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Thursday, March 31, 2011

There Is Something Seriously Wrong With This Country

is over 14 times larger

A List Of 28 Things That Will Make You Think That There Is Something Seriously Wrong With This Country

Posted: 30 Mar 2011 08:51 PM PDT


What in the world is happening to America? Perhaps you have asked yourself that question from time to time. Today it seems like everything is falling apart. Our economy is crumbling, our politicians are incompetent, we have just gotten involved in another war, corruption is everywhere and the Americans people are so addicted to entertainment that hardly anything can wake them from their stupor. It is enough to make you think that there is just not much hope for America. But the truth is that we should never give up. It is when the times are darkest that the greatest heroes arise. We truly do live in challenging times, but that just means that there are great victories to be won and great stories to be written. There may be a whole lot of things that are very wrong with America right now, but that doesn't mean that the game is over quite yet.

Unfortunately, right now most Americans are completely asleep. Just like during the declining years of the Roman Empire, most people that live in the U.S. are spoiled, decadent and completely addicted to entertainment.

The following is how many Americans actually plan their weeks....

Monday: Watch Dancing With The Stars

Tuesday: Watch The Dancing With The Stars Results Show

Wednesday: Watch American Idol

Thursday: Watch The American Idol Results Show

At this point, most people in this country cannot even intelligently discuss the pressing issues of our day.

In fact, 63 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 cannot find Iraq on a map and 90 percent of Americans in that same age group cannot find Afghanistan on a map.

We've got a lot of work to do.

America is in sorry shape and it desperately needs some heroes.

The following is a list of 28 things that will make you really think that there is something seriously wrong with this country....

#1 According to the Economic Policy Institute, almost 25 percent of U.S. households now have zero net worth or negative net worth. Back in 2007, that number was just 18.6 percent.

#2 According to the Pentagon, the cost of the first week of attacks on Libya was 600 million dollars.

#3 The major food producers are shrinking the sizes of their packages so that they won't have to raise prices. The New York Times recently did a story about one woman who was absolutely shocked when she started keeping track of shrinking package sizes at her local supermarket....

Ms. Stauber, 33, said she began inspecting her other purchases, aisle by aisle. Many canned vegetables dropped to 13 or 14 ounces from 16; boxes of baby wipes went to 72 from 80; and sugar was stacked in 4-pound, not 5-pound, bags, she said.

#4 It is being projected that for the first time ever, the OPEC nations are going to bring in over a trillion dollars from exporting oil this year. Their biggest customer is the United States.

#5 According to a recent census report, 13% of all the homes in the United States are sitting empty.

#6 20 percent of all the electricity in the United States is produced by nuclear power plants. Many of those plants are very similar to the damaged reactors at the Fukushima nuclear complex in Japan.

#7 Barack Obama promised us that radiation from the nuclear disaster in Japan would not be a problem in the United States, but already it has shown up in milk in Spokane, Washington.

#8 Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher recently said the following....

"If we continue down on the path on which the fiscal authorities put us, we will become insolvent, the question is when."

Of course the Federal Reserve system was designed to get the U.S. government trapped in perpetual debt so actually he should be blaming himself and his friends over at the Fed.

#9 China produced 19.8 percent of all the goods consumed in the world last year. The United States only produced 19.4 percent.

#10 Back in 2005 at the peak of the housing bubble, the median property tax on a home in the United States was $1614. Today, even though home values have sunk like a rock, that figure has risen to $1917.

#11 In New Jersey, home owners pay an average of $7576 in property taxes every single year.

#12 According to the Federal Reserve, the adjusted monetary base has nearly tripled since mid-2008.

#13 Thanks for all the money printing Bernanke - according to one unofficial estimate, the U.S. in on track to have an 8.3 percent rate of inflation for the year.

#14 According to a recent article posted on the website of the American Institute of Economic Research, the purchasing power of a U.S. dollar declined from $1.00 in 1913 to 4.6 cents in 2009.

#15 The Ogallala Aquifer stretches from South Dakota to Texas, it is the largest underground supply of fresh water in the world, and it is rapidly running dry. So how is "America's breadbasket" going to continue to produce massive amounts of food for the rest of the world once that happens?

#16 The number of homes that were actually repossessed reached the 1 million mark for the first time ever during 2010.

#17 The U.S. industrial base has disintegrated so badly that we could literally export our entire manufacturing output and still not balance our trade with the rest of the globe.

#18 Goldman Sachs almost always wins. According to a recent regulatory filing, Goldman Sachs lost money on just 25 days in 2010 and on only 19 days in 2009.

#19 In 1994, the top 1 percent of all income earners paid 25 percent of all state taxes in New York. Today, the top 1 percent of all income earners pay 41 percent of all state taxes in New York.

#20 The National Institutes of Health has spent approximately $442,340 to study the behavior of male prostitutes in Vietnam.

#21 According to an absolutely stunning recent poll, 40 percent of all U.S. doctors plan to leave the profession at some point during the next three years because of Obamacare.

#22 If the new health care law is so great, then why is the Obama administration allowing so many organizations to opt out of it? According to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 1,000 organizations have received Obamacare waivers so far.

#23 Large American cattle farms actually feed chicken manure to cattle because it is so cheap and because we produce way too much of it to properly dispose of as fertilizer.

#24 Every single year, Americans spend approximately 7.6 billion hours preparing their taxes.

#25 The IMF says that in order to fix the U.S. government budget deficit, taxes need to be doubled on every single U.S. citizen.

#26 Mandatory federal spending is going to surpass total federal revenue for the first time ever in this fiscal year. That was not supposed to happen until 50 years from now.

#27 Today, the U.S. national debt is over 14 times larger than it was back in 1981.

#28 According to the National Inflation Association, when you factor in the unfunded liabilities of the U.S. government, total federal debt obligations now come to a grand total of 76 trillion dollars.


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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Connecticut News: all is well?

Well the latest from our beloved Rulers is that They have looked into the recent Levels of radiation falling on us and we have no worries! All is well! Go back to sleep..Like the Good little sheeple you are.. I'm not buying it Malloy!! But since I am joe smoe CT and my thoughts don't count I will just keep preparing myself and my family quietly over here in my own little corner in my own little room. One day the People of Connecticut will either wake up or end up being on the very losing end of their last chance.. Bruce

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

GAIACRAFT - HUGELKULTUR LESSON

GAIACRAFT - HUGELKULTUR LESSON

Hugelkultur: Using Woody Waste in Composting


By kerryg

Hugelkultur is an ancient form of sheet composting developed in Eastern Europe. It uses woody wastes such as fallen logs and pruned branches in order to build soil fertility and improve drainage and moisture retention.

If you walk through a natural woodland, you will see many fallen logs and branches on the ground. The older these logs are, the more life they sustain. A log that has rested on the forest floor for five or ten years will be covered in moss, mushrooms, wildflowers and even young trees. Poke at it a little and you will notice that the decaying wood is damp in all but the most vicious of droughts.

Hugelkultur is designed to take advantage of the natural fertility and moisture-conserving qualities of rotting wood, while speeding the process of decomposition up. The heat produced by decomposition also helps protect cold-sensitive plants.
Mushrooms on a rotting log. Photo by tacomabibelot.
How to Build a Hugelkultur Bed

1. Gather woody waste materials such as dead logs, extra firewood, pruned or clipped branches, and more. The wood can be either rotting or fresh, although already rotting wood decomposes fastest.
2. Lay the wood in a mound about 1-2 feet high and stomp on it a bit to break it up. You can dig a trench to lay the wood in, if you wish.
3. Cover the wood with other compost materials such as autumn leaves, grass clippings, garden wastes, and manure. (This stage is optional if you aren't planning to plant the bed immediately.)
4. Cover the wood and compost with a few inches of dirt and/or prepared compost.

You can either let the bed sit for awhile to rot, or plant it immediately. Among the plants known to do well in hugelkultur beds are potatoes, squash, melons, and a number of different species of berries. Other gardeners plant the bed with cover crops for the first year to improve the fertility even more before adding vegetables or other plants.


