Starting Seeds

What a surprise this snowfall was. I didn’t expect so much snow. There’s about 6” here at the nursery & it’s blowing like mad.

It’s nice to see it as this is actually winter. And, I guess, there a little more for Sunday, maybe.

The seeds are here. There’s a good selection of flowers, herbs & vegetables on the rack. There are some traditional items: Black Beauty Zucchini, Golden Bantam Corn, Summer Savory, Dill.

Then there are some special plants: Moon & Stars Watermelon, Outhouse Hollyhock, Red Malabar Spinach, Chalk’s Early Jewel Tomato, Pepper Fish, Love-in-a-Mist Nigella.

These are just a few of the packets available. Some should be started by the end of the month. Pepper plants are slow to germinate & need a warm environment. They don’t go in the garden until after the first frost. Broccoli & Cauliflower are ‘cool-season’ vegetables. They can be started now & transplanted as soon as the soil is workable.

There are some plants used as ‘companions’: bush beans/cucumber/summer savory, corn/pole beans/melons/squash, lettuce/radish/strawberries, pepper/basil/okra, tomato/marigold/nasturtium/garlic. These are some of the beneficial combinations. There are combinations that don’t work together: tomato/broccoli/kale/cabbage/corn, peas/onion/garlic, pumpkin/potato.

Starting seeds is easy. You need a good potting mix, one that will not retain too much water thereby creating the perfect conditions for fungus, but enough to penetrate the seed hull & keep the seedling moist. Some seeds can be soaked overnight if they have a hard hull. Once the seeds have germinated they need light. A good overhead lamp works; keep in mind that it should be fairly close to the seedling but far enough away that it’s not too hot/dry.

Raise the lamp as the seedlings grow. Read the labels so you can determine when your planting day occurs & give yourself an extra 7-10 days from there. Seedlings will need to fed with a mild fertilizer such as fish emulsion for consistent growth.

Please make sure the site where your seedlings are to be planted outside is ready for them: soil should be moist/crumbly. They will need to be mulched(for flowers/herbs) & watered in to settle the soil around tender roots.

We will be having a class on raised bed gardening(more on this via eblast/web). This is a very efficient way of vegetable gardening. Beds are scaled to yard or use. A typical bed might be 4’ x 8’ with a 2’ path around it (fewer cuts on lumber). You need room for the wheelbarrow/weeding bucket & room to move around. It’s very possible to grow enough food to feed yourself for the season on 4-8 of these beds. Because the beds are planted densely, there is less weeding.

If these beds are treated as more than utilitarian, they will be sources of continuing beauty in the garden.

Please check back to our blog for updates on what’s happening & what you can do to make your garden special.

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