Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Getting Started

We've had some beautiful sunny and mild weather this month. In fact, today the temps are soaring upwards towards 60*F! The snow is melting away like fat on a hot skillet (we are down to about 7", with LOTS of bare spots). So, of course, one's thoughts turn to the garden, which, although still under snow and suffering from ground freeze, will "soon" be ready to dig and plant.

So, yesterday I purchased a new bucket/tub (the old one is frozen to the ground by the compost bins, and now sports several holes and cracks, thanks to my efforts to unstick it), and mixed up a batch of seed starting "soil."

Why do I make my own? In the long run, it is a lot cheaper. I used to order seed starter mix from one of my gardening catalogues, but when gas prices started to skyrocket, the shipping became more expensive than the bag of mix. So, now I purchase a bag of perlite, a bag of vermiculite and a bag of peat moss. Bring 'em all indoors to warm up (have towels ready for that peat moss, which will pee all over your kitchen floor as it thaws). Then, take your handy bucket/tub and mix up up with a 1:1:4 ration (perlite:vermiculite:peat moss). Stir it up well. Add water to make it uniformly moist. Then start filling your seed trays.

I've finally started to refine my seed starting. I've given up on onions, broccoli and cauliflower, so this year the only veg I needed to start by seed was tomatoes. Of course, I have several varieties, about 33 last count:

In the past I've planted about 10 of each type, but this year I only went with about 8, although some of the "pots" got more than one seed.

Why so many? Well, I can't resist the names! Orange banana. Orange Flesh Purple Smudge. Al-kuffa (a rare Middle Eastern variety). Dad's Sunset. Garden Peach. Let's hope that late blight doesn't show up again this year - I really want to see what the OFPS looks like!

And just to prove that the sun is out and warm, here's Idefix doing what he does most of the time: snoozing in a sunbeam:

1 comment:

Woodswoman Extraordinaire said...

Thanks for the starter soil recipe. I shall be using it this weekend! My big problem now is where to put my little starter pots where my one irritating little plant digging cat can't get into them. She thinks flinging soil all over the place is a glorious activity, and treasure seeking in the bottom of pots is an irresistible delight. Hm. Creative thinking is required.