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Friday, March 25, 2011

Seed-starting Basics

Seed-starting Basics

Seed-starting Basics
By Nancy Bubel
After the warmth of holiday gatherings and festivities, planning for spring comforts us in the cold, short days of winter. Apart from the satisfying process of nurturing little green seedlings under your roof, practical reasons exist to start some of your seeds indoors. First, well-established young plants will produce earlier, thus giving you a longer picking season. In Northern states, such as Pennsylvania, where I live, we start heat-loving, long-season crops such as okra and eggplant indoors if we are to expect anything from them before Labor Day.
Second, many of us routinely start garden plants indoors — rather than buying seedlings from a nursery — to take advantage of special varieties available only from seed companies. Whatever your requirements — tomatoes for drying, storage or exceptional flavor; white eggplants; seedless watermelons; long-keeping cabbage; hot peppers; slow-bolting lettuces — these and many more vegetables with special qualities can be yours if you grow the plants from seed.
Unless you have a greenhouse or a large bank of fluorescent lights, you’ll want to be selective about the varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers you start at home. Pick ones that will benefit the most from an early start. Given space for only a few, I’d choose tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and cabbage; basil and parsley; and snapdragons and dahlias from the “Spring Indoor Seed-starting Guide.”
Several others, including beets, Brussels sprouts and Chinese cabbage, don’t necessarily need a head start indoors, but I have done so on occasion. Beets need to be thinned, and they are sensitive to toxins in the soil. Brussels sprouts reach their best flavor in fall from spring planting. If you start Chinese cabbage early, sow it in individual pots because transplanting sometimes can make it bolt to seed prematurely.
The following vegetables are not usually recommended for indoor seed sowing: asparagus, snap beans, lima beans, carrots, corn, endive (best in fall from spring outdoor sowing), parsnips (best eaten in fall), radishes, spinach (seeds germinate well in cool soil), soybeans, Swiss chard and turnips. Herbs that fit in this category include dill, cilantro and summer savory.
HOW TO BEGIN
Your seed orders have arrived and you’re ready to plant. First, gather your containers. These can be special seed-starting flats, cubes or other systems ordered from a catalog; flats made from scrap wood; or a cobbled-together assortment of cut-down milk cartons, used aluminum pans, chipped pots, cottage cheese tubs, etc.
Like many gardeners, I used a motley collection of wooden flats, purchased trays and household discards when I had a home greenhouse with plenty of space. Now, my plant-starting space is more limited, so my system consists of one or two 10-row, commercially made plastic flats — rather flimsy things with narrow, three-fourths-inch-wide rows. Each flat is set into a 12-by-22-inch plastic tray; the 10-row flats are perforated but the trays are not. Soon after the seeds germinate, I transplant the seedlings into individual cells in four-, six- or eight-cell market packs saved from nursery purchases and donated by friends.
With this system, I can plant 20 kinds of tomatoes by putting a cardboard separator in the center of each row, and because the sections are small, I waste less seed as I’m not tempted to overplant.
Homemade scrap wood flats can be any size that fits your available space, with two exceptions: Not too large or they’ll be too heavy to lift when full of soil, and no more than 2 to 3 inches deep. Deeper flats waste potting soil, and too-shallow ones limit root development and dry out prematurely. Leave one-eighth-inch spaces between the slats on the bottom of a homemade flat to allow for drainage. I usually line mine with several sheets of newspaper to keep soil from washing through the bottom wood strips.
PLANTING MEDIA
Now, fill those containers with growing media that will encourage germination and root growth. Because seeds need only moisture, warmth and air to germinate, they can be started in nutrient-free materials such as vermiculite, shredded moss (not peat moss, which is hard to moisten and tends to crust when dry, but moss collected from the woods) or a mixture of equal parts vermiculite, moss and perlite. Vermiculite is mica that has been superheated to the point of expanding into flaky granules; sometimes, it contains small amounts of naturally occurring asbestos, so keep it damp and use it outdoors. Perlite is heat-expanded volcanic rock.
Today, the easiest plan for me is just to plant seeds in purchased potting soil. In the past, I’ve used a wide variety of homemade media. Here are three recipes that work well, especially for use as growing media for transplanted seedlings:
• A mixture of equal parts screened finished compost and vermiculite.
• A mixture of equal parts finished compost; commercial potting soil; and perlite, vermiculite or sharp sand, or a mixture of all three. Use coarse builder’s sand; avoid seashore sand, which usually is too fine and packs too densely, consequently offering less room for air.
• For a completely homegrown mixture, I’ve used equal parts compost, good garden soil (both screened) and torn moss gathered in our woods.
Fill your planting containers with whatever germinating medium you’ve chosen, gently firm the surface and water it so the medium is thoroughly moistened but not soggy. Use warm water for quick absorption. If you water after planting your seeds, you will wash them into corners or, in the case of tiny seeds, bury them too deeply.
Next, plant your seeds. Place them on the damp soil surface, no closer than one-fourth inch for tiny seeds and half to two-thirds inch for larger ones. Scatter a thin covering of soil over the seeds or just press in those that need sunlight to germinate (see the “Spring Indoor Seed-starting Guide”). Gently firm the seeds and soil in place. Then, before you do anything else, label the flat or row in a 10-row flat with the variety name and planting date.
You’ve given your seeds two of the conditions they need to germinate: moisture and supportive surroundings rich in air spaces. They need no nourishment until they sprout; in fact, soil with too much organic matter can produce an overabundance of carbon dioxide that can deter germination of some seeds.
Now you need to provide the warmth that most seeds need to encourage sprouting. Most homes have warm spots — the top of the water heater, near a radiator or heat vent, close to a woodstove — that will help nurse planted seeds to germination. If your house is cool or those sites are impractical, you can put a commercially made soil-heating cable under your flats.
Water the containers as needed to keep them evenly moist but not sopping wet. Bottom watering, by setting the containers in trays of warm water, is best for two reasons: The seeds are less likely to be flooded, and you’ll avoid surface puddling of water, a sure invitation to soilborne diseases.
Most of the seeds you’re likely to plant indoors will germinate best at temperatures between 75 and 90 degrees. I often cover flats of planted seeds with damp newspapers, but I have learned not to enclose them in plastic bags, which encourage mold. Flats of quick-sprouting plants, such as lettuce, should be checked daily or at least every other day. Once a sprout nudges above the soil surface, even if it is just the “elbow” of a stem — not yet a leaf — expose the seedling to light. Those that lack sufficient light or that grow too closely together develop long, spindly, weak stems.
TECHNIQUES
You’ll notice that the first leaves — the “seed leaves” — of the new, little sprout are less notched and differentiated than the leaves that will appear later. Let the plant subsist on its seed leaves for a few days before you consider transplanting it to a larger container so the roots can develop more fully. You can wait to transplant until the seedling develops its first true leaves, but get the job done before the second set of true leaves appears. If the seedlings are growing too thickly in their germinating flat, then you can thin them by snipping off the extras with scissors, but don’t pull them. Pulling out the excess can disturb the roots of adjacent seedlings if the plants are crowded and developing well.
Why transplant? For one thing, your young plants now need richer soil, especially if they have sprouted in a soilless medium such as vermiculite. If for any reason you leave seedlings growing in a soilless medium (as some gardeners do), you’ll need to feed them a weekly dose of diluted plant fertilizer, such as fish emulsion. Then, seedlings generally need more room to grow than they have in their sprouting containers, especially in 10-row flats. Transplanting stimulates the growth of more feeder roots and gives you an opportunity to select and nurture the strongest seedlings in the batch.
Here’s how to transplant. First, prepare your new containers — cell packs, flower pots, larger flats, etc. — by filling them with loose, clean, new potting soil. (I do reuse potting soil but only for potting up mature plants and bulbs.) Next, prick out your chosen seedlings one by one. Use a slender digging instrument such as a plastic knife, fork handle, ice cream stick or old screwdriver to gently nudge the young plant out of its bed, taking care to retain as many roots as possible. Handle the stem gently to avoid bruising it. Immediately settle the seedling in its new position, at a depth similar to or slightly deeper than its depth in the sprouting medium. Spread the roots out as much as possible and firm the soil gently over them. Now water the young plant well to settle it in and help it compensate for any root damage suffered in transplanting.
NURTURING THE SEEDLING
Seedlings transplanted into shallow flats or cell packs may dry out faster than those transplanted directly into the garden, so check them daily and water when the soil feels dry, about every three to five days. For those in shallow flats or cell packs, bottom watering is ideal, though messy if you have many wooden flats. My cell packs in shallow plastic trays are easy to bottom water simply by pouring water into the tray. Provide enough water to soak the whole container, but remove or elevate the containers on pebbles if excess water remains in the trays for a day. Waterlogged soil loses vital air spaces and can cause roots to rot.
If your transplants are in a nutrient-containing medium such as a commercial potting soil, they won’t need fertilizer for at least 10 days. At that time, use a half-strength dilution for young seedlings and feed them about every 10 to 14 days until you plant them out. Go easy on the fertilizer if plants receive a less-than-ideal amount of light, as they would if confined to a windowsill.
Most seedlings need less warmth than germinating seeds. A temperature of between 60 and 70 degrees is fine, down to 50 degrees for lettuce and parsley. Young plants forced to make do with inadequate light should not be kept too warm; they will stay stockier and greener during short winter days when not overheated.
Sixteen hours of light a day is ideal, and you’ll need to use fluorescent lights to provide this much light in the winter. Perhaps you can set up lights on an enclosed porch, or in a basement or spare room. My setup is simple: two sets of double 48-inch tubes topped by metal reflector shades and hung on chains above a counter in the basement. Sometimes I keep the lights on day and night, rotating my seedling collection so each tray receives 13 hours of light daily.
Plants need darkness, too, to use absorbed nutrients for new growth. For most efficient use of the lights, keep the tubes clean and position the plants so their leaves are close to the tubes — no more than 4 inches away. To reflect more light onto the plants, prop mirrors, white glossy boards or pieces of cardboard covered with aluminum foil next to the lights. Special plant-growing lights, with wavelengths especially suited to the purpose, are very effective. I’ve also had good results using one cool-white and one warm-white tube in pairs. (See “Use the Right Light for Seed-Starting Success” for more information on using grow lights. — MOTHER)
DISEASES
The most common disease of young seedlings is damping-off, caused by a fungus that thrives in wet, poorly ventilated places. The main symptom is unmistakable: When an otherwise healthy, green-leafed young plant falls over, you’ll notice the stem at soil level looks pinched.
Prevention is easier than curing: From the start, provide good air circulation and avoid overwatering. Also, top off the soil surfaces around the seedlings with milled sphagnum moss, which contains beneficial bacteria known to inhibit certain plant diseases. If only a few seedlings in a batch are affected, you can sometimes save the rest by removing the affected seedlings, improving drainage and air circulation, and spraying the survivors with chamomile or garlic tea.
HARDENING OFF, PLANTING OUT
It’s a week or two before the safe planting-out date (see map) for your hardier seedlings — first onions, then lettuce, parsley and the cabbage family. It’s time to toughen your new plants to withstand the harsher outdoor conditions. Do this by watering less, keeping them a bit cooler and not fertilizing. Hardening off takes a week or so; it’s when you first set your plants outside but before you put them in the ground. At first, give them a half-day in a sheltered place, gradually work up to full sun and, if a frost warning is issued, cover your tender young plants at night.
The ideal planting-out day is cloudy and damp. As you set each plant in its hole in the ground, water it in and then cover the roots with fine loose soil — never with rough chunks of ground or mud. On a bright, sunny day, you might want to cover the seedlings with berry baskets or a span of fabric row cover for shade.
Now that your weeks of careful tending have produced healthy new plants, let yourself gloat a bit. You and your plants have grown into spring, and more good days lie ahead.

