff! Where's the love?"

So, just for you, I hopped on a plane to Belgium. Just for you, after a long day at our Belgian office, I skipped dinner and headed for a very interesting park. This place was beautiful.

In mid-April, the only flowers in bloom were the early types, bulbs, pansies, and the like.

There were roses, wow. About two acres of roses. One of each type. That is, they had one plant each of hundreds of types, each with the name and the year it was created. Some were more than 200 years old. Unfortunately, this time of year there are no blooms. Maybe I'll be back in the summer sometime, but I hope not. That would be during pumpkin season.

So today, April 20th in Pocatello, I'm getting ready to start seeds. We also have two inches of snow on the ground. Ah, here are a few more reminders of Belgium:

It's almost time...

April 21

Last night I started the seeds. Yes, it's early. It takes a lot of faith, faith in the weather, to start the seeds when I can't even get into the patch to work the soil or put the hoophouses up. As for what I started, it's exactly as I had outlined in January. Today I'll probably start a few backups. I never thought I'd say this, but I hope we dry out soon!

April 25

Both of the Beauchemin seeds were up in less than three days. These were followed by the Pappas, then the Dieffenbaugher squash. Finally at about 4.5 days, the 981 Zunino came up. This one had already shucked its seed coat. It's the "yellow" one in this picture:

For new growers, notice my setup here. If you use the flourescent tube lights like I use, or any grow lights other than the super-hot high power lights, you want to get the light within 2 to 3 inches of the seedlings. And, get them under the light immediately after they come up. You want short stems. My stems are so short, the base of the seed leaves are practically touching the soil. They stay short when the seedling is getting adequate light.

So far, no action from the 891 Tanner. I started some backups, a 915.5 Dieffenbaugher, 704.5 Wolf, and my own 468. Wow, all of a sudden I'm thinking of the true color crosses that could be made between the Zunino and the 915.

April 27

Wow, we've got great weather! All the seedlings other than the 891 Tanner will probably go out tonight. The hoophouses are complete, except they have no plastic yet. The seedlings will be in "wall-of-water" enclosures for the first week anyway. The top five seedlings look absolutely beautiful.

The 891 finally came up, but it sure seems slow. It's got the stem up, and a portion of the seed leaves are up, but the rest of the seed leaves are sitting just under the soil. The seedling sat like this for nearly 24 hours! So I don't know. Soon the 915.5 Dieffenbaugher will be up (I hope), and this seed qualifies to reside in the "color" section. We'll see.

April 29

Last night the sixth and final plant went out into the patch. Drumroll please! It had been down to the 891 Tanner and the 915.5 Dieffenbaugher. The Tanner started slow but came back strong. This was a good looking seedling with a strong stem.

The Dieffenbaugher came up in exactly three days. But as I removed the seed coat, I noticed this "folding" or "interleaving" of the seed leaves! These pictures were taken last night:

I think it will be fine. But this was the first time I'd seen such a thing so I decided to post it here. I'll see to it that this seedling gets grown by someone. The 891 Tanner has taken it's original spot in the patch.


Cliff Warren