Starting Onions & Celery Seeds

Well, welcome to the 2012 gardening season!  This is the first post of the season – and it is about the germination station and getting some seeds started.

I am starting a bit earlier this year with the celery and onions.  Last season, I did a test planting of some Ventura celery and Copra onions back around December 20th.  I did also start some celery at the beginning of the year – but the Copra onions were started around January 20th.

Here is the germination station setup so far this year – with two lights on over the onions:

Germination Station

This year, I started the Copra Onions on January 1st and Ventura celery a day later – as I let it soak in some water overnight.

I planted two Copra onion seeds per each black plastic cell.  Last year, I just filled a large tray with soil and planted the onions – but when it was time to plant them in the garden, their roots were all tangled up and they were hard to pull apart.  So I went back to planting them in black plastic containers that have nine cells in them – so I can fit a total of 72 cells in a tray.

Two total trays were planted with two seeds each – for a total of 288 Copra onions.  In years past, I also lightly placed some soil over the top of the onion seeds – but this year I simply placed the seeds on the top of the soil.

That was a bad idea.  So far, about 221 of those seeds have germinated – not too bad!  However, as you can see by the below pictures, onions should ALWAYS be planted and NEVER placed on the top of the soil:

Copra Onion Seedlings

Yes, the onions are reaching up – but not all of them.  You can see how some of them are going nowhere.  Really sad – but I’ve also seen many of them that have already detached from the soil and will die soon.  Some others have had their roots withered up and are not gonig to make it either.  Here is a closer view:

Copra Onion Seedlings

So, take it from me and my trial and error – DO NOT put onion seeds right on the top of the soil.  They need to be covere with a very thin layer of soil to do well.  I’m just really hoping for the best – and hope that I can get at least 100 – 150 viable onion plants out of 221 that have sprouted.

Next on the agenda are the Ventura celery seedlings.  They were planted on the 4th of January.  I was getting quite worried – because up until yesterday, I did not see one of them sprout.  As from my research last year, you get MUCH better celery germination results if you follow these two tips:

  1. Soak the seeds in water for 18 – 24 hours
  2. Sow them directly ON TOP of the soil – DO NOT cover them

It has been said that celery seed needs light to germinate.  I’ve read this on many forums and I have to say – this is the TRUTH.  When I put the celery seed under a layer of soil, the germination results were terrible.

So, I just counted the celery germination so far – and a whopping 20 of the 24 have already germinated!  Yes!  That meets my quota!  I am downsizing on celery this year and only planting about ten plants out into the garden.  That will give them more space between plants without being crammed like last year.  Plus, we only harvested about half of the celery last year anyways.  No reason to plant more than we will use – especially since it will take all the nutrients out of the soil.

So, when planting onions and celery – the moral of the story – celery should be placed ON TOP of the soil and needs light to germinate.  Onions should be COVERED with a thin layer of soil so that they have some kind of base for growth.

e1000_clean_tx_irq: Detected Tx Unit Hang

Since I do website hosting for customers, I have a coupld of HP ProLiant DL380 servers at one of my locations.

These servers have a PCI-Express dual-NIC Intel card in them.  To be more exact, the card is an Intel Corporation 82546EB Gigabit Ethernet Controller.

When the servers would receive a request to download a large file – roughly 1 megabyte or higher (such as a large picture file), the download progress would stop on the visitor’s end and time out.

After doing more research, I finally was able to see the error messages that were appearing in the server logs:

<time> <server> kernel: [1878984.981444] e1000: eth2: e1000_clean_tx_irq: Detected Tx Unit Hang
<time> <server> kernel: [1878984.981447]   Tx Queue             <0>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878984.981448]   TDH                  <b4>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878984.981449]   TDT                  <bf>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878984.981450]   next_to_use          <bf>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878984.981452]   next_to_clean        <ae>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878984.981453] buffer_info[next_to_clean]
<time> <server> kernel: [1878984.981454]   time_stamp           <10b32a4cb>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878984.981455]   next_to_watch        <b6>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878984.981456]   jiffies              <10b32a552>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878984.981457]   next_to_watch.status <0>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878986.981517] e1000: eth2: e1000_clean_tx_irq: Detected Tx Unit Hang
<time> <server> kernel: [1878986.981520]   Tx Queue             <0>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878986.981522]   TDH                  <b4>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878986.981523]   TDT                  <bf>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878986.981524]   next_to_use          <bf>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878986.981525]   next_to_clean        <ae>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878986.981527] buffer_info[next_to_clean]
<time> <server> kernel: [1878986.981528]   time_stamp           <10b32a4cb>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878986.981529]   next_to_watch        <b6>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878986.981531]   jiffies              <10b32a61a>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878986.981532]   next_to_watch.status <0>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878988.981591] e1000: eth2: e1000_clean_tx_irq: Detected Tx Unit Hang
<time> <server> kernel: [1878988.981594]   Tx Queue             <0>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878988.981595]   TDH                  <b4>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878988.981597]   TDT                  <bf>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878988.981598]   next_to_use          <bf>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878988.981599]   next_to_clean        <ae>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878988.981600] buffer_info[next_to_clean]
<time> <server> kernel: [1878988.981602]   time_stamp           <10b32a4cb>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878988.981603]   next_to_watch        <b6>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878988.981604]   jiffies              <10b32a6e2>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878988.981606]   next_to_watch.status <0>
<time> <server> kernel: [1878991.771623] e1000: eth2 NIC Link is Up 100 Mbps Full Duplex, Flow Control: RX/TX

All of these errors occurred within a seven-second timeframe.  Sure, seven seconds doesn’t seem like a lot, but when these errors occurred, the servers looked like they were dead and wouldn’t respond to any queries across the Internet at all.

Both of the HP ProLiant DL380 servers had their on built-in BroadCom card, but I previously also had issues with these cards and the tg3 driver as well – so I opted to buy – what I thought was a very well-supported Intel card.  Ubuntu uses the e1000 driver (as noted above in the errors) for this card.

So far – after several attempts to re-download the same large pictures from the web servers after making the changes below, everything seems to be working well.  Here is how I did it.

First, I needed to add a line to the /etc/default/grub configuration line.  I added the “pcie_aspm=off” entry in the following line:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash pcie_aspm=off”

That is supposed to disable the power management features of the PCI-Express components.

After performing a restart, I tested the download of the pictures again – and it hung.  So this didn’t fix the issue by itself.

The next step was to disable something called “TCP Segmentation Offload” – or TSO for short.  Many others indicated that by disabling this alone would fix the problem – but I started with disabling the power management features first.

In order to disable TSO for your NIC, do the following for EACH ethernet port (so if you have a dual-NIC card, you will have to run this command twice and change the ‘ethX’ number):

ethtool -K ethX tso off

Note to change the “X” in “ethX” to the number.  For example, mine are “eth2” and “eth3” for my dual-NIC Intel card.

Now, confirm that TSO is disabled by running this command for each NIC:

ethtool -k ethX

You may have to put “sudo” in front of each command if you are not running as the root user.  After running that command, you should see that TSO is off.

Now, how can you set it so that TSO is automatically disabled upon startup?  Make an init script!  if you use the command above, it is only effective until the next reboot.

So, go to the /etc/init.d directory and make a new file – mine is called “disable-tso”.  Create the file and add one line for each NIC you need to disable TSO on.  This is a copy of my script:

#!/bin/sh
ethtool -K eth2 tso off
ethtool -K eth3 tso off

Of course, ensure you update the “eth2” and “eth3” to your NIC card numbers

Now, you need to make the file executable – so I’d run this:

sudo chmod 755 disable-tso

And now, run this to update the startup process:

update-rc.d disable-tso defaults

And you are done!  Each time the server reboots, it will disable TSO upon startup.  Hope this is useful to others that have the Intel Corporation 82546EB Gigabit Ethernet Controller card in their servers using the e1000 driver in Ubuntu.

2011 Weigh-In Data & Other Info

I have compiled all of the information and weigh-in totals for the produce harvested from the garden for the 2011 season.  I actually thought this information may have been incomplete up to yesterday – because I had to uncover the patio bed.  I had several lettuce plants still alive under a floating row cover.  I find it very amazing that the plants were able to sustain temperatures under 20 degrees under a floating row cover.  However, when I uncovered them yesterday, I discovered that only a few plants remained out of the 10 or so that were planted.

Germination Data for 2011

Below is the information for seed germination for each variety that was planted.  I went through the garden journal and tallied up all of the seeds planted – within the best of my abilities from the notes I left – and formulated this information.