— Former Mother Earth News editor Nancy Bubel is the author of The New Seed Starters Handbook. To order, see Page 110 or go to Mother Earth Shopping.

THE AWESOME SEED
Take a moment to consider those seeds you’re about to plant: those flakes, wisps, grains, orbs and particles. No matter how tiny — and some flower seeds are as fine as dust — each seed is a living entity. Within a protective outer coat, the seed contains an embryo that will grow into a seedling, a supply of stored nutrients along with enzymes that convert the stored food into a usable form, and genetic directions for its development. And yes, seeds even “breathe” — that is, they take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide. When seeds are planted in warm, moist soil, they absorb water, thus activating enzymes that start the sprouting process. Seeds are programmed to grow; we just help them along.




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Best Garden Seed Companies

Best Garden Seed Companies


Best Garden Seed Companies

By Tabitha Alterman

Whether your garden is frozen over or your first freeze is yet to arrive, it's never too early to start dreaming about next year's garden. If you set aside a little time this winter to plan what to grow next year, you'll be rewarded with an early start come spring. Plus, you can make your green thumb even greener just by reading seed catalogs. New gardeners, especially, should read seed catalogs to learn about fruit and veggie varieties that are naturally pest- and disease-resistant, are fabulously prolific, or offer superior flavor and nutrition. It's also a good way to introduce yourself to under appreciated but fun-to-grow fruits and veggies such as kohlrabi and mouse melons.

Lucky for us, it's easier than ever to find healthy garden seeds that were grown organically and come from solid, open-pollinated stock. Even some of the largest seed companies are beginning to offer a wider selection of organic, non-hybrid, and non-chemically-treated seeds. When possible, order garden seeds from companies based in your area. Their varieties are more likely to be well adapted to your soil and climate. The following seed companies (organized by state; skip to the end for Canadian listings) have a great selection of open-pollinated and organic vegetable and herb seeds, and you'll learn a lot from their informative catalogs. Their extensive offerings are available online and/or via traditional print catalogs. For help finding even more seed sources, check out our handy tool, the customized Seed and Plant Finder.
Seed Companies By State


ALABAMA

Sand Mountain Herbs (Fyffe, Ala.)

ARIZONA

Native Seeds / SEARCH (Tucson, Ariz.)

Seeds Trust (Cornville, Ariz.)

CALIFORNIA

Bountiful Gardens (Willits, Calif.)

J. L. Hudson, Seedsman (LaHonda, Calif.)

Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants (Lomita, Calif.)

Mountain Valley Growers (Squaw Valley, Calif.)

Natural Gardening Co. (Petaluma, Calif.)

Ornamental Edibles (San Jose, Calif.)

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply (Grass Valley, Calif.)

Redwood City Seeds (Redwood City, Calif.)

Renee's Garden (Felton, Calif.)

COLORADO

Botanical Interests (Broomfield, Colo.)

Golden Harvest Organics (Fort Collins, Colo.)

The Garlic Store (Fort Collins, Colo.)

CONNECTICUT

Comstock, Ferre & Co. (Wethersfield, Conn.)

John Sheeper's Kitchen Garden Seeds (Bantam, Conn.)

New England Seed (Hartford, Conn.)

FLORIDA

Eden Organic Nursery Services (E.O.N.S.) (Hallandale, Fla.)

The Gourmet Gardener (Live Oak, Fla.)

The Pepper Gal (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)

Tomato Growers Supply Co. (Fort Myers, Fla.)

ILLINOIS

American Organic Seed & Grain (Warren, Ill.)

Underwood Gardens (Woodstock, Ill.)

INDIANA

Great Harvest Organics (Atlanta, Ind.)

The Chile Woman (Bloomington, Ind.)

IOWA

Blue River Organic Seed (Kelley, Iowa)

Mark Seed Co. (Perry, Iowa)

Sand Hill Preservation Center (Calamus, Iowa)

Seed Savers Exchange (Decorah, Iowa)

KANSAS

Pendleton's Country Market (Lawrence, Kan.)

Skyfire Garden Seeds (Kanopolis, Kan.)

KENTUCKY

Ferry-Morse Seed Company (Fulton, Ky.)

Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center (Berea, Ky.)

MAINE

FEDCO Seeds (Waterville, Maine)

Johnny's Selected Seeds (Winslow, Maine)

Pinetree Garden Seeds (New Gloucester, Maine)

Wood Prairie Farm (Bridgewater, Maine)

MARYLAND

Pepper Joe's (Timonium, Md.)

MICHIGAN

Krohne Plant Farms, Inc. (Hartford, Mich.)

MINNESOTA

Albert Lea Seed House (Albert Lea, Minn.)

MISSOURI

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (Mansfield, Mo.)

Granny's Heirloom Seeds (Humansville, Mo.)

Pantry Garden Herbs (Cleveland, Mo.)

NEW HAMPSHIRE

G & H Garlic Farm (Littleton, N. H.)

NEW JERSEY

Thompson & Morgan (Jackson, N.J.)

NEW MEXICO

Gourmet Seed International (Tatum, N.M.)

Plants of the Southwest (Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M.)

Seeds of Change (Santa Fe, N.M.)

Seeds West Garden Seeds (Albuquerque, N.M.)

NEW YORK

Harris Seeds (Rochester, N.Y.)

Seedway (Hall, N.Y.)

Stokes Seeds Inc. (Buffalo, N.Y.)

Turtle Tree Seed (Copake, N.Y.)

NORTH CAROLINA

Appalachian Seeds (Flat Rock, N.C.)

Cornerstone Garlic Farm (Reidsville, N. C.)

OHIO

Bobba-Mike's Garlic Farm (Orrville, Ohio)

OREGON

Abundant Life Seeds (Saginaw, Ore.)

Horizon Herbs (Williams, Ore.)

Nichols Garden Nursery (Albany, Ore.)

One Green World (Molalla, Ore.)

Sow Organic Seed (Williams, Ore.)

Territorial Seed Co. (Cottage Grove, Ore.)

The Thyme Garden Herb Company (Alsea, Ore.)

Victory Seed Company (Molalla, Ore.)

Wild Garden Seed (Philomath, Ore.)

PENNSYLVANIA

Container Seeds (Wellsboro, Penn.)

Heirloom Seeds (W. Elizabeth, Penn.)

The Cook's Garden (Warminster, Penn.)

W. Atlee Burpee Co.(Warminster, Penn.)

SOUTH CAROLINA

Park Seed Co. (Greenwood, S.C.)

R. H. Shumway's (Graniteville, S.C.)

Seeds for the South (Graniteville, S.C.)

TENNESSEE

Marianna's Heirloom Seeds (Dickson, Tenn.)

New Hope Seed Company (Bon Aqua, Tenn.)

TEXAS

Garden Store-N-More (LaPorte, Tex.)

Willhite Seed Inc. (Poolville, Tex.)

Bob Wells Nursery (Lindale, Tex.)

Brown's Omaha Plant Farms (Omaha, Tex.)

Dixondale Farms (Carrizo Springs, Tex.)

VERMONT

High Mowing Organic Seeds (Wolcott, Vt.)

VIRGINIA

Garden Medicinals and Culinaries (Earlysville, Va.)

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (Mineral, Va.)

WASHINGTON

Filaree Farm (Okanogan, Wash.)

Garden City Seeds (Ellensburg, Wash.)

Osborne Seed Company (Mount Vernon, Wash.)

WISCONSIN

Botanikka Seeds (Iron Ridge, Wis.)

Totally Tomatoes (Randolf, Wis.)

Vermont Bean Seed Co. (Randolph, Wis.)

Seed Companies in Canada


Boundary Garlic Farm (Midway, British Columbia)

Gardeners Web (Bowden, Alberta)

Hole's Greenhouses & Gardens (St. Albert, Alberta)

Salt Spring Seeds (Salt Spring Island, British Columbia)

Stellar Seeds (Sorrento, British Columbia)

West Coast Seeds (Delta, British Columbia)

William Dam Seeds (Dundas, Ontario)

Richter's (Goodwood, Ontario)


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Easiest Vegetables to Grow - Ask Our Experts Blog - Organic Gardening

Easiest Vegetables to Grow - Ask Our Experts Blog - Organic Gardening


Easiest Vegetables to Grow
1/26/2011 9:43:35 AM
By Barbara Pleasant
Tags: vegetables, garden, first garden

Easiest Vegetables to Grow AOEI’m ready to garden! What are the best crops for me to grow in my first garden?

