Well, that made me laugh.
I love spring – I’ve said that. At the same time Spring is busy. Spring is the time we make way for roses, not stop and smell them. The list is full: seed starting, brush clearing, tree trimming, bush pruning, seed choosing (oh, wait that’s just for the procrastinators, eh-hem).
For some reason this year I spent zero winter time planning my 2014 garden. I usually start seriously dreaming in December. Not this time.
Despite my lackadaisical beginning and a husband recovering from fractured ribs we are shifting into full gear, albeit a slow full gear. We are taking time to dream big and I am learning to live with small steps. Slow progress is better than burning out midway through. Right?
What are we doing this year? We have plans to double our garden space this year. We are adding in several new plants that I am nervous to see if they are successful. Here’s the line up:
New To The Crew
Carrots Cold tolerant started outside
Radish Cold tolerant started outside
Beets Cold tolerant started outside
Kale Cold tolerant started outside
Eggplant Started indoors
Potato (heirloom red flesh and blue) bought sets, plant anytime now
Swiss chard seeds
We hope to try sweet potatoes as it warms up. It is a tough call in this area but we may be able to pull it off – I’ll keep you posted.
Bush beans – green, yellow, and purple – seed, mid May
Peas – Oregon sugar – cold tolerant started outside
Cucumber – lemon (heirloom) and pickling start indoors/seed & plant mid May
Tomatoes- Roma for canning and a selection of heirlooms started indoors/buy plants mid May
Squash summer and winter (I hope) seed (start indoors?)
Spinach and Lettuce seed through out season – cool tolerant
Marigolds started indoors
Garlic Fall Planting sprouting
And a selection of herbs buy in May (ran out of room to start seeds!)
Phew! Such a list has me a little nervous and excited at the same time.
BIG deal for us – I am trying seeds again. Why is this a big deal? I have tried for four years and have yet to be successful. The good news is I have found four ways that do not work: starting too early, giving birth (you tend to forget about seedlings with a newborn), not following instructions and going away on vacation.
Not surprised, huh? This time- things are shaping up beautifully. Besides the no-brainer tips above, what else did I learn about seedlings?
- Use good seed starter
- Making your own from the compost pile does not work.
- Making your own from garden soil does not work.
- Making your own from bagged topsoil does not work.
Seeds need a decently bacteria-free, well balanced soil that will hold moisture, nourish the seed and drain well. There are recipes for making your own seed starter mixes. I am sure they work well. I picked up two bags for between three and five dollars a piece.
- Watch the moisture & keep them warm
Watering heavily one day and forgetting for the rest of the week is a bad idea.
- Seeds need moisture.
They do not need a flood. I use a spray bottle to mist the seeds several times a day.
I put my plantings in the cupboard above my crockpot of broth until they sprout. It is nice and toasty there and seems to keep them cozy and out of reach. Note: I did not cover them. When I did mold grew. BIG BUMMER.
- Let there be light
The window doesn’t work for me. End of story, bottom line, never has. What is working this year is full spectrum light bulbs. Once sprouted, my seedlings move to the lights. I use books to bring them close to the lights. So far so good. Fluorescent lights work too I hear.
- Know What Damping off Means
For the last four years all seeds that did not die from lack of water succumbed to damping off. For some reason I paid no attention to what damping off is and how to prevent it (shake your head – I know).
Damping off is:
Seed rot. Primarily from:
overwatering (done that),
dirty containers (um, you’re supposed to clean your containers?),
and dirty soil (is there such a thing as clean soil?).
Damping off is completely preventable. Tiny seedlings are fragile, little babies – they don’t do well if they have to compete with bacteria. Clean your containers, use clean soil (you can buy it or I’ve heard people bake garden soil to kill bacteria), and mist regularly.
Want more info? Here’s a cool site I found for ya’. Basically follow instructions the instructions. Be consistent. Don’t make my mistakes. And pray :).
I’ve collected a number of fun garden ideas on my Pintrest page: The Garden Place.
Next up… End of April Garden Checklist