The “Type/Planting” column indicates the variety of produce that was planted.  The “Total Planted” column indicates how many seeds of each were planted over the year.  The “Total Germinated” column provides the total of seeds that germinated.  The “Percent” column is the percentage of seeds that germinated out of those that were planted.  “Total Days” was formulated based on my journal indicating when the seeds germinated, how many germinated on that day, and how many days away from sowing.  Lastly, the “Average Days” indicates the average number of days until germination for that variety – which is the total days divided by the total germinated.

Type/PlantingTotal PlantedTotal GerminatedPercentTotal DaysAverage Days
Ventura Celery242083.33%1507.50
Copra Onions23616268.64%12707.84
Varsity Onions1263225.40%34710.84
Best Boy Tomatoes9555.56%5210.40
Roma Tomatoes6350.00%258.33
Red Cherry Tomatoes8787.50%628.86
Anaheim Hot Peppers8337.50%6722.33
California Wonder Peppers321856.25%37120.61
Red Salad Bowl441943.18%1005.26
Buttercrunch442863.64%1284.57
Simpson Elite564376.79%1373.19
New Red Fire442761.36%1475.44
Parris Island845363.10%2765.21
Snow Crown Cauliflower1010100.00%595.90
Premium Crop Broccoli10880.00%577.13
Green Goliath Broccoli10880.00%587.25
Cascadia Snap Pea33414242.51%278219.59
Sugarsnax Carrots28015254.29%182812.03
Scarlet Nantes Carrots26015057.69%180812.05
Easter Egg Radishes18815180.32%8185.42
Crimson Sweet Watermelon8675.00%8013.33
Kennebec Potatoes8282100.00%170420.78
Yukon Gold Potatoes545194.44%134926.45
Basil??133??232017.44
Bush Blue Lake 27439919649.12%12336.29
Honey Treat Corn1846937.50%4746.87
H-19 Little Leaf Cucumbers33100.00%248.00
Burpee Pickler3266.67%168.00

Last year I went through and did a comparison of each of the types of veggies and their product over the last year.  That took a considerable amount of time to do – so I’m going to do a simpler compilation.

Ventura Celery

Venturay Celery

  • A total of 24 pounds, 8 3/4 ounces of Ventura Celery was harvested
  • 11 total plants were harvested – with an average weight of 2.2 pounds each

Copra Onions

Copra Onions

  • A total of 33 pounds, 8 5/8 ounces of Copra Onions were harvested
  • Approximately 132 Copra onions were harvested with an average weight of just over 4 ounces each
  • The onions were crowed in closer together this year – which is why the average weight is less.  Onions are also put in the back garden in the holes of the cinder blocks – and the onions simply do not produce well back there – but I’m making use of otherwise wasted space.

Varsity Onions

Varsity Onions

  • A total of 10 pounds, 4 3/8 ounces of Varsity Onions were harvested
  • Approximately 20 Varsity onions were harvested with an average weight of 8.2 ounces each
  • Size were TWICE the size – on average – than the Copra onions.  But, the Varsity onions were spread further apart allowing for more growth and were placed in full-sun areas.

Best Boy Tomatoes

Best Boy Tomato

  • The tomato plants were set out too early this year – and had to be dug up and placed in gallon containers..  They were left outside and the deer killed most of them – but two managed to come back and were planted later.  This caused results to be less for the year.
  • A total of 15 pounds, 2 5/8 ounces of Best Boy tomatoes were harvested
  • Two plants were planted – with an average of 7.5 pounds of tomatoes from each plant
  • Approximately 34 total Best Boy tomatoes were harvested – with an average weight of 7.1 ounces each

Better Boy Tomatoes

Best Boy Tomatoes

  • Better Boy tomato plants were purchased from the store this year because the Best Boy tomato plants were mostly taken out by the deer.
  • A total of 92 pounds, 8 1/2 ounces of Better Boy tomatoes were harvested
  • Four Better Boy tomato plants were sown – with an average of 23 pounds harvested from each plant
  • Approximately 237 Better Boy tomatoes were harvested – with an average weight of 6.2 ounces each

Roma Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes

  • A total of 62 pounds, 13 1/4 ounces of Roma tomatoes were harvested
  • Four plants were sown – with an average of 15.7 pounds of tomatoes from each plant
  • Approximately 572 Roma tomatoes were harvested with an average weight of 1.76 ounces each

Red Cherry Tomatoes

Red Cherry Tomatoes

  • A total of 7 pounds, 15 3/8 ounces of Red Cherry tomatoes were harvested
  • Only one plant was sown

Anaheim Hot Peppers

Anaheim Hot Peppers

  • A total of 3 pounds, 4 5/8 ounces of Anaheim Hot Peppers were harvested
  • Two plants were sown with an average of 1.6 pounds per plant
  • Approximately 59 Anaheim Hot Peppers were harvested with an average weight of 0.90 ounces each
  • The plant put on a lot of vegetative growth – but the results were less than desirable.  The peppers were not hot at all and defeated the purpose of trying this variety.  This variety most likely will not be planted again.

