Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Seed Organization Perfection

I recently celebrated a milestone birthday.  My adoring & amazing husband surprised me with a kid-free vacation to London during my spring break.  Obviously, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was definitely on the agenda...and more on that later.

However, what I want to talk about now was the Kew gift shop.

The English have certainly merged their practical nature with their love of gardening with this seed organizing box.  First of all, the slots for seeds are taller than they are wide because...HELLO...seed packets are taller than they are wide.  I dunno why the seed organizers I see 'round these parts are basically converted recipe boxes.  This is of course fine if you don't mind your seed packets being on their side, but that's a spilling hazard for me.  Second of all, the dividers in this box aren't "tomatoes," "peppers," etc. or even A, B, C, etc.  They are January, February, March, etc.  Brilliant!  It makes so much more sense to organize your seeds by when you sow them, doesn't it?  I've been having a gazillion zip-top bags trying to keep my seeds organized by planting time which is just ugly and wouldn't allow me to keep them in groupings of vegetable type unless I added even more baggies.  I already had to open 3 bags before getting to my desired seeds as it was!

Because I only really do like 3 groups of planting per year, I'm going to use each slot as a planting time and then use the dividers to separate vegetable families. The larger slot along the side will hold my planting plan, seed label sticks and markers.

I am more excited about this purchase than the tins of biscuits and tea I got at Fortnum & Mason.  This is saying a lot, y'all!

There was lots of other awesomeness from Burgon & Ball at the gift shop.  It made me wish I had brought a bigger suitcase (and that the exchange rate wasn't more favorable!).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2011 Seed Starting, Part Deux

After doing a braggy mcbragerton post about being on the ball & doing a spring garden this year, it's time to start those summer vegetables and herbs.  Already!  Spring is full of such insanity.  I mean, one day it's 40*F with snowdrops and the next it's 80*F with daffodils just like one moment you're dutifully sowing arugula and the next you're onto tomatoes.

Today I've got tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, thai basil, purple basil, sweet basil, nasturtiums, marigolds, ground cherries and a few more swiss chard to get underway.  I'm hoping the sweet peppers do better than last year imparticular.

This means it's time to pull out the second grow light from the closet and to break out the seed starting mat.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Put to Bed

After 2 years of swearing that I would have a spring season to my garden, it looks like I'm finally making good. 
Yesterday I put the kale, onions and kohlrabi I started in early February. In addition, I stopped by the garden center and got a few scoops of onion sets (one red, one super sweet yellow) to augment my cipollini onion seedlings.  It was just $1.50/large scoop so I figured why not?  Especially since I hadn't started enough onions from seed to fill that portion of the garden.  Of course, 2 scoops was too much and onions are now overflowing into the flower beds, but whatever.  We eat an alarming amount of onions.

In addition, my arugula and mustard have sprouted in abundance and the lettuce is coming along too (I think I sowed some of that a bit too deep).  I've not had good luck with direct sowing thanks to digging critters, so I'm really excited that thus far this is working out!

Speaking of critters.....

As I was planting, I heard a rustling sound of a animal.  You should know I'm terrified of most small-medium garden animals (mice, moles, voles, rats, chipmunks, etc.).  I remained calm & quickly finished up only to spy the source of the sound...a very fat bunny.  I'm happy to report that either the bunny is too full feasting on my heurcheras, crocus and toad lily sprouts or is adequately deterred by my taller raised beds.  The kale and kohlrabi are nibble-free...for now at least!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Garden Update

The nice weather has certainly been a lovely change, hasn't it?  Between enjoying the great outdoors, homework and general life I haven't been able to sit inside & blog (in fact, this post has been sitting on my computer waiting for me to hit "Publish" for days), but the garden is getting busy. 

I sowed some lettuce, arugula & mustard seed last Sunday in the raised beds.  No sprouting yet (to be expected) but I do need to set up my watering game on the non-rainy days.  I've noticed some digging by squirrels in the planted area, so I'm thinking some row covers will be put on soon for protection.

Here are the latest photos of the onions, kohlrabi & Red Russian kale I planted indoors. The onions, for some reason, are having really spotty germination. In some cells, multiple seeds will germinate but in others none will.  I'm trying to carefully separate the seedlings that are in one cell and put one in another cell.  I've also started some Swiss Chard.

The Red Russian kale will definitely be ready to put out next weekend. Just in time to make room for the summer veggies that will be started shortly thereafter!