Friday, March 20, 2009

The first Seed Starting of 09

This past weekend I began one of my favorite spring occupations; seed starting. I had purchased seed starting mix several weeks earlier. I had climbed up into our greenhouse and gathered together flats and various sizes of pots and I had even brought two flats in filled with pots so they would be warm when I was ready. I was waiting for the right moment. I could of course attempt to turn it into a mother son project during an afternoon while the babe was napping. But I knew that would result in a high blood pressure hour and a much bigger mess. And I was feeling a bit selfish, for now I wanted to enjoy carefully measuring out each little seed and putting it in the center of its pot, into its hole and gently pressing the soil down, all by myself without worrying about all the mishaps that would happen with the help of a three year old.

The timing was perfect, I had a window of time all to myself. I filled thre
e flats with soil. I planted forty four tomato seedlings, some into four inch pots and some in two inch. I planted mostly short season varieties such as Early Cascade, Early Wonder, Early Bush Girl and Oregon Spring. Then I planted a smaller number of heirloom longer season varieties, nothing that takes longer than eighty days. A few of my favorites are Sungold, Black Cherry, Orange Russian and Pink Accordian. Then I planted some herbs, some of which are slow to germinate and grow. The basil, thyme, parsley and cilantro will grow fast enough that I will be able to pinch the tops multiple times before planting. I will probably start multiple batches of basil and cilantro until early summer. I was surprised by how quickly everything germinated. I sowed a flat of tomatoes on Saturday and another one on Sunday, in addition to the flat of various herbs, some of which ( lavender, chamomile, oregano), I expected to take a couple weeks to germinate.

By Thursday almost everything had come up. Almost all of the tomatoes are up, some of the basil, thyme, chamomile, lavender, cilantro and even some oregano! Wow, I'm pretty impressed. In another week I will start some flowers and peppers, after that come broccoli and cabbage, a couple weeks later: squash and cucumbers and next I know it I'll be moving probably a dozen flats in and out daily to harden off in the spring sun on our back porch, and better yet up to the hoophouse for planting. So exciting!

This is a picture of Noah and I watering tomatoes, corn and herbs, all of which were started indoors and transplanted. Last spring we had dirt-work done to smooth out our hillside so it would be a gradual sloping garden. In previous summers we had gardened mostly in pots and a few constructed beds. Because we were waiting on dirtwork last summer, we didn't get hardly any plants into the ground until June 15th. Which is really late. The official planting out date here is June 1st and generally I get tomatoes in the ground by May 15th. and surround them with wall o waters or plant them in the greenhouse or other covered bed. This spring is very exciting because our garden is in place, so we should be able to start thawing out raised beds and planting some things (in the hoop-house) by May first.

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