California Wonder Peppers

California Wonder Peppers

  • A total of 10 pounds, 9 3/4 ounces of California Wonder peppers were harvested
  • 8 plants were planted – but three died off early – leaving 5 plants with an average of 2.1 pounds harvested per plant
  • Approximately 66 total California Wonder peppers were harvested with an average weight of 2.58 ounces per pepper
  • Other gardeners this year noted that this was a bad year for peppers.  That certainly was the case for us as well – with over 44 pounds last year down to 10 pounds this year

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce

  • A total of 3 pounds, 15 7/8 ounces of Red Salad Bowl lettuce was harvested over the year
  • Approximately seven Red Salad Bowl plants were sown – with an average weight of 9.1 ounces each
  • Red Salad Bowl lettuce is very nice to add to salads to give it color

Buttercrunch Lettuce

Buttercrunch Lettuce

  • Approximately 4 pounds, 5 5/8 ounces of Buttercrunch lettuce was harvested
  • Approximately eight plants were sown with an average of 8.75 ounces from each
  • Yields of Buttercrunch are not all that great – and it is a more delicate variety to keep happy.  Debating whether Buttercrunch will be planted next year.

Simspon Elite Lettuce

Simpson Elite Lettuce

  • A total of 6 pounds, 12 1/4 ounces of Simpson Elite lettuce was harvested
  • Approximately 10 plants were sown with an average of 10.8 ounces from each plant
  • Simpson Elite continues to impress and will be one of the varieties grown for years to come.  High producer and it seems like it can withstand the lower and higher temperatures better than the rest

New Red Fire Lettuce

New Red Fire Lettuce

  • A total of 5 pounds, 8 3/8 ounces of New Red Fire lettuce was harvested
  • Approximately seven plants were sown with an average of 12.5 ounces from each plant
  • New Red Fire was a new variety planted this year and has really proven itself.  The colorful leaves make for a nice contrast in salads and the leaves are exceptionally large with a great yield.

Parris Island Romaine Lettuce

Parris Island Romaine Lettuce

  • A total of 3 pounds, 11 1/4 ounces of Parris Island Romaine Lettuce was harvested
  • Approximately seven plants were harvested with an average of 8.4 ounces each
  • Parris Island is a vertical-growing romaine lettuce and is also picky.  There were at least 12 planted but only seven could be harvested as the others bolted and were unusable because of the hot weather.
  • Parris Island does not store very long in storage with a shelf life of maybe a little more than a week.  All other lettuce varieties seemed to last at least two or more weeks

Snow Crown Cauliflower

Snow Crown Cauliflower

  • A total of 11 pounds, 7 3/8 ounces of Snow Crown Cauliflower were harvested
  • Eight Snow Crown Cauliflower were harvested with an average weight of 1.43 pounds each
  • Snow Crown cauliflower did very well – much better than when I first tried growing cauliflower with the Snowball X variety planted a few years back

Premium Crop Broccoli

Premium Crop Broccoli

  • A total of 6 pounds, 6 5/8 ounces of Premium Crop broccoli were harvested
  • Seven total plants were harvested with an average weight of 14.7 ounces
  • A total of 10 plants were planted – but yields were greatly reduced because they were planted in a partial sunny area and spaced 12 inches apart.

Green Goliath Broccoli

(no picture this year)

  • A total of 4 pounds, 12 3/8 ounces of Green Goliath broccoli were harvested
  • Harvested from two plants with an average of 2.3 pounds each
  • A total of 10 plants were planted but only two yielded.  They were planted too close together and in a partial sunny area.