To guarantee the success of your first garden, stick with the easy vegetables listed here, which grow well in minimally improved soil. (Over time, you can improve your soil by adding organic fertilizers and compost.)

Begin planting your first garden in early spring, about four weeks before your average last frost. Locate information this information in Know When to Plant What: Find Your Average Last Spring Frost Date.

In early spring, kick off the season with these easy-to-grow vegetables and herbs:

* Salad mix, aka mesclun, is a seed blend of lettuces and other salad-worthy greens. Buy two packets — one that’s mostly lettuce and another that includes mustards, kales or escaroles so you can learn how all these greens grow. Sow small patches of each mix, and then plant a little more a few weeks later. Save your leftover seed in the fridge and plant it in late summer for a lush fall crop.
* Perennial herbs such as thyme and sage are easy to grow, and they come back each year. Purchase starts, which are grown from cuttings of superior varieties.
* Potatoes grow from sprouting spuds, and you can grow only one or two plants and get good yields. In your first garden, try planting a few small, organic potatoes purchased at the store.

In late spring, plant these vegetables after your last frost has passed:

* Bush or pole beans (collectively called green beans) are a top crop for any first garden because they adapt to a wide range of soil types.
* Tomatoes are a garden favorite, but for your first year I suggest starting with only two types — a cherry, such as ‘Sweet 100’ or ‘Sun Gold,’ and a medium-sized slicing tomato, such as ‘Early Girl.’ Wait until next year, when your soil is better and you have some experience, to try large-fruited heirlooms.
* Summer squash can be phenomenally productive, but put in at least three plants to ensure good pollination and fruit set.

In late summer, plant more mesclun and fill other vacant space with arugula or Japanese turnips — two underappreciated gourmet vegetables that will grow like gangbusters until cold weather brings your first garden to a close. Good luck!

— Barbara Pleasant , contributing editor


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Plant a Salad Garden in Fall

Plant a Salad Garden in Fall
Plant a Salad Garden in Fall

Barbara Pleasant

Easy to grow – and beautiful to boot – salad gardens are easy to love. Lettuce and other salad makings are among the first crops to plant in spring, yet their fondness for cool weather also makes them great encore crops for fall. As a self-confessed salad addict, I often spend $5 a week on ready-to-eat gourmet greens when I can’t get them from my garden – reason enough to work up a little sweat plant-ing a second season salad garden.

It’s a simple project that leads to fast rewards. Clear off a patch of ground in a spot that’s convenient to water, sow some seeds, and a fall salad patch will start spewing out tasty tidbits in only a few weeks.
What to Grow?

The major player in any salad garden is lettuce (Lactuca sativa), which comes in an amazing array of colors and textures. If you have partially used seed packets of lettuce leftover from spring, start with those varieties, because shard-shaped lettuce seeds often lose viability after only a year. Did your spring crop get tall and bitter before you could eat it all? Some of the frilliest lettuce varieties can’t wait to bolt when days are getting longer and warmer in spring, but in the fall garden they hold much longer. If you need to buy lettuce seeds, starting with a mixture of varieties is an effortless way to turn your salad garden into a tapestry of colors and textures. All the mail-order seed companies (See “The Seeds You Need,” Page 58) sell various lettuce blends, often called mesclun, that include a palette of leaf colors and forms.

Spinach makes a great fall salad green, too, and in many climates fall-sown spinach can be left in the garden until spring, when the cold-ravaged plants bounce back with amazing energy. Fast-growing radishes also plump up quickly when grown in the fall, and autumn is the best season to grow buttery-tasting baby beet greens. Scallions are a bit slow to grow from seeds, but you can be assured of a ready supply of tender green onions if you buy a slender bunch with roots at the supermarket, trim the tops back by half their length, and stick them into moist soil. See “Fall Garden Standouts” on Page 57 for even more great greens for your second season salad garden. Finally, stud your patch with a few fast-growing annual herbs including dill, cilantro and chervil, which sprout and grow quickly enough to provide flavorful snippets for the salad bowl.
Ready, Set, Grow!

All the books say that salad crops need full sun, but up to a half day of shade is beneficial when you’re planting in warm, late summer soil. If the best site you have bakes in the September sun, install a shade screen on the west side of your salad patch. A short length of snow fencing or a piece of burlap attached to stakes will do the trick.

Lettuce and other salad greens have shallow roots, so soil preparation is a simple matter of clearing the space of weeds and withered plants, working in a 2-inch deep blanket of compost, and then mixing in an organic fertilizer at the rate given on the label. Spinach is a heavier feeder than other greens, so be generous with the plant food when preparing its fall home.

Some say that lettuce seeds need light to germinate, but the light that comes through a one-eighth-inch layer of soil will coax the seeds to life quite nicely. The easiest way to sow the seeds is to scatter them on the surface of a prepared bed, barely cover them with soil, and then pat the surface lightly with your hand. If you have clay soil that tends to form a crust over germinating seeds, cover the seeds with potting soil or compost instead of garden soil. Plant other salad garden crops about a quarter inch deep and at least half an inch apart.

Early fall is often a dry season, and salad greens thrive on moisture, so keeping the soil constantly moist is an ongoing challenge. Immediately after planting, the easiest way to keep the seeded bed from drying out at midday is to cover it with an old blanket or cardboard box on sunny days. Once the seedlings are up and growing, keep a watering can stationed at the edge of your salad patch, and give your babies a cool drink first thing every morning and again just before sunset.

If you think of leaves as solar panels, you’ll understand why thinning plants so that leaves of adjoining plants don’t overlap is so important. Begin thinning your salad patch as soon as the seeds sprout, and continue to pull up (and eat) crowded babies every few days. Thoughtful thinning also deters slugs, one of the few pests that bother lettuce and other leafy greens. Unlike large “garden” slugs, which are best trapped with shallow dishes of beer, lettuce slugs tend to be so small and numerous that it’s more practical to drench plants with cold, caffeinated coffee or tea at night, when the slimers are active. Caffeine is a neurotoxin that makes slugs writhe to death, but you must get it on them for it to work.

The key to enjoying crisp salad greens is to harvest them early in the day, when the leaves are plumped with water. You can harvest lettuce or mixed salad greens by pulling whole plants, picking individual leaves, or using scissors or a sharp knife to gather handfuls of baby greens. As long as you cut them off one inch above the soil line, the crowns left behind will quickly produce a new flush of leaves. Gather spinach, baby herbs and arugula by pinching off perfect leaves.

Don’t worry if an early freeze sneaks up while your salad patch is in full bore. Until the cold weather passes, throw an old blanket over the plants or cover them with a cardboard box held in place with stones or bricks. With protection, your salad veggies can easily survive several nights in the mid-20s. With luck, you might even have fresh salad greens for your Thanksgiving table. /G

– Award-winning garden writer Barbara Pleasant’s newest book is The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: Essential Know-How for Keeping (Not Killing!) More Than 160 Indoor Plants. E-mail your questions or suggestions for our Sow Hoe department to SowHoe@Grit.com.
The Seeds You Need

The seed racks disappear from many garden centers by midsummer, so you may need to order seeds from a mail-order company. Don’t worry about the wait, because most mail-order companies process and ship orders with remarkable speed. If you already have a favorite mail-order seed company, chances are good that they can provide the seeds you need. The sources listed here offer collections that make choosing seeds for your fall salad patch less confusing.

Kitchen Garden Seeds (CT), 860-567-6086, www.kitchengardenseeds.com. The 'Fall Salad Garden' collection includes packets of 7 great fall salad crops, including a painterly lettuce blend.

Nichols Garden Nursery (OR), 800-422-3985, www.nicholsgardennursery.com; The “Eclectic Eleven” is an economical blend of almost a dozen assorted salad greens.

The Cook’s Garden (PA), 800-457-9703, www.cooksgarden.com. The “Salad Fresh Mesclun Cutting Mix” collection includes six excellent salad greens, including arugula and two red and green lettuce.



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Foods that will save your life no matter what

Foods that will save your life no matter what

Foods that will save your life no matter what
Written by on 25 March 2011

Are you half-dead and on the way down to the dirt? Poisoned and polluted from a lifetime of industrial living? If you eat the average North American diet you are a high candidate for Heart Disease, Cancer, and diabetes.

If you take a steady flow of pharmaceuticals that you can triple your rate of decline down to worm food. Live in a City? Smoke a pack a day? Good as dead.

So how can you come back from the brink?

Mother Nature has the cure.

First thing is first: Go to a health food store and buy Cayenne Pepper and Yellow Turmeric. 1 tea spoon of Cayenne and 1 Table spoon of Turmeric per day to start. Mix them in Olive oil in a glass shooter and start your day out that way. Increase as your tolerance goes up. You just started the most powerful cocktail on the menu. Cayenne and Turmeric are huge in restoring balances in the body and fighting inflammation.

Next we need to get some green into you, welcome to Chlorophyll, buy it in the bottle since 90% of vegetables have very little nutrients in them.
What is chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is actually responsible for the green pigmentation in plants. What does chlorophyll do? Chlorophyll is what absorbs energy from the sun to facilitate photosynthesis in plants. Chlorophyll to plants is like blood to humans. It is important in many plant metabolic functions such as growth and respiration.

