Gardening Favorites

Seedlings Hatching

Spring has sprung…in my kitchen that is! Over the weekend I notice a few seeds have hatched. Looks like chard, cauliflower and broccoli. I love when sprouts appear and the little anxiety of something not growing disappears.

Last night I also planted onions, a few tomatoes, and peppers. Peppers always seem to take a while to sprout so don’t be concerned if two weeks go by without movement.
Currently, this is what is growing:
  • Cauliflower: 4 plants
  • Broccoli: 4 plants
  • Bell Peppers: 6 plants
    (I love peppers though!)
  • Hot Peppers: 4 plants
  • Onions: 40
    (I love onions too!)
  • Tomatoes: 7
    (This includes all the varieties)
  • Leeks: 5
    (I don’t need a ton)
  • Kale: 2
  • Chard: 2
  • Peas: 4 packets

Just a note on onions- I add around 20 seeds per cell because they are easy to split and it saves tons of space!

I realized the big 50% seed sale at Smith’s was this past weekend! I hope some of you could take advantage of the deals. If not, here are a few coupon codes for Burpees Seeds.
15 % off $75
$10 off $50 or more
$5 off $30 or more

I’m also creating a list complete list of when I plant (indoor/outdoor) and when I transplant for all those interested. I’m almost done and will post it soon, but for now here is the schedule this week. I’d love some feedback to make it user friendly. The seeds I’m planting are added to this list but really just focus on the plant variety. I HIGHLY recommend splitting seeds with a friend or family member because you don’t need twenty tomato plants!

Here is my schedule this week:

week my goal is to post information about creating good soil, the benefits of square foot vs. traditional vs. portage gardening, and how to plan a garden. I feel that if I post a deadline I’ll have more pressure to get ‘er done. 

Planting Indoors March 3, 2012

Confession- The first time I started seeds indoors I sincerely had anxiety. It took some deep soul searching to understand my apprehension. Maybe I'm the only one, but I feared my seeds wouldn't grow. Sounds silly, right? 

First time transplanting broccoli, I called Larry wondering what happens if there was a freeze. He replied, "your plants die, and  you buy new starts at Home Depot. No biggie."

If you're like me, take a deep breath. Realize if seeds don't grow, you won't starve and  are out a couple bucks. Only two containers in my four years haven't sprouted and probably because I forgot the seeds!

Each year I create a new, "fancy" rigging system. This time I bought a shelving unit at Home Depot and connected an old florescent light fixture with tie downs. 

I found cheap plastic trays at IFA and reused some of my old plant cartons. I'm trying toliet paper rolls as an alternative for cartons this year, (cut the bottoms and fold like a cardboard box.) We will see how it holds.

Also, I'm using my brain and actually keeping a grow journal. Nothing amazing, just dates and seed types. (Should have done this years ago!)
Seeds planted as of Monday:
  • Red bell peppers: seeds harvested last year
  • Chard: Bright Lights 
  • Broccoli: Hybrid Super Blend
  • Cauliflower: Early Snowball (would prefer Cassius)
  • Kale: Dwarf Blue Scotch
  • Parsley: Italian Flat Leaf (soak parsley overnight before planting) 
Temptation to buy unnecessary gardening supplies always haunts me when entering a store....I really do need a package of garden labels for $7, right?!? 

Here's a list of necessities to stop the impulse buying.

  • Florescent lights (nothing fancy, regular bulbs- Don't be fooled into paying more for the "aqua" lights)
  • Place to hang the lights (I've had my plants on the floor and a light dangling between PVC pipe)
  • Soil
  • Pod cartons 
  • Seeds (very important)
  • Garden plan (still on my to do list)
  • Markers for seeds (Popsicle sticks, etc)
  • Notebook, and calendar
Total time to setup indoor grow system and plant seeds= 25 minutes. Seriously, If I can do this you can too! I have extra florescent light fixtures if anyone needs one. 

First Round of Peas planted February 25, 2012
Quite a few people choose to skip peas, and understandably so. You don’t receive a huge yield for all the space and effort it takes to grow; however, peas to me bring spring just a little closer. Plus, what a delight to taste a sweet treat from your garden at the end of May.
This year I'm testing the following peas for yield and taste; Little Marvel, Oregon Giant, Super Sugar Snap, and Lincoln. I wish I could remember what I tried last year because I wouldn't use them again. Not all seeds are created equal so always save the packet and write the year down, or KEEP A JOURNAL; a goal I have every year.
Soaking pea seeds the night before gives a boost to your growing success.
For now, my peas occupy a random flower bed in my driveway, yes my driveway. The three flower beds on the side of the driveway are quite neglected and need to be put to use. Surprisingly, after tilling the ground, the dirt is actually in good shape. 

After poking holes with my finger about an inch deep and a couple inches apart, I dropped the seedlings in the indent and softly stroked soil over the top. A bonus to the driveway beds is how close they are to a chain link fence creating a perfect climbing space for peas.

For those whose gardens are ready for planting- take a few minutes this weekend to plant some spinach, carrots, beets, cabbage, kale, leeks, lettuce, potatoes, or other cold crops and you'll be feasting this May/June.

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