Posts Tagged ‘garden’

DIY Garden Markers

I had a hard time finding good markers (or enough of them) so I figured why not just make some? I racked my brain and came up with a simple and fast solution.

You will need:

  • Large dairy container tub(s) (cottage cheese, butter, yogurt, etc)
  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper (optional but beneficial for long-term markers)
  • Permanent Marker with fine or medium tip (We like Sharpee)

Dairy Container

Begin making cuts from the top to the base as shown below (these cuts should be spaced as wide as you would like each marker, be sure to leave enogh room to write on):

Make Vertical Cuts

 Cut full-circle around base to seperate your markers.

Seperating Markers

 

 Cut ends into v shape

Snipping Corners

Garden Marker

I lightly sandpaper the area I plan to write on. This removes the shiny finish and makes your permanent writing more permanent. If this is for indoor plants you may not need to buff. If wet soil could get splashed up on your writing, it will fade over time (1-2 months) if not sandpapered. Those saving seed from multiple varities of similar plants like tomatoes will want to buff their markers. I can use unbuffed markers in a freshly planted garden and theybegin fading out about the time the varieties are big enough to discern. I have a few dozen tomato plants and some look similar so I make sure those are buffed. It really only takes a second so why not?

Sandpapered Markers

Whip out that sharpee

Marked

 

Yes, you can even use the lid

Remove Lip

 

Cut and V Tips

Enjoy!!

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Squash Seed Preservation Techniques

 
There are many ways to keep seed pure. We use caging techniques  in our garden, but it’s so large that caging is sometimes unrealistic or cumbersome with some varieties.
 
Taping some varieties of plants you intend to self-pollinate (for saving pure seed) may be a good idea for your garden.
 
 
 

Flower Taping

Above is a taped female blossom from a Butternut Squash plant. Notice the ovary (which will later become fruit). Male flowers are on a straight stem that contain no ovary.  Every morning I check for blossoms that will open the following day (You can see them cracking open, exposing a tiny bit of color). I tape these (male and female) to ensure I get to them before Mr. Bee does. The tape is ripped off along with the tip of the flower the following day and pollinated.
To pollinate, pick several male flowers and pick the petals off, exposing the anthers which are covered in pollen. You then rub several male anthers onto the females stigma and then tape the female shut again to ensure insects do not visit, introducing a cross pollen from your neighbor’s garden. This tape falls off with the flower as it dies. I then tie a bright piece of surveyor tape below the ovary. When harvest time rolls around I will only save seed from the marked veggies, as I know they will be pure. Vegetables that are going to be eaten and not saved for seed, do not have to be covered or self pollinated.
 
Many plants can be eaten and saved for seed (think tomato)  but others require over-ripening on the vine for good seed collection. Most squash seeds benefit from over-ripening (approx. 20 days after fruit is ripe) . It makes them hardier and disease resistant, giving your next years crop a wonderful start. Of course the over-ripening process kind of stinks because many squash (depending on variety) will be squishy at this point and un-edible. Winter squash like Butternut will remain nice and firm allowing you to collect seed and still enjoy the fruit. Other varieties like summer squash saved for seed will generally be mush by this point.
 
Self pollination should be practiced on the first sets of fruit as these are the best for saving.
What’s in your garden this year?