Interestingly, chlorophyll is chemically similar in composition to that of human blood, except that the central atom in chlorophyll is magnesium, while iron is central in human blood. This, and the fact that chlorophyll is central in plan metabolism, had prompted scientists to find out if chlorophyll can offer similar benefits to humans. A number of chlorophyll researches have been focused on finding out the potential chlorophyll health benefits in humans.
Health Benefits of Chlorophyll

True enough, chlorophyll has been seen to provide health benefits to those who take them. It has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. Here are some of the known chlorophyll benefits:

• It has been seen to help in the growth and repair of tissues.

• Chlorophyll helps in neutralizing the pollution that we breathe in and intake everyday – a good supplement for smokers

• It efficiently delivers magnesium and helps the blood in carrying the much needed oxygen to all cells and tissues.

• It is also found to be useful in assimilating and chelating calcium and other heavy minerals.

• It had been seen to have a good potential in stimulating red blood cells to improve oxygen supply.

• Along with other vitamins such as A, C and E, chlorophyll has been seen to help neutralize free radicals that do damage to healthy cells.

• Chlorophyll is also an effective deodorizer to reduce bad breath, urine, fecal waste, and body odor.

• It may reduce the ability of carcinogens to bind with the DNA in different major organs in the body.

• Chlorophyll may be useful in treating calcium oxalate stone ailments

• It possesses some anti-atherogenic activity as well.

• It can be used to treat infected wounds naturally.

• These are only a few of the multitude benefits that chlorophyll can do to the body.

• It has antimutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties so that it may be helpful in protecting your body against toxins and in reducing drug side effects.

Now that we have you on Cayenne, Turmeric and Chlorophyll you should be swinging away from an acidic body to a neutral and then slightly Alkaline balance. All disease produces acidosis. Biological death is total acidosis.

Changing the water content and quality inside your cells will take months. Stay on the program. Drink Green tea, lots of it. Cut down the coffee to 1-2 cups a day. Don’t stop smoking… cut back.

Chocolate. Eat as much 80% Cocao as you can. (Easier said than done.)

Get raw cacao beans or chips and chomp away until you get high.

We live in a nutritional desert full of empty but deadly calories. We need good food and lots of it. If you have an insatiable craving it means you need something. Modern chemicals trick us into sucking back deadly amounts of soft drinks, coffee drinks and alcohol to satisfy cravings. Then they pollute use with empty garbage food so we will go back and buy more stimulants.

Seaweed. Kelp, Dulse. If it’s greenish brown and taste salty and it comes from the ocean it will be good for you.In fact it may be the most mineral packing food on the planet.

Eat enough Kelp or seaweed and you can toss out those expensive vitamins you buy. East coast Canadian Dulse is the best. But try all kinds.

I hear you say that you just sucked in a big lung full of radioactive smoke from a Japanese nuclear meltdown. No problem. All that seaweed and kelp is rich in iodine. Now add Artichokes and asparagus to the mix.

Shroom it up.

A grizzly bear will fight for his patch of white pine mushrooms even if a stark raving mad band of drunken hobbits are trying to skin him. He’ll fight to the death… for the mighty Mushroom.

Shiitake, Matsutake, Chantrel,… here’s the rule. As long as it is not poisonous then it is good for you. Some mushrooms cook up as well as a nice steak and have a heavy texture. Pine mushrooms will make you an Adonis.
So there you go. Cayenne and Turmeric. Chlorophyll. Cocoa and Seaweed. Green Tea and Mushrooms. Ad to these things the power of intention and you are on the way to recovery. If you are on the drugs then think of them as good. Pour your positive intent into all things. Yes even the nasty pharmaceuticals. Focus your energy and turn bad to good.


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

LocalHarvest News - March 24, 2011

LocalHarvest News - March 24, 2011

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

Last year I heard a true story that keeps coming back to me as much of the country approaches the beginning of the local fresh produce season. In this story, one mother is considering joining a CSA. She has heard, rightly, that she's likely to receive many vegetables that will be new to her family. So she calls a friend who has been a CSA member for some time, and asks how their family has dealt with the expansion of their vegetable repertoire. "Easy," says the friend. "If we don't know what it is, first we fry it in a little butter. If that doesn't work, we try it with a little Ranch dressing."

Now, I grew up watching a lot of television, including that great series of health education spots that ABC ran in between Saturday mornings cartoons. One was an animated song called "Don't Drown Your Food," in which Our Hero rescues a variety of foods from a surfeit of dressings. "Food's so much better when it's practically plain!" he sings, while pulling a baked potato from a vat of sour cream. Sound advice in the 1970s, and probably even more needed now. The chorus rang in my head when I heard the Ranch dressing story.

Still, I think this story points to a greater truth: we all need to start where we are. If it's a choice between familiar but negligibly nutritious tater tots or kohlrabi dipped in Ranch, I say go for the kohlrabi. That might not be the desired end point, but it's a place to begin. Whether we're trying to eat more vegetables, less meat, better meat, or what have you, I think that a real shot at change starts with two things: being honest about where we are starting from, and acknowledging that most change happens incrementally. These first steps remove the false hope that change is going to happen magically, without effort. Thus freed, we can make a realistic plan for how to get from where we are to where we want to be. Maybe it starts with a schmear of salad dressing on the foreign vegetable, and later moves to ketchup, then salsa, and eventually a little swirl of olive oil makes everybody happy.

Spring is the time when many of us make plans for how we're going to eat this summer, whether we're signing up for a CSA, laying out a garden, or counting the days until the farmers market opens. We say go ahead and be adventurous this year! It will likely be a lot of fun if you start with small changes and build from there. If your family has had success changing its eating patterns for the better, we'd love to hear how you did it. You can post your ideas here.

To Spring and new beginnings!

Eat well, and take good care.

Erin

Erin Barnett
Director
LocalHarvest


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Mushroom Inoculation Classes, RI, MA, PA, NY - April & May 2011





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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

CharCattail



This is an excellent Video about making cjar for fire starting out of materials at hand!


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Friday, March 18, 2011

Saving Money? Not In This Economy – 22 Facts That Prove Middle Class Families Are Being Savagely Crushed

Saving Money? Not In This Economy – 22 Facts That Prove Middle Class Families Are Being Savagely Crushed




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Posted: 17 Mar 2011 07:04 PM PDT


The 22 facts that you are about to read are all real, although admittedly they are hard to believe. The sad truth is that millions of middle class families in the United States today are being savagely crushed by this economy. Most American families would like to be saving money, paying the mortgage and living the American Dream, but with each passing month those things are becoming more difficult. Rapidly rising prices for basic necessities such as food and gas are absolutely crippling the finances of millions of middle class American families right now. How is a family even supposed to make a budget when the average price of gasoline goes up 42 cents a gallon in a single month? What are we all supposed to do when we walk into our supermarkets and find that the old "regular prices" have become the new "sale prices"? Should we all not be deeply concerned that the price of food in the United States went up at the fastest rate in 36 years last month? How are we all supposed to keep our families above the poverty line when the number of good paying jobs keeps shrinking? In America today, being a member of the middle class is like playing a game of musical chairs. You know that they are going to keep pulling chairs out of the game, and you just hope that it is not going to be your turn next.

Sadly, large numbers of Americans do keep falling out of the middle class. The number of Americans on food stamps just keeps increasing every single month. The number of Americans on Medicaid just keeps increasing every single month. The number of American children living in poverty just keeps increasing every single month.

If the U.S. economy is actually getting "better", then why does the middle class keep on shrinking? Everywhere you turn there are families in deep economic pain. Unemployment is rampant and even those families that do have jobs are really struggling to make ends meet as prices rise rapidly.

Unfortunately, the global economy looks like it is going to get even worse. The recent crisis in Japan is going to have a ripple effect across the entire globe. The chaos in the Middle East is certainly not helping things either. It certainly appears that we could be on the verge of another major economic downturn.

And that would not be good news for the U.S. middle class. The truth is that the U.S. middle class has already been hurt enough.

The following are 22 facts that prove that middle class families across America are being savagely crushed by this economy....

#1 Last month food prices in the United States rose at the fastest rate in 36 years.

#2 The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is now $3.55. That represents an increase of 42 cents a gallon in just one month.

#3 According to the Oil Price Information Service, U.S. drivers spent an average of $347 on gasoline during the month of February, which was 30 percent more than a year earlier.

#4 According to the U.S. Energy Department, the average U.S. household will spend approximately $700 more on gasoline in 2011 than it did during 2010.

#5 According to the U.S. Labor Department, the cost of living in the United States is higher than it ever has been before. The "Chained Consumer Price Index" hit a new all-time high during the month of February.

#6 During this most recent economic downturn, employee compensation in the United States has been the lowest that it has been relative to gross domestic product in over 50 years.

#7 When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971.

#8 For most middle class American families, their homes are their most valuable financial assets. Since the real estate peak, U.S. home values have fallen by a staggering 6.3 trillion dollars.

#9 In 2010, for the first time ever more than a million U.S. families lost their homes to foreclosure, and that number is expected to go even higher in 2011.

#10 Two years ago, the average U.S. homeowner that was being foreclosed upon had not made a mortgage payment in 11 months. Today, the average U.S. homeowner that is being foreclosed upon has not made a mortgage payment in 17 months.

#11 Approximately half of all American workers make $25,000 a year or less.

#12 Approximately one-third of all Americans have no savings and no retirement funds.