Cascadia Snap Peas

Cascadia Snap Peas

  • A total of 10 pounds, 12 1/8 ounces of Cascadia Snap Peas were harvested
  • Approximately 142 total vines were harvested with an average of 1.2 ounces of peas from each
  • Cascadia Snap Peas is the winner in the pea variety.  This variety is sweet and the pods are edible.  The pods can be large and plump instead of needing to be picked before the peas get large

Sugarsnax Carrots

Sugarsnax Carrots

  • A total of 9 pounds, 11 3/8 ounces of Sugarsnax carrots were harvested
  • Approximately 122 were harvested with an average weight of 1.3 ounces
  • Sugarsnax was put to the test this year against Scarlet Nantes.  Sugarsnax wins based on taste, color, and yield.  Sugarsnax is about four times as expensive as Scarlet Nantes

Scarlet Nantes Carrots

Scarlet Nantes Carrots

  • A total of 7 pounds, 11 ounces of Scarlet Nantes carrots were harvested
  • Approximately 110 were harvested with an average weight of 1.1 ounces each

Easter Egg Radishes

Easter Egg Radishes

  • A total of 2 pounds, 9 1/4 ounces of Easter Egg Radishes were harvested
  • Approximately 57 were harvested with an average weight of 0.72 ounces each
  • Easter Egg radishes are my chosen radish choice with the variety of colors and good yields

Crimson Sweet Watermelon

Crimson Sweet Watermelon

  • A total of 74 pounds, 14 7/8 ounces of Crimson Sweet Watermelon were harvested
  • Six watermelon were collected from three plants – with an average weight of 12.5 pounds each
  • First year growing watermelon and Crimson Sweet did a great job.  It does have a lot of seeds, however.

Kennebec Potatoes

Kennebec Potatoes

  • A total of 35 pounds, 1 1/2 ounces of Kennebec potatoes were harvested
  • Approximately 82 plants were harvested with an average of 6.8 ounces each
  • Very bad yields this year compared to last year.  Plants were planted 8 inches apart instead of 12 inches apart like last year.  Smaller seed potatoes were selected this year and planted whole.

Yukon Gold Potatoes

(no picture this year)

  • A total of 15 pounds, 7 1/2 ounces of Yukon Gold potatoes were harvested
  • Approximately 51 plants were harvested with an average of 4.84 ounces each
  • Most likely will not plant Yukon Gold potatoes again.  Yields are less than Kennebec and we did not notice any difference in taste quality.

Bush Blue Lake 274 Green Beans

Bush Blue Lake 274 Green Beans

  • A total of 26 pounds, 2 5/8 ounces of Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans were harvested
  • Do not have a total yield per plant because 196 total plants were recorded to have sprouted – but many of them were planted too late or were pulled out
  • Bush Blue Lake 274 green bean is the ‘standard’ in green bean production.  This was planted a few years back with good results.  While the results didn’t meet those from a few years ago, it grealy surpassed the yield from last year when using Greencrop green beans.

Honey Treat Corn

Honey Treat Corn

  • A total of 14 pounds, 11 5/8 ounces of Honey Treat corn were harvested
  • Approximately 33 ears of corn were harvested averaging 7.12 ounces each
  • Honey Treat corn is a very sweeet yellow variety corn that I’ll grow until I run out of seed.  The seed is no longer produced so I bought a large bag of it in 2011.  The germination rate wasn’t all that great – most likely because it wasn’t sown at the proper time.  The yield would have been much higher – but the wildlife decimated the crops this year.

H-19 Little Leaf Pickling Cucumbers

(no picture this year)

  • A total of 11 pounds, 9 ounces of H-19 Little Leaf Pickling cucumbers were harvested
  • A yield of 3.85 pounds from each of the three plants
  • Approximately 42 cucumbers were harvested with an average weight of 4.4 ounces each
  • This variety was chosen to try this year because it is an open-pollinated pickling cucumber – meaning you can save the seeds and get the true plant again

Burpee Pickler Cucumbers

(no picture this year)

  • A total of 15 pounds, 5 1/2 ounces were harvested
  • A yield of 7.66 pounds from each of the two plants
  • Approximately 31 total cucumbers were harvested with an average weight of 7.9 ounces
  • Many of the cucumbers harvested were way past their prime as they were not found in time.  This caused a large skewing of these results

Tri-Star Strawberries

Tri-Star Strawberries

  • A total of 12 pounds, 8 3/8 ounces of Tri-Star strawberries were harvested
  • The yield of the strawberries have dropped by 50% this year.  Plants were three years old and need to be cycled