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2010 Seed Starting

April 8, 2010

I’ve been so busy lately, but since I haven’t actually finished much of anything, I’ve been absent around here.  I have more posts in the works, but I they won’t happen until the projects are finished.  One thing that is always a work-in-progress is my 2010 garden.

I’ve had my garden plans done for more than one month.  I trialled a very handy tool called GroVeg.  It is easy to use and has some great features.  One nice feature is that while you are creating your plantings, it continually updates a plant list, which is a nice summary of how many of each plant your space will hold and indoor and outdoor sow dates based on your area’s frost date.  One feature that it doesn’t allow is different varieties within a vegetable planting.  For instance, I am planting 6 or 8 varieties of tomatoes, but it will only show tomatoes on my garden plan and the total amount of tomato plants.  I will have to write in notes on which varieties I plan to sow in the “Notes” section.  Another great feature is emailed updates for when it is time to plant different things for your area.  Since I like an organized plan and this does just that, and so colorfully, too, I thought it was a very worthwhile tool to use.  The 30 day free trial has expired for me and I’m trying to figure out if I can budget the $25/one year or $40/two years to keep using it.  I think that it is well worth that amount.

2010 garden plan and plant list

As I did last year, I’m planning a preserving garden.  Since we have a 10 month CSA, it’s not essential that we grow food for us to eat year round, at this point.  However, we preserve a lot of food during the summer and I’m going to aim to  grow those vegetables that I would typically purchase at local u-pick farms and the varieties of vegetables of which we never receive enough in our CSA share.  Last year was a bust, due to a variety of reasons including:  lack of money to implement the raised bed plan I had in mind, starting my indoor seeds way too late, and not pushing ahead with my plan due to the potential for felling a tree in our backyard.  I’ve come conclusion that I will just have to work around two of the  issues.  If we don’t have money for beds, I will simply have to plant in the ground, either by mounding compost or renting or borrowing a rototiller.    If we end up felling the tree and it ruins some of my plantings, we will still end up ahead, which is not where we ended up last year.  The only real success from my garden last year was that I harvested enough pickling cucumbers to do a year’s worth of pickles, a couple of pounds of green beans and some summer squashes for fresh eating.

This is my plant list for this year:

  • basil
  • pole beans
  • beets
  • Brussel sprouts
  • carrots
  • cilantro
  • cucumbers (mostly pickling, but I’ll stick a couple slicing cucumbers in there too)
  • dill
  • eggplant
  • garlic
  • kale
  • leeks
  • onions
  • tomatillos
  • parsley
  • peas
  • peppers (bell peppers, jalapenos and cayenne)
  • potatoes
  • summer squash and zucchini
  • Swiss chard
  • tomatoes (more than half will be paste varieties for sauce)

Newspaper seed-starting pots

In the interest of saving money and reusing items we have around, we made newspaper seed-starting pots again.  It’s a bit of a time to make them, but it’s a simple project and easy to have kids help with cutting, rolling and stapling (which is a step I chose to take, though not all tutorials use this fastening method).

My only really sunny usable window is, unfortunately, north-facing, but all the years that I’ve started seeds here, I’ve had reliable results.  The year I attempted to use my south-facing window upstairs, it was too chilly and it was a fail.  So, it’s back to the north-facing sunny window which, ideally, has a built-in shelf under it for my seed trays.

Sunny window

I’ve used bubble wrap to cover the seed trays until germination for the past few years and it seems to work very well in keeping heat and moisture in, but still allowing sunlight in.

Tomato seedlings

Three weeks after starting the seeds the tomatoes and leeks look great, while the bell peppers, eggplants, tomatilloes and basils are much slower, but still growing.

That’s how my garden grows so far this year.  How about yours?

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