Friday, May 24, 2024

, CT, 06118

Grange News
March 17th Garden Talk and St. Patrick's Day

By Dan Gallagher

  MARCH 15, 2022 --

Good Morning Hillstown Grange Gardeners,

This Thursday is time for another Garden Talk but with a twist. A more hands on Seed Starting and Soil Block making workshop that starts at the usual time of 7:00 pm. and runs until 8:30 pm. A few lucky gardeners will be going home with a 6-pack of soil blocks sown with seeds so around Memorial Day they can be transplanted after you have taking the soil temperature as you wouldn't put these babies in too cold a soil and allow them to become stunted from an initial shock that might they never recover from. Been awhile, remember where Hillstown Grange Hall is: 617 Hills Street, East Hartford, up there in that corner where Manchester, Glastonbury and East Hartford meet. We will also being going out Live via Zoom, no sown seeds but everyone is lucky and a winner today because you will all be getting links today to a great website or a pdf or both. The Zoom link to The Garden Talk on Thursday.


Now before I forget - Dinner and Seeds on March 24th. 

Dinner, free seeds and a Seed Swap
Thursday, March 24, 2022
Contact: Frank Forrest
860-690-2845 or      

Hillstown Grange is holding a Spaghetti dinner on Thursday March 24, 2022. Dinner starts at 6pm and cost is just $5. Following dinner we will be holding a free seed give-a way and a seed swap.  With the growing interest in gardening and the problems brought on by Covid, Hillstown Grange is trying a seed swap.  Bring any extra seeds you may have to donate to the swap table for that something extra that someone may wanted to try. 

Our Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions and talk about our outreach gardening programs. Please email Dan Gallagher at if you would like more info on Master Gardeners and get on our gardening help email list.

Hillstown Grange is located at 617 Hills Street, East Hartford, CT.  Located in the Hillstown corner of East Hartford, Glastonbury, and Manchester, since 1888.  The Grange is one of the oldest Agricultural groups in the United States. 

For more information call Frank at 860-690-2845 or email:

Here is a link to a website/blog - Soil Matters that gives an explanation of time released fertilizers and how it is accomplished. Nitrogen is a nutrient that is very mobile in both the soil and the plant. If a nutrient is mobile in a plant, the first signs will be on the lower leaves. If the nutrient is not mobile in the plant, the first signs will be on the newer leaves. Organic fertilizers have time release built in as the soil microbes first have to consume and then they are released or begin decomposition. So most information of side dressing may have to be moved up a week to ten days to allow for this, to have the nutrient ready when the plant needs them. The initial side dress times are at budding and at fruit set, so try to side dress just before or better yet, make note of transplant date and then the dates of the different stages, blooms, fruit set and harvest. These would be good to know as you become a better gardener. Fact I learned recently; for every 18F above 50F the soil microbial activity doubles. 50F is the temperature Composting really begins and the fact that this is 18F above freezing caught my attention. Just saying, I notice things. Now take a deep breath and divide by two and now you know too.

One of the thing I am noted for is getting Celery to germinate and come to find out I was more lucky than good because of where I put the celery to germinate on my seed starting station. It is just a metal shelving unit, 2'x4'x6', two shelves with with adjustable quad t-8s for lighting. The shelf is near my sliding patio door and the 1020 tray with the celery was placed at that end. You should after viewing this pdf, figure out how I got lucky. Hint; look for Celery note at bottom of page 1. Oh, the shelving unit has a DIY germination heat mat, plywood and Christmas Rope Lighting, important detail. Times and prices have changed, a 3/4" 2'x4' piece of plywood cost about the same as a 20"x48" heat mat. That is without the 18' rope light, 1" lumber or screws needed to complete the project.

This is a link to Margret Roach's blog, A Way to Garden. I like her and the blog because she covers the entire horticultural spectrum and I have a narrower focus, followed by "is it edible". You could also enter to win a book on Succession Planting.

Succession-Sowing Strategies, with Meg Cowden

Lastly a link to The Old Farmers' Almanac and an article on Simple Tips to Germinate Seeds More Successfully.

Simple Tips to Germinate Seeds More Successfully
Getting vegetable seeds to germinate properly is the most difficult aspect of planting the garden.

Well, one way or another, I hope to see you tomorrow night.

-- Dan - aka The Gardening at Home Gnome

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