March 23, 2019

Seed Starting, Soil Test Results, and Business Updates


YAY! It’s officially spring! Cue Mother Nature’s crazy mood swings! Over this past week, we’ve had everything from beautiful sunny days to snow on the ground. Again! On one of the nicer days I was able to get a bit of work done outside. I managed to do some weeding, and sow dill and chamomile seeds. Hey, I even noticed some of my California poppies had germinated! Woohoo! So in that case, the snow was a good thing this morning. (I suppose. Sigh.) It watered all my seeds for me.

Speaking of seed starting, it’s time to do the next round! I got some peat moss—finally!—and have everything else to make a mix for soil blocking. If you are unfamiliar with that method, rather than using plastic trays or peat pellets to plant your seeds into, you mix up some very wet soil and pack into metal forms. When you push the plunger, soil blocks are formed. Each has a depression in the top for the seed. The ones I want to use this year are tiny—3/4” square is all. However, I took a seed starting course from Lisa Ziegler—flower farmer and author extraordinaire—and that’s what she uses for nearly everything.

I remembered to take a picture at the last minute!

Just today I got my snapdragons sown into the soil blocks, as well as the rest of my carnations. I also got some gladiolus planted, in a tub. My son drilled drainage holes all around the bottom of it first. Gladiolus are yet another type of bulb that can’t stand our winters, so will need to be lifted out and stored. I’m not a big fan of that. In a tub, I can just let the whole thing dry out and put it in the garage or something over the winter. At least, that’s the plan!



I received the results of my basic soil test. My soil PH is 7.5, which is alkaline—not a surprise for this area. I learned that raspberries tend to like a lower PH, of 6.0-7.0, so I’m planning to mulch the raspberry row with pine needles and see if that helps them thrive a bit more. Pine needles are acidic, so I’m hoping that does the trick. They have really struggled!

My Phosphorus levels were listed as “very high” and Potassium as “high.” Salinity normal. So, from what I looked at, high phosphorus levels usually mean to much manure used on the garden. I think we did use composted steer manure last year. Other than not using that again, I’m still not exactly sure what to do about that reading.

I plan to order soil amendments soon. I need them here, so I can get them spread on the garden and then at the first break in the weather—Till, Baby, Till! In related news, it’s supposed to rain and snow all weekend. So I may need to pinch back my sweet peas again to last under the lights until I can finally get them outside.

The Other

It has been a great week with the business side of things. I finally got some business cards designed and ordered. For some reason, this has been a long, slightly overwhelming process for me, but I finally got ‘er done! Part of it was some advice from my brother, who is also an entrepreneur. He told me that it doesn’t have to be The One and Perfect Card from the get-go. Get something made, and order a lower amount (I got 250), knowing that as my business evolves, my business card will too. It was the kick in the pants I needed to move forward with it.

I also attended a free business class put on by our Small Business Development Center here in town. It was all about “Planning for Growth.” One big take-away for me was to have a 3 year and 5 year plan and be very specific. You want a new workspace? Great! How many square feet? What color will the carpet be? Put specific numbers to your plan, otherwise it’s just a wish.

Another thing I’m excited about is my email newsletter: Bluebird News! I chose an email marketing site, and have started building my subscriber list. Yay! I have so much I would love to share with you all! Bluebird News will go out every 2 weeks, and will include tips for growing, harvesting, and arranging cut flowers. I published the first issue this week and am already working on the next!

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On the home front, we’ve had the stomach flu going around. My 6 year old came down with it yesterday. So far me and my oldest are the only ones unscathed. Crossing my fingers that it stays that way!

So, how has your week been? Has spring truly sprung in your neck of the woods?

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