Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

Yes, we participated in Earth Hour and here are the photos to prove it! For those unaware of Earth Hour, it happened on March 28th, 2009 from 8:30-9:30 pm local time. Basically it is trying to get everyone in the world to take one hour and turn out all their lights - saving energy and making a statement that we are all going to work together and make changes to save our planet.

Thomas and I not only turned off all of our lights, but also all of our appliances, computers, tv, etc! We ate dinner by candlelight and lanterns while we passed the time.

Want to learn more about Earth Hour? Go to

Check out more of our photos from Earth Hour on our Flickr page.

Did you participate in Earth Hour? Post your photos, tell us your stories!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Starting Seedlings

Here at Lord and Lady we are passionate about green living and lifestyles. We live what we believe in and are always trying to be more friendly to our environment and ourselves - so we are eager to share these experiences and information with anyone who is interested. So in many of our blogs we are going to share green living info and projects that we are working on in our daily lives - we hope you get some benefit from our experiences!

That's right - it's that time of year. Time to dust off the garden tools and get your act together before spring is here. It can be difficult, spring creeps up on you and before you know it BAM it's here and your seedlings are not. But this year we are determined to be ready. We want to bask in the wonder of vegetables and flowers all summer long with minimal cost invested. To shop for dinner in our yard.

We are planning our terraced garden and as usual are disappointed with the number of plants that it will actually accommodate. This year we are hoping to somewhat expand it and possibly put in more gardens in a flatter area. All this is with the hope of farmers markets to come and the ability to donate to our communities "Grow an Extra Row" campaign - in which you donate extra produce to local food banks and pantries - and continue to donate to friends and family. All of these plans are exciting and fun, but require a lot of seedlings to achieve.

Seedlings aren't too challenging to start - just be sure to give them what they want. Nice aerated soil - full of peat moss, warm humid temperatures with sun, and to be kept moist at all times. This is pretty basic - but as long as you follow those guidelines you should see success. To bring those steps into fruition we have some tips and advice based on our successes and failures and how we grow seedlings now that not only help the growing process, but also do it in the most economical way possible.

The first thing to do is to start in time. Now, we started some seedlings a couple weeks ago, but don't worry, you can still start them now and be fine. Some plants take much longer to germinate and develop before you would want to place them in a garden outside. Others grow so fast that you "direct sow" into the garden, which basically means you plant them directly into the garden soil. So basically when you decide to grow seedlings you need to sit down and determine what plants do you want in your garden? Once you have that list you can look it over and decide which ones need to be started in February, March, April or May. There are so many plants and variations it would take forever to list them all, but a good basis to think on is that most root vegetables (carrots, radishes, potatoes, etc) should be direct sow into the garden; most cabbages, squashes, cucumbers, etc, should be started inside in the tail end of April, beginning of May; and most tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, etc should be started inside in February to March. Now this is not a hard set rule, but it will give you bigger, more developed plants when you place them into the garden and the more developed the plant is when it goes into the garden, the faster and the more fruit you will get out of it. You can always determine how long your seedlings need to grow inside by reading the back of the seed packet - but if you have questions you can always contact us and we would be happy to help.

Secondly, you need the supplies to plant the seeds. You need the soil mix - remember not to use straight topsoil or soil from your yard. Seedlings need good aerated soil, most hardware stores carry this type of soil - Lowes, Menards, Home Depot, etc. Look around and watch for sales - for instance this past week Menards had Miracle Grow Organic Starter Soil Mix on sale for only $2.99 a bag. This is a good price. You will also need trays to start them in. You can also purchase these at Lowes, etc, however they are typically at least 5 bucks a tray and its just a plastic flimsy thing. The material it is made of is really not crucial, so we have found that if you go to GFS (Gordon Food Service) and purchase large disposable metal cake pans, that are the same size and cost only $1.39 per tray. And if you're really in a big planting way, you can get a pack of 50 for only $43.99 or something close to that, which is then obviously less than a dollar a tray. Then purchase a roll of clear plastic wrap and a couple boxes of toothpicks and you can make your own clear covers to place over the trays. The only other thing you need supply wise is a spray bottle for watering - this can be any bottle - even one that was previously window cleaner or whatever - HOWEVER - if it was previously used for cleaning be sure it has been thoroughly cleaned (maybe even run it through the dishwasher) you don't want to kill your plants by putting a cleaning pesticide on them. This is all the supplies you will need to grow the seeds.

Then of course you need the seeds. There are many ways to get seeds - in the store, online, from other vegetables. Depending on what you are looking for, depends on where you want to look. Overall, the best prices are typically found online, this is also where you will find the best selection. However, if you aren't purchasing very many seeds, it may be cheaper to get them in the store where you don't have to pay shipping. Keep in mind that if you are planning on having a true blue organic garden you will want to start with Organic seeds. These should be labeled as such and should have the USDA Organic seal on them. A good way to order seeds online if you aren't planning on growing a lot is asking friends or family if they would like to split some seed packets with you. Most seed packets come with far more seeds than you can use on your own in one summer. A tomato pack along generally comes with at least 25 seeds, this would require a massive amount of space to actually grow all 25, so this pack could be split at least 5 ways. All this divvying up can really bring down the cost even further. There are many online sites to order seeds from we have had good luck with seeds from many different sources,,, and, ALL of these companies will send you a free catalog if you go online and request one - this can also help you decide what you want to grow.

