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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bountiful Garden's Tomato Seedling Sale on April 12, 2008

Bountiful Garden is having a tomato seedling sale on

Saturday, April 12th, 2008 starting at 8:00 a.m
at 21901 Columbus Avenue, Cupertino, CA.
  • All plants come in large one-gallon pots. They have a great selection of heirloom tomatoes. Click here to see what kinds of tomatoes they have.
  • 100% Organic, no pesticides, herbicide, fungicides.
  • Each plant is $5.00, and that money will go directly to disaster relief! "[E]very penny of the money that is given to [them] by people at [their] vegetable stands goes directly to disaster relief. This means that all of the costs in operating the organization must come from other forms of fund raising (tomato seedling sales, donations, sponsors)." To learn more about Bountiful Garden, click here.
Tomato Growing Tips from Bountiful Garden:
If you would like tips on growing "15 Foot Tall Tomato Plants" visit Bountiful Garden's Growing Tips.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Space Saver: Germinate Seeds By Using The Plastic Bag Method

I received a bad batch of seeds, and wasted a lot of window sill space trying to get these puppies to germinate. I decided to use the plastic bag method with the remaining seeds to save space on my windowsill. The basic idea is to "plant" a lot of seeds in a bag, and only transfer the seeds that sprout. If you have never used this method before, it is a cool project to try out.

Note: I would not recommend using this method for very tiny or delicate seeds if you plan to transplant the seeds.

  • Large Clear Ziploc bag or other clear resealable airtight bag.
  • Paper Towel
  • Water
  • Seeds
  • Pen
  • Spray bottle (optional)


1. Wet a paper towel with water, and squeeze out the excess water. The towel should be moist, but not dripping wet. If it is too wet, the seed can "drown," develop bacteria and/or rot. If you have a spray bottle handy, you might want to use it to lightly mist the paper towel.

2. Spread out the paper towel and then drop the seeds on one half of the paper towel. Space out the seeds so that they are not too clumped together. Fold over the other side of the paper towel over the seeds, and gently press your hands over the edges and the spaces between the seeds. This will create a seal and keep the seeds from falling out.

3. Slide the paper towel holding the seeds inside the plastic bag. Seal the plastic bag. The bag will keep the water from escaping and provide constant moisture to the seeds, which is key to a successful germination.

4. Use the pen to label the bag. I write down the name of the plant and the date. Hang the plastic bag up. You can use magnets to fix the bag to the refrigerator or weave the top portion of the bag in and out of the window blinds. Then wait for the seeds to sprout.

5. Once the seeds sprout, remove them from the bag and plant them in the ground. Do not pull on the seeds or seedlings because you are likely to damage the tender root system. Just take two fingers, place one finger on either side of the seedling, press down onto the moist paper towel and gently pull or tear apart the paper towel to free the seedings. If a bit of the paper towel remains on the root system just leave it and plant the whole thing in soil. It will eventually break down. Discard all of the seeds that did not sprout.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

DIY Painted Planters

I have a friend who loves to cook, and he is constantly going to the store to buy fresh herbs. His recipes normally only require a small amount of herbs, which meant most of the herbs would go to waste. Sometimes he would be disappointed in their lack of quality and freshness. Moreover, he gets frustrated when the store runs out of a particular herb.

He has a nice outdoor balcony so I decided to give him a set of potted herbs. This way he will have fresh herbs whenever he needs them, and will also be saving a lot of time and money.
Because this is a gift, I wanted to plant the herbs in pretty pots. I could not find a set of pots to my liking within my budget so I decided to customize my own planters.

I took ordinary, inexpensive 6" terracotta pots, and used acrylic paint to paint an image of a sprig of the herb on the pot, and then painted the name of the herb in calligraphy at the top of the pot. I sealed the outside of the pot with 2 coats of clear, water-based polyurethane sealant. I purchased a rosemary plant, a sage plant, and a spearmint plant from my local nursery. All I need now is for my oregano, thyme, dill weed, parsley, and basil seeds to sprout, and to plant them in these pots. I can't wait to present them to him. I know he will really appreciate this and will use this year after year!

Learn how to customize your own terracotta pots...

  • Small Can of Clear Water-based (or oil-based) Polyurethane Paint. (I used a semi-gloss finish for my project, but you can choose another.)
  • Stirring Stick
  • Painter's brush
  • 6" Terracotta Pots
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Thin paintbrush
  • Pencil
  • Drop cloth or other protection for floor
  • Sandpaper (may be optional)
  • Scrubbing Brush (may be optional)

1. Get a clean terracotta pot. If it is not clean, use a scrubbing brush to scrub it vigorously with soap and water. Rinse it off and allow it to completely dry. Sand down any rough edges or imperfections with the sand paper.

2. Use a pencil to lightly draw a sketch of what you are going to paint on the terracotta pot. When you are done, use the thin paint brush to paint in your image. Make sure you paint the pot over cardboard or newspaper and wear old clothing because this can get messy.

3. After the acrylic paint has completely dried, use the large paint brush and apply a thin coat of the protective paint on the outside of the pot. Make sure you do this in a well ventilated area. If you apply a thick coat of paint, it will drip everywhere and dry unevenly. Although I initially allowed my pots to dry on the cardboard, I would advise you to let them dry on a set of bricks. If you allow them to dry on the cardboard, odds are the cardboard is going to stick to the sealant and you will have to use sand paper to sand off the remains of the cardboard. Allow the first coat to dry completely. I let them sit over night.

4. After the first coat has completely dried, apply the second coat and allow it to completely dry. I only applied to two coats, but you can apply three coats if you like.

Note: This pot is still wet. It will look less glossy once it dries.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Going Native Garden Tour 2008

Sign-up now to take a free tour of native California gardens in Santa Clara Valley, the Peninsula, and San Francisco Bay Area. Make sure you confirm your registration by clicking on the email they send you within 3 days of registering.

The tour will take place on Sunday, April 20, 2008 from 10am to 4pm.

To take a sneak peek at some of the gardens included in this year's tour visit

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