Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mary Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

This is the first year I'm starting some of my garden from seed indoors.  My only experience with seeds was a few years ago when someone gave me a packet of flower seeds as part of an object lesson in church.  I bought potting soil, planted the seeds, put them in my dimly lit apartment and watched them get leggy, then moldy, then dead.

Ever since I've been a bit nervous about trying to start garden veggies,with the exception of sunflowers and sugar snap peas started outside last year, which seem to be idiot-proof.  But I've been determined lately to try some things again that I have previously failed at and given up on, like bread making. First bread (going well so far), then garden seeds, then maybe pie crusts, someday...

While shopping in Menards, I saw seed starting mix and seed trays were on a big rebate, so I bought them on a whim.  I could have invested in grow lights and warming mats, etc, but I thought for this year, as a novice attempt, I'd just try my large south-facing living room window.

This time I read a lot online before I started and learned a bit more about starting seeds.  I had no idea there is such a thing as special seed-starting soil, for example.  You can't just use any potting soil from the store.  I bought jalapeno seeds, balloon flower seeds, money plant seeds, luffa seeds, moss rose seeds, and broccoli seeds.  I also had snap dragon and marigold seeds from my flowers outside that went to seed last fall, so I planted them too.

For comparison, I live in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5b.

Here's what the luffa looks like 19 days after I started them.  I soaked them in a shallow dish of water for two days (like this blog suggested) and then planted them in large (maybe 6 inch?) pots.  I planted two seeds in each pot, and one sprouted in each pot within 5-6 days, 50% germination rate so far.  I'm really really excited about these and I am going to be careful with them.  I want them to survive the transplant to my yard so they can grow vines of sponge-growing goodness up to 30 feet long.  I bought the seeds online from Peacefully Home Grown.

Update: Click HERE to see what the luffa looks like at the end of May.

One seed must have been damaged, because it's first leaves are all warped.  I'm waiting to see what happens with this one.

 Here is my broccoli, again at 19 days.
 And my little jalapeno.  It's not doing as well as the broccoli and luffa.  I suspect it needs more light than just a south-facing window as they have gotten a bit leggier than the other plants.
I'm excited to try these balloon flowers.  I love their little puffed up flowers and they're perennial.  They seem to be doing well in the window and haven't gotten too tall yet.
 And a surprise since the seeds were free, the marigolds are doing very well and almost all of them sprouted.

We put in some new garden beds this spring.  Apparently treated lumber no longer contains arsenic, so it's safer to use for veggie beds than it used to be.  Cutting these was a beast, but we got them finished and the beds are ready.  Strawberries are going into the one on the right.  I'm experimenting with square foot gardening in the one at the bottom, and cantaloupe, pumpkins, and some other things are going to be in the one on the top-left later in the year.  The burning bushes are also going to come out to make room for cherry bushes.  We put in a Sundance apple tree in the fall and we've got a honeycrisp one to put in this spring as well.  I love having a yard to grow edible things in.

1 comment:

  1. you guys have been hard at work! Looks like a great start to a soon to be yummy garden