Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Starter Garden

I'm really a newbie/wanna be green thumb. This will be my first attempt at really trying to grow some vegetables in a real garden. I did attempt tomatoes in buckets two years ago and they failed miserably-I just didn't care for them the way they needed to be cared for and thought too much sun was bad for them-big mistake on my part. They ended up with some sort of disease and I just sort of let them go after that.

I tried some herbs last year in the Jiffy starter trays, they all started out really well. I transplanted them into some terra-cotta pits then found out later that terra-cotta just is not good for growing in my climate. They suck up all the water-ha! Makes complete sense now-but at the time I was oblivious. Then a strong storm came along and knocked over all the little pots and they were pretty much history. I had some basil that I had put into large plastic pots that survived the hit. So last year the only survivor I had was my basil.

This is the basil at about 4 weeks into the growing process:

That basil grew into some pretty good size bushes and I really had too much to even use on a daily basis. I got a good amount of pesto out of it to throw in the freezer though.

So after the initial mistakes with terra-cotta pots and sun requirements-I think I've got a good handle on the basics and hopefully (fingers crossed) will be successful with a small vegetable garden this year.

This blog is starting a few weeks AFTER I already started the seeds so I'll back track a bit to get caught up on the progress.

I'm starting this year with spinach, brussels sprouts, peas, pole beans, peppers and broccoli. I tried to pick veggies that could either be blanched and frozen, or those that we could consume on a daily basis. I want to get as much use out of them as possible. If they grow the way I plan-I want to have frozen batches of beans, brussels, peas and broccoli. The peppers can be used in maripoux and the spinach can be used on sandwiches in salads and in casseroles and such.

I'm also considering getting what's called a Topsy-Turvy. It is used to grow tomato plants upside down. Apparently it grows more tomatoes than a standing plant due to better distribution of water and nutrients to the fruits on the plant. We'll see. I've got to pick up a couple of them next week and try it out.

Anyway, I started the veggies from seed in the Jiffy pods again on March 18.

I left the basil out because I am going to just start another tray of herbs in about a week.

Its really simple to use, just add water to the pods so that they expand. Pull back the netting and loosen the soil on top a bit. Tuck in 3-4 seeds per pod (this helps to ensure against a wasted pod should you have some dud seeds). Cover loosely with the soil and then place the dome onto the tray and let sit in a warm place inside the home for a few days.

I like to use mini craft popsicle sticks to help mark the rows. I just use a marker and write the name of the veggie on it and stick it next to one of the pods in the row.

I keep the seed packets to either make small labels for each row-so that you can remember what you have planted where and also to give you info on transplanting like depth of sowing and width between rows for seedlings. Most of them indicate a 10-14 day germination time. I have found that these Jiffy trays produce a much faster germination.

March 20, 2008- two days later we have sprouts! The spinach, brussels and broccoli were the first to sprout.

March 22, 2008-Four days in and everything has sprouted except for the peppers. They seem to be a little more stubborn than the rest. I can now remove the dome and move them to a sunny area of the house. I water them when they start to look a little light brown.

March 28, 2008-Ten days in and the beans are growing like crazy! They really took off. The peas are doing well too. Still no sign of any peppers though. Not sure if it was a dud seed pack or they just need a little more time and sun. Time will tell.

April 2, 2008- Now at the official two week mark. Its time to go ahead and harden off and transplant the beans and peas. We've got some rains and storms in the forecast so I'm going to wait a few days before I put the spinach broccoli and brussels out. They are still fragile seedlings-not quite ready for the outdoors yet.

Its hard to tell from the pic-but we finally have some peppers starting to sprout! Not a dud seed pack after all. It seems they just needed a bit more sun to help them out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's some serious basil! I can just imagine all the pesto that could be made with that. Somehow everytime I try planting any herbs it fails miserably.