The (R)Evolution of My Yard Part Three: Transplants and Seed Starting

8 Apr

Right now, as I’ve blogged, our yard is marinating.  Coffee grounds, newspaper, coffee chaff, compost, sandy loam, water, and burlap I hope is making for a the perfect mix so that we can soon plant our starts.



Under the burlap, the soil is looking nice and filled with those fun guys, fungi!  Here’s what it looks like under the burlap.

Hahahaha! Humor that works on 8 year olds!

Anywho, what to do in the meantime?  While we wait, we’ve upped the potential for food production in our yard.  On the cheap!

I placed an ad on good ol’ Freecycle, and got myself some free transplants.  I’m all for buying seeds and starts, but sometimes you can get what you need for free.  Those who have productive perennials are often willing and eager to share them.  Here’s what we’ve gotten and replanted so far:


We’ve been getting rhubarb from Double S’s grandma’s prolific rhubarb patch.  And we’ll continue to do so for awhile longer, as transplanted rhubarb shouldn’t be harvested for the first two growing seasons that they are in your yard to allow them to get strong.  I’ve been seeing some cool recipes that involve canning rhubarb that I want to try, (Oh, hello, rhubarb syrup to be made into ice cubes for summer boozing! And also, hey homemade rhubarb soda, whassup dawg?  PS-stay tuned for my homemade rhubarb soda recipe!), so I’d like my own patch.  Also, we have lots of strawberries at our new place, so, of course, strawberry rhubarb pie.

To get rhubarb, you can buy starts at the farmer’s market–I’ve been seeing them in March and April here in Seattle.  But you don’t need to pay!  Place an ad on Craigslist or Freecycle.  I placed an ad on both sites, and got some from my Craigslist ad.  Double S just swung by and picked up a bag of goodies from some guy’s garage.  Thanks, Bob!  Make sure that you get both roots and buds with your transplanted pieces.  Here’s what we got:

Free rhubarb, about to be planted.

Make sure you get roots when you get your free stuff, like so. It doesn't really matter what the plant itself looks like, it will improve!


Aforementioned Bob from Craigslist gave us horseradish root as well.

Here's what Double S picked up. Plus I learned what chrain is when I looked it up after getting this mysterious Ziploc. It's horseradish and beet sauce.

As I’ve said, I like horseradish.  In my attempts to make it, I noted that my horseradish root, just purchased the weekend before, had gone woody after just a few days, probably due to long shipping times.  Not the case when you’ve got in it your yard!  I’ve heard horseradish is a big time spreader, a gigolo with leaves if you will, so plan accordingly.  Pack your protection, in the form of planting it in a controlled area or in a large pot.

Or for you young’uns, Mr. Mariah Carey.

Why?  Why not?  Ah, the early days of MTV as immortalized by Mr. David Lee Roth.  Dave!  I think he’s probably appearing at the Emerald Queen Casino this weekend.  The Emerald Queen Casino folks, the finest hall of music in beautiful downtown Fife, Washington, where stars of the ’80s go to die.  Or, as I like to call it, awesome!  I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from another that REO Speedwagon and MC Hammer are there this summer.  Call me friends, let’s lock down some tickets!

The new rhubarb and radish bed. Put a lot of compost around the new transplants, and water!


Speaking of summer boozing, mint!  Mint grows prolifically in my experience.  Pops was always going to the yard for mint for our sun tea and his summer booze concoctions.  I wanna do that!  So I placed another ad on Freecycle and got the hook up.  Double S went and dug it up from a friendly freecyclin’ lady, and into the homestead grounds it went!  Hey, she drives and I take the bus, I know what you’re thinking.

Speaking of mint, the best drink recipe I have with mint (For now, friends.  Summer is a’comin’!) is a cucumber mint mojito that I adapted from a  recipe from here.  I made these for growandresist, her ladyfriend and Double S last summer, to much avail.    Try ’em.  I’m hoping to have my first success with cukes this summer.  Two summers I tried, two summers I failed.  If I can manage to not fail and the mint takes, we’re gonna be sipping these baddies all summer long.  While my cukes are fermenting into delicious dill pickles as well. Ah, dreams.  Has it been too long since I linked to a Cranberries video?  Prolly.

1993 in the em effin’ house.  Holy crap, Dolores looks like a 90s 3rd grade teacher in this video.


So, I was working part time in a five and dime.  My boss was Mr. Mc Gee.  Etc, etc.

