Thursday, April 19, 2012

Good things come from seeds

The title above is certainly not an absolute truth, nothing ever is, is it, but what is true is I am a fan of growing my veggies and herbs from seeds. While this honestly requires more work, I find considerable satisfaction in figuring out exactly how to grow stuff from seeds. I find this is most definitely a trial and error processs involving lots of errors. For one, I have yet to figure out how to start lettuce in pots.

Here is the latest batch of seedlings: basil started on my windowsill. basil

Some meta-thoughts:

1. Know. Your. Garden. This includes your microclimate as well as other considerations. For instance, since I am in a community garden, I can't control how the other plots nearby are maintained. Thus, no matter how much Sluggo I use, I will always have a kazillion snails and slugs marauding my plot for delicious seedlings. Hence, I start from seed at home to minimize seedling death. Climate is another consideration. I start tomatoes at home from seed because it is way too cold in January/February/March for tomato seedlings to thrive in my garden plot. As of this week, my tomato seedlings are now almost all planted since the overnight lows are getting close to 55 F.

2. Consider prepping your seeds. This speeds up germination. For beans and peas, I soak overnight. For others, just a few hours. Here's an article. I first learned about this in my favorite gardening book, From Seed to Skillet by Jimmy Williams and Susan Heeger. Jimmy has a more involved protocol for seed prep for those who are interested.

3. Be sure your soil is good quality. Another duh but I have seen many things here in the gardens, and one thing I like to see is good soil prep. I usually add a handful of general organic fertilizer for veggies before planting at the very least. I add even more stuff for tomatoes. I fertilize my blueberries and citrus, both in pots, monthly.

4. Keep up your gardening journal/log/diary/calendar. It does help to write down when you start seeds and when you plant. My journal is a combo calendar/diary. I paste an empty monthly calendar form into my journal for each month. I also log what I have done for that month.

5. Other considerations.

I have written about this before: growing from seed is cheaper, the whole world is yours in terms of variety, you can control your quality (all organic or not?), and it can be all about mindfulness if you choose.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Leaving room for wildflowers: spring toadflax

I am not a compulsive gardener when it comes to what we call weeds. Maybe 'selective' is a better word. I make sure to pull the pernioious weeds, number one being the false garlic. However, I find I make room for toadflax and california poppy, especially when they provide welcome color when we are in between the winter and summer crops. Photobucket I like leaving room for wildflowers in my garden. They remind me to be open to surprises.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Boysenberry flowers greeting spring

Funny how the vernal equinox triggers growth. I've noticed each year how my boysenberry gears up big time after the vernal equinox, producing flowers at nearly every node. I like to think they are ready to face the world after dormancy. Photobucket I'm usually here early in the morning so there aren't any urban bees but later in the day, I usually find there's a bee in each flower, literally. Photobucket Photobucket

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

First tomato of 2012

The SunGold cherry tomato, planted 1/24/2012. I'm going to grow this one on the balcony, the first time I have done so. Our balcony gets approximately 3-4 hours sun max, which is pushing the boudaries for tomatoes. But in the spirit of adventure, I will give it a go. I'll be successively transplanting this into larger containers until I reach a 15 gallon size. Right now, I think it is in a 1 gallon pot. Photobucket
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