Saturday, March 21, 2020

Strength in Spring

Thursday was the first day of spring. Hurray for glimpses of dawn, wherever we can find them.  Day 9 of official pandemic. Lots of things in the world are bleak, AND not immediately going to get better, but I don't need to tell you that. But friend, dear ones--remember Aslan's montage of "Courage, Dear Heart(s)." 

Right now, this week planting seeds seemed like both the simplest and one of the most important things I have ever done. Here in eastern Wisconsin, where our frost date can be quite the gamble, the fact that most things can now be begun indoors (skip the squash, melons and tomatoes) was a grace. Cali helped and she's been very dutifully watering them. She did say that, "it's much better to plant seeds because then you get to watch them the whole way, otherwise you are just watching them go in the ground. I'm trying to be a better, more attentive gardener and learn from past mistakes. So here's some tips I'm incorporating if you want to plant along. Also, start SOON. I'm already encountering multiple seed sites that are selling out or partially or totally closed. 

Tip 1: Buy/swap great seeds
Here are some great options: (Really fun later season for small spaces and containers)
Tip 2: Paper towel pre-sprout
I'm trying this this year, after already having started many of my seeds but this is genius. The easiest way to kill your seeds is in those first few weeks when they dry out or mold. 

Tip 3: Sprinkle don't soak
For those first few weeks when your seeds are extra vulnerable try a squirt bottle instead of a watering can. You don't want them to get too wet and rot. 

Tip 4: Good potting mixture
There's lots of ways to go about this and it's true that vermiculite and peat are not the most ecological sources. Coconut fibers also travel a long way. However, these things are readily available at garden stores and not bad choices for beginners or quick starts. However, I'm also hoping to add this local moss product to help protect against fungal action in trial this year-- also super curious how this works out ecologically. It’s also cheaper to buy (if you don't have any available) and mix compost and topsoil with a small amount of sand. You can also plant in bags of topsoil directly

Tip 5: Grow lights
If starting indoors, don't skip this step. I'm trying out these.

Tip 6: Starter pots
There have been years when I have made pots out of toilet paper rolls or newspaper. While your kids are out, it could give them something to do. Perk is that you can start your seeds in bigger pots. However, the trays with the lids are convenient and do help keep good humidity. 

Tip 7: Grow up not out
There are lots of ways to accomplish vertical gardening, but when you get ready to transplant, (or you live some lucky place that is already warm enough to direct sow, growing up helps to maximize space and sometimes reduces pests, or allows for more intensive plantings.  

What are you planting? How are you growing hope?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for dropping in at our table! Feel free to insert a link back to your webpage here. We aim to publish legitimate comments. We welcome discussion, even dissension, but please try to be courteous and cite your sources.