So,  for the biggest coup of all, we’ve added to our pre-existing established raspberry plants (which was an awesome sell for the house) with transplants from Double S’s mom’s prize winning raspberry bushes.

Before shot of the pre-existing raspberry patch.

Double S’s stepdad (Hey Rico Suave!) dug ’em up for us, and put em in plastic bags with wet newspaper with most of their roots intact.  And voila, we have a new and improved raspberry patch!

The new kids!

The new guys in the ground!

Double S likes to go out in the morning and pick fresh warm berries off the vine for her granola and cereal.  When I tasted these raspberries, I knew there would be no further debate as to what is my favorite berry.  It is the mighty raspberry.  These raspberries made the long sojourn from Bellevue at Double S’ s childhood homestead (complete with sheep and chickens and a creek.  Jealous!) to Ballard and now to the homestead.  And they’re thriving!  Double S and I were in the raspberry patch last summer when we got word that our offer had been accepted on the homestead.  Good omen much?  We went from raspberry pickin’ to celebratory dancin’!  PS–We had just been counter-offering and whatnot on a payphone, deep in Mount Rainier country.  Sweet.

We also added to our yard with items we actually purchased or just cleaned up and pruned.

Concord grapes! We're wanting this little vine to spread and wrap itself around a future trellis, separating the yard into 1) Party yard, and 2) Food producing yard.

Dwarf Pink Lady apple tree!

Established blueberry bush.

While all of the above was happening, we started our seeds.  I was drooling over seed catalogs for a few weeks, and then we made the big jump.

This was an exciting box to open from Territorial Seed Co.

We’ve got beaucoup tomatoes and kale, also lettuce, onions, potatoes, shallots, watermelons, cucumbers (See above), herbs, flowers, celeriac, eggplant (dare to dream!), peas, beans, and probably some other stuff I can’t remember.  We’ll see how it goes.  We went to a local shop and got grow lights and seedling mats, and set up a spread at the homestead.

We're trying watermelons for the first time this year. Wish us luck! Their seeds look just like watermelon seeds. Wait...

Planting seeds. How deep is 1/8 of an inch?

Keep 'em labeled, folks! You'll thank yourselves later.

Our seed starting spread. We found an exposed beam in the basement, screwed in hooks, added some wire, attached it to long chains and attached it to our grow light. You need bulbs especially for plants.

Keep 'em lit 12-16 hours a day. We have heat mats underneath as well. The propagation domes keep them nice and moist, which you need especially at first.

These puppies suck up the water, so be careful if you decide to do this.  We’ve had some deaths.  I poured out a little saved rainwater for these fallen soldiers.   Heat mats and plastic propogation domes really help the process. Next step will be replanting into larger pots as these guys mature and start wanting to go out with their friends.  I probably won’t understand.

One of Briggsy’s top 5 videos from my youth!

Anyway, OK!  Next step is building our raised beds.  Stay tuned!


6 Responses to “The (R)Evolution of My Yard Part Three: Transplants and Seed Starting”

  1. cookie monster April 8, 2010 at 8:55 PM #

    you dig up some of those bad boys who are living under your burlap bags buy us some tickets and i will totally go see REO Speedwagon with you! Awesome!

    • ohbriggsy April 9, 2010 at 6:26 AM #

      sweet! consider them dug up! emerald queen, here we come! the fun happens for us in pierce county!

  2. Carrot Top's Bottom April 9, 2010 at 6:16 AM #

    Looks cool, but why don’t you use more props?

    • ohbriggsy April 9, 2010 at 6:29 AM #

      oh snap! i think maybe that’s why the hits are coming, there’s a design a carrot top prop contest going on till may 1. yeah, i googled it. you can win tix to his comeback show in vegas. you in? hahahaha! prop comedy is so funny.


  1. Foolin’ Around…With Rhubarb! « oh, briggsy… - May 12, 2010

    […] those harbingers of summer: rhubarb and asparagus.    As I’ve mentioned, I just started a rhubarb patch at the homestead.  You’re supposed to give new rhubarb two years before you start harvesting.  […]

  2. Cook the Books February! Spicy (Homegrown!) Potato Samosas! « oh, briggsy… - February 1, 2013

    […] me. Plus, I wanted to use potatoes. Why? Well, it’s kind if a funny story.  As you may have read here in the past, Double S and I moved into the old homestead in 2009, and immediately turned the […]

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