#13 As 2007 began, only about 26 million Americans were on food stamps, but today over 44 million Americans are now on food stamps.

#14 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#15 Only 47 percent of working-age Americans have a full-time job at this point.

#16 Many American families would love to be saving money, but the reality is that a huge percentage of them are drowning in credit card debt. Total U.S. credit card debt is more than 8 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.

#17 The CredAbility Consumer Distress Index, which measures the average financial condition of U.S. households, declined in every single quarter in 2010.

#18 Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income. In China, average household debt is only 17% of average household income.

#19 There are currently more than 4 million Americans that have been unemployed for more than a year.

#20 The U.S. economy now has 10 percent fewer "middle class jobs" than it did just ten years ago.

#21 The average CEO now makes approximately 185 times more money than the average American worker.

#22 According to the U.S. Census, the number of children living in poverty has gone up by about 2 million in just the past 2 years.

Do you need any more evidence that the middle class in the United States is being ripped apart?

The days of wine and roses are over. The foolish economic policies of the last several decades are now starting to catch up with us and that is going to mean even more economic pain for the middle class.

If you are still part of the middle class, you should be very thankful, because more middle class Americans are falling into poverty every single day.

Gmail - The Latest From The American Dream - cityhomesteader@gmail.com

Gmail - The Latest From The American Dream - cityhomesteader@gmail.com

aving Money? Not In This Economy – 22 Facts That Prove Middle Class Families Are Being Savagely Crushed

Posted: 17 Mar 2011 07:04 PM PDT


The 22 facts that you are about to read are all real, although admittedly they are hard to believe. The sad truth is that millions of middle class families in the United States today are being savagely crushed by this economy. Most American families would like to be saving money, paying the mortgage and living the American Dream, but with each passing month those things are becoming more difficult. Rapidly rising prices for basic necessities such as food and gas are absolutely crippling the finances of millions of middle class American families right now. How is a family even supposed to make a budget when the average price of gasoline goes up 42 cents a gallon in a single month? What are we all supposed to do when we walk into our supermarkets and find that the old "regular prices" have become the new "sale prices"? Should we all not be deeply concerned that the price of food in the United States went up at the fastest rate in 36 years last month? How are we all supposed to keep our families above the poverty line when the number of good paying jobs keeps shrinking? In America today, being a member of the middle class is like playing a game of musical chairs. You know that they are going to keep pulling chairs out of the game, and you just hope that it is not going to be your turn next.

Sadly, large numbers of Americans do keep falling out of the middle class. The number of Americans on food stamps just keeps increasing every single month. The number of Americans on Medicaid just keeps increasing every single month. The number of American children living in poverty just keeps increasing every single month.

If the U.S. economy is actually getting "better", then why does the middle class keep on shrinking? Everywhere you turn there are families in deep economic pain. Unemployment is rampant and even those families that do have jobs are really struggling to make ends meet as prices rise rapidly.

Unfortunately, the global economy looks like it is going to get even worse. The recent crisis in Japan is going to have a ripple effect across the entire globe. The chaos in the Middle East is certainly not helping things either. It certainly appears that we could be on the verge of another major economic downturn.

And that would not be good news for the U.S. middle class. The truth is that the U.S. middle class has already been hurt enough.

The following are 22 facts that prove that middle class families across America are being savagely crushed by this economy....

#1 Last month food prices in the United States rose at the fastest rate in 36 years.

#2 The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is now $3.55. That represents an increase of 42 cents a gallon in just one month.

#3 According to the Oil Price Information Service, U.S. drivers spent an average of $347 on gasoline during the month of February, which was 30 percent more than a year earlier.

#4 According to the U.S. Energy Department, the average U.S. household will spend approximately $700 more on gasoline in 2011 than it did during 2010.

#5 According to the U.S. Labor Department, the cost of living in the United States is higher than it ever has been before. The "Chained Consumer Price Index" hit a new all-time high during the month of February.

#6 During this most recent economic downturn, employee compensation in the United States has been the lowest that it has been relative to gross domestic product in over 50 years.

#7 When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971.

#8 For most middle class American families, their homes are their most valuable financial assets. Since the real estate peak, U.S. home values have fallen by a staggering 6.3 trillion dollars.

#9 In 2010, for the first time ever more than a million U.S. families lost their homes to foreclosure, and that number is expected to go even higher in 2011.

#10 Two years ago, the average U.S. homeowner that was being foreclosed upon had not made a mortgage payment in 11 months. Today, the average U.S. homeowner that is being foreclosed upon has not made a mortgage payment in 17 months.

#11 Approximately half of all American workers make $25,000 a year or less.

#12 Approximately one-third of all Americans have no savings and no retirement funds.

#13 As 2007 began, only about 26 million Americans were on food stamps, but today over 44 million Americans are now on food stamps.

#14 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#15 Only 47 percent of working-age Americans have a full-time job at this point.

#16 Many American families would love to be saving money, but the reality is that a huge percentage of them are drowning in credit card debt. Total U.S. credit card debt is more than 8 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.

#17 The CredAbility Consumer Distress Index, which measures the average financial condition of U.S. households, declined in every single quarter in 2010.

#18 Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income. In China, average household debt is only 17% of average household income.

#19 There are currently more than 4 million Americans that have been unemployed for more than a year.

#20 The U.S. economy now has 10 percent fewer "middle class jobs" than it did just ten years ago.

#21 The average CEO now makes approximately 185 times more money than the average American worker.

#22 According to the U.S. Census, the number of children living in poverty has gone up by about 2 million in just the past 2 years.

Do you need any more evidence that the middle class in the United States is being ripped apart?

The days of wine and roses are over. The foolish economic policies of the last several decades are now starting to catch up with us and that is going to mean even more economic pain for the middle class.

If you are still part of the middle class, you should be very thankful, because more middle class Americans are falling into poverty every single day.


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Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Mushroom Madness

March Mushroom Madness
Sunday, March 20, 2011


This wonderful event is our season kick-off, and this year’s program is stellar! March Mushroom Madness is an annual event and is open to the public for all the morning’s schedule. Admission is $5.00 per person. And look at this line up!

9:30 – 10:00 am Social time, coffee etc., Get your bearings and check out the goodie tables (raffles, auctions, tag sale)

10:00 – 11:00am Our guest speaker - - GREG MARLEY (woohoo!) will be speaking on Medicinal Mushrooms of the Northeast. Greg is a transplant from New Mexico to Maine, and has been ‘shrooming since the early 70s. Though technically an amateur, he has been called an expert for decades, has written two books, and consults for the Northern New England Poison Control Center, and for various hospitals. He will have his books available for purchase.

End the Public Participation segment and Begin the Members Meeting

11:45 - - Commence Business Meeting

12:00 – 1:30pm Potluck Lunch OK Newbies, this Potluck sets the bar mighty high! It’s worth joining CVMS just for this fantastic feast!

Hope to see you Sunday, and at many Forays to come.

Woozie Wikfors, Membership Secretary

…………………………………………………………………………

SESSIONS WOODS WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA, BURLINGTON

Sessions Woods Education Center facility is on Route 69 In Burlington.

From the North: Take Rt.4 to the junction with Rt.69 ln Burlington. Proceed south on Rt.69 toward Bristol about 3 mi. Sessions Woods is on the right just north of the Bristol line, and is well marked with signs. Proceed to large parking area in front of main building.

From the South: take US6 to junction with Rt.69 in Bristol. Stay on Rt.69 about 3 mi. to reach the Sessions Woods facility.


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2011 Best Planting Dates for Seeds for New Haven, Connecticut

2011 Best Planting Dates for Seeds for New Haven, Connecticut


2011 Best Planting Dates for Seeds for New Haven, Connecticut


When determining the best planting dates for seeds, the date of the last spring frost is important to your success. NOTE: Our chart calculates U.S. frost dates only, based on historical data. Other factors can also influence planting dates, including soil temperature, altitude and slope of land, nearby waters, and day length. Keep records of your garden's conditions each year to plan more accurately.

* Seeds for plants with a long growing season should be started indoors during the periods shown below.
* Seeds for plants sown in the ground should be planted during the periods shown.
* When no dates appear in the chart, that starting method is not recommended for the particular vegetable.

Planting by the Moon?

Above-ground crops are planted during the light of the Moon (new to full); below-ground crops are planted during the dark of the Moon (from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again). Planting is done in the daytime; planting at night is optional!


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Peas: Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Pea Plants

Peas: Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Pea Plants
The Old Farmer's Almanac
Home » Gardening
Peas


Botanical name: Pisum sativum, Pisum macrocarpon

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Soil pH: Neutral


Peas are a cool-season crop, now coming in three separate varieties to suit your garden and cooking needs. They are: Pisum savitum, which includes both garden peas (sweet pea, inedible pod) and snow peas (edible flat pod with small peas inside) and Pisum macrocarpon, snap peas (edible pod with full-size peas). They are easy to grow, but with a very limited growing season. Furthermore, they do not stay fresh long after harvest, so enjoy them while you can!
Planting

* To get the best head start, turn over your pea planting beds in the fall, add manure to the soil, and mulch well.
* As with other legumes, pea roots will fix nitrogen in the soil, making it available for other plants.
* Peas will appreciate a good sprinkling of wood ashes to the soil before planting.
* Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost, when soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F.
* Plant 1 inch deep (deeper if soil is dry) and 2 inches apart.
* Get them in the ground while the soil is still cool but do not have them sit too long in wet soil. It's a delicate balance of proper timing and weather conditions. For soil that stays wet longer, invest in raised beds.
* A blanket of snow won't hurt emerging pea plants, but several days with temperatures in the teens could. Be prepared to plant again.
* Peas are best grown in temperatures below 70 degrees F.

