email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Planting Seeds

I've gotten behind my seed-planting schedule with the computer problems, but I made some major progress last evening.  The delay shouldn't cause too much of a problem.  My indoors tomatoes and peppers and leeks were planted on time and they are up and growing.  And the unusual late cold would probably have killed the beets and peas I should have planted outside anyway.

The late indoors plantings were all of flowers and I got 7 flats of them planted.  And since planting the seeds directly outdoors is scheduled for 4 weeks from now, all I have lost is 3 weeks of a headstart.

I'm trying something new this year.  Most of my existing perennial flowers have died out over the past years, and to tell you the truth, perennials don't bloom for very long and you have the same flowers in the same colors in the same places for years.

So I'm trying a cottage garden.  I bought a dozen packets of seeds of a few perennials and mostly self-sowing annuals.  I planted 6 of each in cell-packs (in my own sifted starter soil I mixed last month), so I know I have some growing plants of each type.  I'll plant the seedlings randomly in the old flowerbed along the fence.

And then, I will scatter most of the rest of the seeds around the bed randomly.  I have already spread 3" of 50/50 compost and topsoil mix around, so the scattered seeds should have a good start.  The indoors-grown seedlings will guarantee me of "something", and the scatterred direct-sown seeds may surprize me.  I'm keeping some of each in case the direct-sowing fails.

Partly, I'm doing this because I've been too organized about my plantings for many years.  It's not that I'm "formal", just rather geometrically-oriented and rather controlling.  Oh wait, that's what "formal" is, isnt it?  I want to force my hand on Nature.  Well, let's see what Nature will do on its own.  It is time to try a different approach!

For anyone interested, I have a real system for indoor seed-starting.  To begin with, I have a metal shelving stand that I added lights to (Ooh, my English Teacher would scream.  That should be "to which I added lights")
I mix my own starter soil from compost, peat, vermiculite, and perlite.  I fill a large barrel with it.

I reuse 6 pack cels each year, but I soak them in the laundry tub with some bleach overnight and then rinse them.  Then I add them to flats that hold water and add a mesh flat underneath for strength.  One 6 pack cel is a 5 cel; I cut one out to make watering easier.

I have a plastic bin that holds a whole flat.  I can just dump starter soil in  and scrape off the excess without waste.  The extra goes back in the starter soil trash can.  So I have a flat of cel packs leveled with soil to plant in.

Most of the cottage garden seeds are surface-sprouters.  They need light to germinate so they are just pressed lightly into the soil.  A few 6 pack cels stacked together make a perfect presser.  Others want 1/8" to as much as 1" depth.  Well that's what fingers are for! 

The surface-planted ones need light to germinate, so they get on the light stand.  The others just get stacked up until the emerge and then they get their space on the stand.  My basement stays at 64F, which is fine for most flowers.  The few that want 70-75 get stacked on the upstairs rack.  They grow better at 65F some they go back downstairs on emergence.

It's a real dance sometimes.  But what is the purpose of a hobby but to take some work?  I mean, if everytime you tossed a bowling ball any way and got a strike, who would bother to bowl?  The purpose of a hobby is to focus some effort and get good at it. 

I am hoping for some very interesting different flower garden this year and for the next few years.


1 comment:

Megan said...

Very interesting.

One of these days ... I'm going to invest time and effort in building a garden!

Megan
Sydney, Australia