Sunday, February 21, 2010
While there is still a foot of snow over most of my garden at least at this point it is "a foot" and "most" instead of "feet" and "all." What can I say? Not having to wear a hat, mittens & 2 pairs of pants for my outside class yesterday gave me some hope that spring was slowly, but surely, coming. Thus, I decided to start me some seeds!
Now, I still firmly believe it's too early for summer vegetables like tomatoes & peppers. After going through all my seeds (again), I found that I had forgotten about some kohlrabi & turnips & kale & carrots from last year. Whoops. I've also realized that I'd prefer to put blueberries in containers to make netting easier. And, I decided that I want to plant perennial onions in the fall. So, the 2010 garden map has changed:
Note that I am growing turnips & squash in the same place. I'll sow the turnip seeds (outdoors) as soon as the snow is gone and then they'll be ready to harvest about the time that the squash goes in. Double duty! Likewise, I'll plant mustard, kale & kohlrabi in the same 5 squares, just planting what I want/need at the time (for kohlrabi, you harvest the whole plant)
Now, onto the seed starting! Last year, I did a rather comprehensive post on the subject. Today I followed the same steps at method one in that post. I'll use method 2 for peppers and tomatoes in March. I would like to emphasize the need to sanitize you containers, especially if you are re-using pots or using yogurt cups*.
Much like human babies, baby plants are susceptible to sickness and you need to make sure everything is as clean as possible. Along this line of reasoning, you should really use fresh potting soil or potting mix for your seed starting. I know it's tempting to reuse something from last year, but you don't know what's lurking in it. Also tempting is using soil from outside. Not only could this have pests or diseases in it, but if it's heavy clay like mine, it'll turn into cement in a pot. So, spring for some fresh stuff. Your "babies" are worth it!
And, finally, don't forget to label your seedlings. It's just a matter of time before you have so many that you forget which is which. Last year I used the wood stakes, but they barely survived seed starting before degrading. This year? I'm using the blasphemy that is plastic. However, I'll be able to re-use them next year! And probably the year after that. Make sure to include the date & the name of the plant.
And...this brings me to the cost of my 2010 Garden. I've already spent $54.85 on seeds for this year (not counting seeds I bought last year that I have leftover or didn't use). I recently bought:
2 bags of soil-less potting mix ($8)
1 bottle of fish emulsion/kelp fertilizer ($13 but I will likely only use 1/4 *total* this year. So, I'm going to say $3.)
1 packet of plastic labels ($2)
Grand total spend on garden that's not even in the ground yet:
I can't wait for the first harvest...
*If you use yogurt cups, cut a hole(s) in the bottom for drainage. AND, DO NOT use Yoplait yogurt cups. The tapered top makes getting the seedling out a PITA. Only use wide-mouthed yogurt cups.