Care

* Make sure that you have well-drained, humus-rich soil.
* Poke in any seeds that wash out. (A chopstick is an ideal tool for this.)
* Be sure, too, that you don't fertilize the soil too much. Peas are especially sensitive to too much nitrogen, but they may like a little bonemeal, for the phosphorus content.
* Though adding compost or manure to the soil won't hurt, peas don't need heavy doses of fertilizer. They like phosphorus and potassium.
* Water sparsely unless the plants are wilting. Do not let plants dry out, or no pods will be produced.
* For tall and vine varieties, establish poles or a trellis at time of planting.
* Do not hoe around plants to avoid disturbing fragile roots.
* It's best to rotate pea crops every year or two to avoid a buildup of soil-borne diseases.

Pests

* Aphids
* Mexican Bean Beetles
* Fusarium Wilt

Harvest/Storage

* Keep your peas well picked to encourage more pods to develop.
* Pick peas in the morning after the dew has dried. They are crispiest then.
* Always use two hands when you pick peas. Secure the vine with one hand and pull the peas off with your other hand.
* Peas can be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Place in paper bags, then wrap in plastic.
* If you missed your peas' peak period, you can still pick, dry, and shell them for use in winter soups.

Recommended Varieties

* ‘Snowbird’ (snow pea), resistant to fusarium wilt
* ‘Sugar Ann’ (snap pea), early variety, short vine
* ‘Green Arrow’ (garden pea), mid-season variety, high yields, resistant to fusarium wilt




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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Can The Japanese Tsunami Teach Us About Prepping For Disasters And Emergencies?

What Can The Japanese Tsunami Teach Us About Prepping For Disasters And Emergencies?

The Japanese tsunami is a crystal clear example of just how unpredictable disasters and emergencies can be. Nobody ever dreamed that a tsunami in Japan could wash cars, homes and people up to 6 miles inland. But that is exactly what happened. So while it is great to make elaborate preparations for potential disasters and emergencies, it is also absolutely essential to have backup plans. After all, what good is all of that emergency food that you have stored up going to do if a massive tsunami comes along and rips your house off the foundation and deposits it into the sea? Not that all of us shouldn't be busy prepping. Of course we should be. All over Japan right now the supermarkets are being stripped bare. Don't you think that many of those people are wishing that they had stored up some food? It is those that prepare that have the best chance of surviving disasters and emergencies. No plan is foolproof, but having a plan is much better than not having a plan.

For example, there are lots of people in Japan right now that are wishing that they would have stored up at least a bit of fresh water to drink. There are homes in Japan that are still completely surrounded by saltwater from the tsunami, and if those homes do not have running water at this point then the people inside are going to get thirsty really quick.

Of course bottled water flew off store shelves all over Japan in the aftermath of the tsunami. Now it is becoming very difficult to find.

But there are thousands and thousands of homes in Japan that do not have running water right now.

So what are they supposed to do?

Thankfully there are a lot of aid agencies that are working really hard to help the Japanese out. Hopefully everyone that needs water and food will be able to get them.

Have you seen video of the empty supermarkets in Japan?

That can happen someday in America too.

In the United States, even a minor snowstorm can cause a run on the supermarkets in many areas. If a major league disaster or emergency ever hit the food in the stores would be gone really quickly.

So do you have food stored up for you and your family?

Another huge lesson that we can learn from the Japanese tsunami is that a disaster in one area of the world can have a ripple affect across the globe.

For example, it has now become incredibly difficult to find supplies of potassium iodide anywhere in the United States.

In fact, in many areas even finding iodine or kelp has become problematic.

So what are the people that don't have these things going to do if nuclear radiation becomes a problem?

They are just going to have to suffer.

That is the way it is with disasters and emergencies. If you have not prepared ahead of time there is a good chance that you are simply going to be out of luck.

You see, millions of Americans have not become preppers just because they didn't have anything better to do.

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable. Our financial system is crumbling. Our society is crumbling. The earth itself is crumbling.

Those that are not doing anything to prepare are rather foolish.

Many of those that laugh at preppers are the same people that have health insurance, car insurance, home insurance, boat insurance, motorcycle insurance, disability insurance, travel insurance and business insurance.

But they won't lift a finger to get some "food insurance" for themselves and their families because that is what "preppers" and "conspiracy theorists" do.

Well, a whole lot of people in Japan wish that they had been "preppers" just about now.

Not that preppers always come out on top either. As the tsunami is Japan, demonstrated, if a major disaster hits right where you live your home may not make it.

The truth is that all of us always need to be ready to "bug out" at any time.

If you got word that your town was about to face a major league emergency, where would you go?

That is something to think about.

It is also a good reason why we should all be encouraging our family and friends in other areas of the country to be storing up food and supplies. You never know when you might have to depend on them for help.

The truth is that none of us should ever be too proud to ask for help. Many survivalists sit back and brag about all of the guns and beans they have stored up, but if their house was swept away by a disaster what would they be forced to do?

They would be forced to turn to someone else for help.

The reality is that we all need a little assistance from time to time. Don't be too proud to give some help and don't be too proud to ask for some help.

So what are some things that all of us can be doing right now to start preparing for disasters and emergencies?

Well, in a previous article I listed a few things that can be done by most people....

#1 Become Less Dependent On Your Job

#2 Get Out Of Debt

#3 Reduce Expenses

#4 Purchase Land

#5 Learn To Grow Food

#6 Find A Reliable Source Of Water

#7 Explore Alternative Energy Sources

#8 Store Supplies

#9 Protect Your Assets With Gold And Silver

#10 Learn Self-Defense

#11 Keep Yourself Fit

#12 Make Friends

That last point is very important. It is key to have a network of friends and family around the country that you could depend upon in a pinch.

For example, whoever would have imagined that nuclear radiation from Japan could potentially be a threat to those living along the west coast of the United States?

Hopefully what the government is telling us is true. Hopefully the amount of radiation that makes it over the Pacific will not be enough to seriously harm any of us, but it just shows that someday a crisis may arise that could require people to flee to another area.

So if someday a crisis like that arises, where would you and your family go?

When it comes to preparing for the worst, flexibility is the key.

And preparing for the worst does not have to be complicated. When you go to the store, pick up a couple extra items that you see on sale and store them away. Learn to grow a garden. Read blogs about prepping. Talk with your family and friends about what they would do in an emergency.

One of the keys is for all of us to learn from each other. None of us has all the answers.

The world can be a very cold, cruel place. Millions of people in Japan are finding that out right about now.

Someday you and your family could be caught right in the middle of a major crisis. When that happens, will you have plenty of food, water and supplies stored up or will you be scrambling to survive?

As the Japanese tsunami has shown, disaster can strike anywhere and at any time. The United States is certainly not immune.

Someday it will be our turn.

Will you be ready?


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Food Storage as Grandma Knew It
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/06/garden/06root.html

Food Storage as Grandma Knew It
By MICHAEL TORTORELLO

IN a strictly technical sense, Cynthia Worley is not transforming her basement into a time machine. Yet what’s going on this harvest season beneath her Harlem brownstone on 122nd Street, at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, is surely something out of the past — or perhaps the future.

The space itself is nothing special: Whitewashed granite walls run the width and depth of the room, 16 feet by 60 feet. A forgotten owner tried to put in a cement floor, but the dirt, which takes a long-term view of things, is stubbornly coming back. “It’s basically a sod floor,” Ms. Worley said.

What’s important is that the shelves are sturdy, because Ms. Worley and her husband, Haja Worley, will soon load them with 20 pounds of potatoes, 20 pounds of onions, 30 pounds of butternut and acorn squash, 10 heads of cabbage, 60-odd pints of home-canned tomatoes and preserves, 9 gallons of berry and fruit wines, and another gallon or two of mulberry vinegar.

The goodies in the pint jars and the carboys come from the Joseph Daniel Wilson Memorial Garden, which the Worleys founded across the street. The fresh produce is a huge final delivery from a Community Supported Agriculture farm in Orange County, which they used all summer. Packed in sand and stored at 55 degrees, the potatoes should keep at least until the New Year. The squash could still be palatable on Groundhog Day, and the onions should survive till spring. Ms. Worley, who counsels and teaches adults for the New York City Department of Education, and Mr. Worley, a neighborhood organizer and radio engineer, will let their basement-deprived friends store vegetables, too.

The Worleys, like a number of other Americans, have made the seemingly anachronistic choice to turn their basement into a root cellar. While Ms. Worley’s brownstone basement stash won’t feed the couple through the winter, she said, “I think it’s a healthy way to go and an economical way.”

According to a September survey on consumer anxieties over higher fuel and food prices from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University in Ames, 34 percent of respondents said that they were likely to raise more of their own vegetables. Another 37 percent said they were likely to can or freeze more of their food. The cousin to canning and freezing is the root cellar.

“I’ve been doing local food work for a long time,” said Rich Pirog, associate director of the Leopold Center, who conducted the study. “And I’m seeing an increase in articles in various sustainable ag newsletters about root cellaring.”