Once you have gathered your supplies, collected your seeds you need to decide where to place your seedlings for the growing process. There are a few things to consider when picking placement:
1) Be wary of pets - though they are our friends, they also typically like dirt and green things growing. If you place your dirt and seedlings where your cats, dogs, rabbits, etc can reach them - they will be destroyed - it is not a matter of will it happen, it's a matter of when. Don't place them where your pets can reach.
2) Plants want to stay warm - this means don't place them on the basement floor, don't place them by the back door that gets opened and closed 20 times a day. Pick a place that is sheltered from excessive drafts and colder temps.
3) Make sure you can reach them all. Seedlings need a lot of tender care and misting. This means you will have to check on them daily and often spray and mist them everyday. The harder they are to get to, the less likely you will do this on a daily basis and the less successful your plants will be.
4) Seedlings want sun, this is a big part of what makes them grow. Make sure they get as much sun as possible. Keep in mind that placing them in bay windows or drafty windows could pose a real problem with temperature. Remember to keep all the aspects in mind when choosing placement.
Once you have considered all these aspects and chosen your location - start planting.

All your seed packets should list how deep to plant your seeds in the soil - when you are starting seedlings you can generally plant them about 2" apart, regardless of the plant, this is because you will transplant them later and have them further apart at this point. Read the directions on the seed packe though - Some seeds need to be soaked in water overnight, others should be soaked in wet soil in the fridge for a couple weeks first, any seeds that need this special step, should be explained in the instructions on the back of the pack.

Once you have planted your seeds, keep track of your calender - remember that not all seeds should be started at the same time, different plants should be started at different times. Remember when you want to plant more seeds. Then be sure that you are checking the moistness of the soil each day. If it needs more water, be sure to spray them with water. Spraying the seedlings versus pouring water is important at the early stages. Seedlings are fragile and typically can't withstand a heavy stream of water - they roots also are not very sturdy, so if the soil moves around too much, they may not be able to stand up anymore. This is also bad. So just gently spray the plants.

Once the seedlings start to get larger and fall over it is time to transplant. This just means putting them in bigger containers. You can purchase larger pots (the size of a coffee mug) and put more dirt in and then place the seedling in that pot. Or you can just use dixie cups, mcdonald's cups with the tops cut down, or really any container that is the size of a coffee cup. Once they are transplanted to this size they don't need to be covered with plastic wrap and can typically be watered with a watering can, not a spray bottle. Some of our seedlings are getting close to this stage - but not quite yet.

From that point on the plants should just be continued to be watered and kept after - just waiting for preparation to go outside in the spring. We will continue to update with the seedling progress and what step you want to be on as we progress with our seedlings.

Right now we are growing extra seedlings of most of the plants we are growing, so that we can share them with anyone interested in growing some great veggies. Check out our list and let us know if there are any you are interested in!

1. Tomato Super Sweet 100 Hybrid
2. Celery Root
3. Tomato Green Tall Vine Green Zebra (100% Organic)
4. Summer Purple Sprouting Broccoli
5. Tomato Black Pearl Hybrid
6. Tomato Heirloom Tall Vine Striped German (100% Organic)
7. Tomato Yellow Pear
8. Hybrid Eggplant, White Clara
9. Husk Golden Cherry (100% Organic)
10. Mexican Tomatillo
11. Tomato Sugar Snack Hybrid
12. Hybrid Cauliflower, Green Panther
13. Tomato Red Cherry Matt's Wild Cherry
14. Rosemary
15. Sage
16. Penstemon Miniature
17. Achillea Summer Pastels
18. Thyme Common
19. Oregano
20. Zinnia Tequila Lime
21. Black Eyed Susan
22. Zinnia Envy
23. English Daisy Pink Pomponette
24. Marigold French Vanilla Hybrid
25. Columbine Lime Sorbet
26. Marigold Snowdrift
27. Marigold Snowball Hybrid
28. Brussels Sprouts Hybrid Royal Marvel
29. Eggplant Hybrid Dusky
30. Broccoli Hybrid Coronado Crown
31. Okra Clemson Spineless 80
32. African Daisy Mixed Colors

You can also check out our seedlings and their progress!

Here are some of our seedlings on Day One of their lives!
Here you can see the same orange container 3 weeks later.

Here you can see a few more of our containers growing away! We will post more updates as the plants progress and as we plant more seeds.

As mentioned, we will be starting different plants all through May!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Blog for Lord and Lady!

Hello Everyone!

How exciting! Our very own blog! With it we are hoping to bring you new green and organic information that we read about, learn through sources or our own experiences; keep you all up-to-date on new and exciting things happening with Lord and Lady; and post information on various green
endeavours that we undertake - and let you know how they work for us!

Hope you enjoy and we inspire excitement, knowledge and the desire to try some green ideas yourself! Looking forward to sharing and answering questions!


Laura and Thomas