My Mom v. Rushing and Reeves

I spent all night reading the Rushing and Reeves book, which, on the one hand, is a bit of a scam, because clearly they wrote some parts of the book to be slapped into any book about gardening in any Southern state.  But it’s a scam I can appreciate.  But on the other hand, the book is excellent and I poured through it and have about eleventy billion thoughts.  It’s organized by plant and all the plants they talk about are ones that can grown in Tennessee (though here, especially, is where you can see that the content is designed with an eye for repurposing–the “Banana” entry says that only those of us on the coast can expect to get fruit from our banana plants, though anyone can enjoy the plant itself.  Now, if there’s some coastal area of Tennessee, I’m afraid it will come as a great and unpleasant shock to the people of Alabama and Mississippi.)

But most of their advice boils down to “get a good fertilizer, work the soil well, and plant your plants in a sunny spot.”  Their biggest concern are pests.  They have pages of advice for how to protect yourself from bugs and animals and more bugs.

I called my mom to get her advice and I told her all of the plants were were thinking of growing and she just said, “Oh, no, B., think of all of the weeds you’ll have.  You will die.”

I could hear my dad shouting in the background, “Weeds never bothered her Aunt B.  Look at all the stuff they pull out of their disgraceful mess of a garden.”

Anyway, Rushing and Reeves recommend you not depend on a mere sunny window to start your plants.  The marigolds and, hmmm, looks like maybe the broccoli, disagree.

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10 thoughts on “My Mom v. Rushing and Reeves

  1. My mom starts her tomato and pepper plants in a sunny window every year, they do wonderful. My parents are old and their house is subtropical so that has to help. Looks like your seeds are doing fine.

  2. I can’t manage to get tomato transplants out of seeds. I just can’t. If I give Missus or B some Nebraska Wedding seeds, do either of you figure you could grow me some transplants (and some for yourself too, of course).

  3. My seed starts never amount to anything, either. I think I’m just too far north or keep my house too cold or something.

    It’s an optimistic sight, seeing those little greens push up out of the ground.

  4. The mud in front of those green things is supposed to be my tomatoes, though, so nm, you might want to reconsider asking me to start any tomatoes. However, if I get some baby ‘maters this weekend, I will feel more confident in my abilities and will happily start some for you.

    They make a person feel good, though, don’t they?

  5. Before I forget, you should probably start those red sunflowers out indoors and grow seedlings first. Last year, they were handed off to me as plants that were about 8″ tall. I’ll have to find out when to start them and get back to you.

  6. I love the little green things reaching for the light.
    That said, if you are able to set the seedlings outside (or talk someone at home into doing it) for a few hours a day where they get full light but are protected from wind or cold, more of them will thrive until they are able to go in the ground.
    The reason that I’ve heard given against using only a sunny window is that even if it’s a southern exposure the slanted light isn’t strong or lengthy enough. The seedlings expend all their energy reaching and are too “leggy” by the time they go into the ground. So, either the roots are underdeveloped relative to the aboveground growth, or they are too fragile and break off/wither in the garden.
    But yayyy! spring gardens!

  7. All right. I just have to share that my dad–who just last night, to my great amusement, seemed to insinuate that I would have a shameful garden–just called to talk about the garden, which he seems very excited about, and to ask me to plant some stuff in there for him!

    I am about to fall over!

    And I hope I can still have a shameful garden.

  8. Oh, I get sprouts alright. They just never get past the 2nd pair of leaves.

    I don’t think you’re supposed to put anything out of doors when it’s that teensy.

  9. Outdoors is the best place for seedlings to receive the 12-18 hours of light they need to start making their own energy.
    It’s possible to achieve this indoors if you have high intensity fluorescent lightbulbs and hang them an appropriate distance from the very large flat surface on which your seedlings are sprouting. If you want to go the low-tech, free energy route, you can put the seedlings outside in a sheltered area that is protected from wind and cold.
    Coldframes are often used to create a sheltered spot in locales that are too windy or cold. Coldframes can usually be made from old windows and scrap lumber, but I’ve seen gardeners use old milk jugs with the bottom cut off or sheets of semitransparent plastic stretched over a frame.

  10. B. You’ll be better off with a couple of fluorescent tubes in a shop light fixture. You can get one pretty cheap at Lowes/Home Depot, etc. and just buy plain tubes. You don’t have to buy the fancy, more expensive “grow lights.” For this purpose, the plain old, plain old lights will provide an acceptable spectrum of light. After years and years of starting seeds, I’ve found this saves a lot of money and heartache and produces more and better plants. On the other hand, starting seeds is fun no matter how you try it. Happy gardening!

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