GEARING UP FOR THE GARDENING SEASON/SANITIZING TRAYS AND SEED STARTING EQUIPMENT

WASHED AND SANITIZED SEED TRAYS, SOIL BLOCK INSERTS AND CELL CONTAINERS

I just completed one of my least favorite gardening activities; washing and sanitizing seed trays and inserts. My wife Catherine hates it as well. I take over her kitchen on sanitizing day, for the whole day. I own the sink, the counter next to the sink, the island top and 24 square feet of floor space. I would love to have a full function potting shed with hot water, long waterproof counters, a half bath and a quality music playback system. OK. I don’t have that. I make due.

I lay down a contractor sized trash bag on the counter, lay a large towel on top of that and place a large tray (20″ x 30″ x 6″) on top of that. If fill the large tray with a water/bleach solution with a 9/1 water/bleach ratio.

I first wash each piece in soapy water, rinse and dry. Then, I soak each piece for ten minutes in the water/bleach solution. In order to save time, I soak both a tray and an insert at the same time. After drying off, my stuff is ready to rock.

Are you tired yet? I know that I am. Note to self: Research an easier way to do this.

I use a quart size measuring cup full of water to weigh down the trays and inserts

I try to look at this exercise philosophically. This is the test you have to pass every year to prove your resolve and passion for gardening. Weeding sucks just as bad as sanitizing trays. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” , right? Are you a gardener or not? It’s not all veggies, fruit and flowers.

Part of the process is the triage operation of repairing minor holes and cracks in the trays.  Shoe Goo for the holes and duct tape for the cracks works pretty well.  Trays in the worst condition get tossed.

ONE MORE THING:  I just found a cheap source for heavy duty 1020 seedling trays.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been disappointed with the quality of the 1020 trays that I purchase from my local garden center and Coop.  I will let you know what I think.  Until then,  get it going.  Gardening season is here, now.

All the best,

Greg Garnache

 

A GREEN HARVEST JUST IN TIME FOR SAINT PATRICK’S DAY

A GREEN HARVEST JUST IN TIME FOR SAINT PATRICK’S DAY

The last couple of weeks have been mostly wet and muddy. We have been fortunate the last few days to have dry conditions which made it possible to spend some time in the vegetable garden. There’s not much going on out there except for the mache patch that I have growing in a small low plastic tunnel.

THE LOW TUNNEL WHERE I GROW MY MACHE

I was able to harvest enough mache to add to our dinner of white pizza. We got the idea for this pizza from watching an episode of “Milk Street” on PBS. The pizza topping consists of equal parts whipped heavy cream, grated Parmigiano cheese and grated Fontina cheese. You put the topping on your favorite pizza dough, bake it and then top it with greens that have been dressed with a olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Mache was the perfect green to top our pizza with its nutty flavor and satisfying chew. My wife Catherine is a huge fan of this particular pizza as well as being a fan of “Milk Street”.

WHITE PIZZA WITH MACHE

The dough recipe that I used comes from a book called “The Elements of Pizza” by Ken Forkish. The style of dough is referred to as “Neopolitan” and produces a thin and chewy crust.

What a treat to have fresh greens from the garden. Thus begins the first season in our gardening year, “Mache Madness”.

All the best,

Greg Garnache