According to Bruce Butterfield, the research director for the National Gardening Association, a trade group, home food preservation typically increases in a rotten economy. In 2002, the close of the last mild recession, 29 million households bought supplies for freezing, drying, processing and canning. Last year that number stood at only 22 million — a figure Mr. Butterfield said he expects to rise rapidly.

Root cellars have long been the province of Midwestern grandmothers, back-to-the-landers and committed survivalists. But given the nation’s budding romance with locally produced food, they also appeal to the backyard gardener, who may have a fruit tree that drops a bigger bounty every year while the refrigerator remains the same size.

While horticulture may be a science, home food storage definitely can carry the stench of an imperfect art. According to the essential 1979 book, “Root Cellaring,” by Mike and Nancy Bubel, some items like cabbage and pears do best in a moist environment below 40 degrees (though above freezing). To achieve this, a cellar probably needs to be vented, or have windows that open. Winter squash and sweet potatoes should be kept dry and closer to 50 degrees — perhaps closer to the furnace.

Other rules of root cellaring sound more like molecular gastronomy. For example, the ethylene gas that apples give off will make carrots bitter. As a general principle, keeping produce in a cool chamber that is beneath the frost line — the depth, roughly four feet down, below which the soil doesn’t freeze — can slow both the normal process of ripening and the creeping spread of bacterial and fungal rot. These are the forces that will turn a lost tomato in the back of the cupboard into a little lagoon of noxious goo.

But if you leave that green tomato on a vine and drape it upside down, it will gradually turn red in three or four weeks. “I’ve had fresh tomatoes for Thanksgiving,” said Jito Coleman, an environmental engineer who practices the inverted tomato — which should be a yoga pose — in a root cellar he built in the house he designed in Warren, Vt.

People who squirrel away vegetables tend to be resourceful, and they do not limit themselves to the subterranean. Anna Barnes, who runs a small media company and coordinates the Prairieland Community Supported Agriculture in Champaign, Ill., says squash hung in a pair of knotted pantyhose stay unspoiled longer than others.

Here, the cold is optional, too. It’s the bruising that comes from a squash sitting on a hard countertop, she said, that speeds senescence. (“You wouldn’t want to do it in the guest closet,” Ms. Barnes said. Or, presumably, wear the pantyhose again.)

Taken to a do-it-yourself extreme, lots of places can become stockrooms. Margaret Christie has surrendered countless nooks in her 1845 Federal-style home in tiny downtown Whately, Mass., to laying away the crops she grows in the family’s half-acre vegetable plot. Ms. Christie, 44, a projects director for Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, a nonprofit that supports community farming in western Massachusetts, also feeds her husband and three children from their milk goats, laying hens, pigpens and lamb pastures.

This year, she swapped a lamb for 40 pounds of sweet potatoes, 40 pounds of onions and 40 pounds of carrots from a neighbor’s farm. This cornucopia has colonized the basement, along with the family’s own potatoes. “They’re sitting next to the Ping-Pong table,” she said, in “five-gallon buckets with window screens for the lids.”

Onions, garlic and pumpkins dwell in an uninsulated attic — except in midwinter, when that space drops below freezing. Then the vegetables move into the guest bedroom. If that space has already been claimed, they occasionally hide out under the bed of her 11-year-old son. Their homegrown popcorn kernels have a way of turning up everywhere, courtesy of the neighborhood mice, who have developed their own taste for locally grown year-round produce.

The contemporary American, for whom a pizza delivery is seldom more than a phone call away, is an oddity in the annals of eating. Elizabeth Cromley, a professor of architectural history at Northeastern University, said that at one time, “just about every house had special facilities for preserving food.”

Professor Cromley has finished a book called “The Food Axis: Cooking, Eating, and the Architecture of American Houses,” which is to be published by the University of Virginia Press in 2010. She said that understanding food preservation is not a frivolous pursuit. More than 400 books instructed 19th-century Americans on how to plan a functional house, with a practical larder, basement and outbuildings, she said. “You’re not going to die if you don’t get a new dress,” she said, “but if you don’t know this, it will kill you.”

Harriet Fasenfest, 55, who lives in Portland, Ore., has been playing with her food for a long time. A semiretired restaurateur, she started “hacking up” her small city lot in the Alberta Art District to grow food. (Her husband asked, “Where will we play Frisbee?” and Ms. Fasenfest replied, “The park.”) She also teaches classes on canning and created the Web site portlandpreserve.com.

There is no digging a dry refuge from the seep and suck of a Portland winter. So in lieu of a traditional cellar, she applies the scientific method. “Last year I tried an experiment with four different varieties of apples,” she said, “to see how long it took them to rot. So I put them in a box in my shed and then they rotted. It worked!”

When she’s not filling her 10-foot-by-10-foot shed, she experiments in the cubbyholes that sit alongside the outdoor cellar stairs. Copra onions, Ms. Fasenfest has found, store better than Walla Wallas. An indoor heating vent can cure butternut squash so effectively that it can probably last in cold storage until the economy turns around (whenever that is).

Nevertheless, even those who rhapsodize about the pleasures of eating locally grown food year-round have to admit that the effort doesn’t always seem worthwhile. Ms. Fasenfest has been forced to conclude that the labor that went into growing and storing the 30 pounds of russet potatoes now beneath the stairwell was not really adequate to the reward. “If we had to survive off of those,” she said, “we’d be dead.”
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4 very simple do it yourself root cellar ideas!

4 very simple do it yourself root cellar ideas!

The biggest challenge, at least for me, with gardening is preserving the harvest. It makes me sick to think of the amount of food I have let go to waste through not having these skills. Root cellaring is something I am looking at hard as it is a no impact way to store food. It uses the earth to maintain the freshness of the crops stored within.



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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Harvest to Table - A practical guide to food in the garden and market

Harvest to Table - A practical guide to food in the garden and market
Tomato Seed Starting

The optimal seed starting temperature for tomatoes is between 70°F to 80°F Seed will germinate best where the bottom temperature is about 85°F.

Tomato seeds can be started in pots, peat pellets, or flats. Be sure there are holes in the bottom for drainage.

Use a sterilized planter mix. A sterilized, pasteurized soil, or commercial seed starting mix will be free of weeds and fungi that cause seedlings to collapse and die.

You can pasteurize your own garden soil: bake the soil in a shallow pan at 200F for an hour or two (smell will be bad). If you place a potato in the oven with the soil, the soil will be sterilized when the potato has baked.

To make you own seed starting mix, combine equal parts sand, vermiculite or perlite, and peat moss.

Treat seed saved from last year's garden for disease resistance. Soak the seed in a mixture of water-soluble fertilizer for two hours before planting. This seed will be heavier rooted and healthier. Most commercial seed has been treated.

If you sow seed in 3- to 4-inch clay or peat pots, fill the pots to ½ inch from the top.
Thoroughly moisten the seed starting mix before sowing to make sure it is not dry below the surface.

Sow seed ¼ to 1/3 inch deep; space seeds 1 inch apart. As a general rule, sow seed three times the depth as the width of the seed.

Sow twice as many seeds as you need plants so that you can later choose from the strongest seedlings.

Do not sow too deeply otherwise the seed may rot before it germinates.

Firm the seeds into the soil with a piece of wood or flat object; then add a thin layer about ¼ inch of moist soil mix over the seeds and level it and firm again. This will bring seeds into good contact with the soil which is important for germination.

Keep the seed starting mix or soil moist but not wet after sowing; gently water with a fine spray being careful not to wash away seed.

Seeds can be started in bright window or under lights set about 2 inches above the plants.

Maintain soil temperature between 75°F and 85°F; seeds will germinate in 7 to 10 days. To maintain an even soil temperature, use a propagating mat or rubberized "electric blanket" placed under starting pots, flats, or trays.

Place the seed-starting container inside a clear plastic bag or tent or cover the container tightly with a plastic sheet to retain moisture and warmth until the seeds germinate. You can also lay a piece of newspaper on the containers until seedlings emerge. To germinate seeds require warmth and moisture, not light.

Remove the plastic bag or sheet when seeds emerge.

When seedlings emerge, give them full sunshine or place them under grow lights. You can use two 48-inch, 40 watt fluorescent tubes placed a few inches above the seedlings. These can be supplemented with a couple of incandescent bulbs to provide the "red light" that growing plants need. Keep lights on sixteen hours a day when using fluorescent lights.

Set plants an inch or two below the fluorescent tubes and maintain that distance as the plants grow. If plants are too far away they will stretch and develop thin, weak stems. Plants must have lights off at least 8 hours a day to grow strong.

Check seedlings every day as they grow. Be sure to keep grow lights at a constant distance above the seedlings.

Seedlings growing in a window should be turned every day so that they do not develop a permanent lean--heliotropism means growing towards the sun.

Keep seedlings near a constant 70°F; temperature greater than 70°F may produce tall, spindly sprouts. Windowsills may get hot during the day and cold at night; seedlings grow best if kept at an even temperature.

Keep the soil moist, but not wet. Water or mist plants gently to avoid washing them out. Use room temperature water.

Do not fertilize seedlings right away; wait a week or two or until the first repotting, then mix in a small amount of balanced, water-soluble fertilizer in the plants' water.

Seedlings grow best when day time temperatures are between 70°F and 75°F during the day and between 60°F and 65°F during the night.

Seeds can be started in a coldframe--a glass- or plastic-covered box, heated by solar radiation as long as the temperatures remain warm enough for germination and growth. Seedlings growing in a coldframe or greenhouse should receive 12 hours of sunlight each day.



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