Monday, April 25, 2011

Planting Day: Round 1

At least 5-8 weeks before April 15 (last day of frost), we dutifully planted our seeds and placed them under a grow light in the basement.  We decided to start small, so we ordered from Seed Savers Exchange a variety of seeds.  The seeds from Seed Savers are heirloom seeds, which means they haven't been genetically modified so there is a better chance of saving seeds from year to year.  Each year that we save and seed, our plants will get more adapted to our soil and climate and hopefully, get stronger.

It also means that there is a greater variety to choose from, as follows: Miniature White cucumbers, Thai Green and Listada de Gandia eggplant, Merveille des Quatre Saisons and Slobolt lettuce, Garden Sushine and Napoleon Sweet peppers, Rhubard Red swiss chard, Stupice and Siberian tomatoes and Cilantro.  Most of the plants are smaller varieties, so we hope they won't take up as much room.  We also seeded basil and parsley from Lowe's or somewhere, purchased last year, marigold seeds (from Grandma's house), and pole beans and green beans found in the lunch room.  The chives survived the winter from last year.

Between the tornadoes, cold weather and weddings, we haven't managed to plant yet, but as it turns out... that's how it goes sometimes.  We also hadn't finished getting the raised beds ready, including cages to keep the chickens out. Also, right out the gate we already made a few mistakes.  For example, we shouldn't have started the pole beans, cucumbers and cilantro inside because they don't transplant well.

For the last few weeks, we have been hardening off our seedlings by taking them outside for a few hours each day.  This hopefully got them ready for planting day.  Meanwhile, back in the basement, everything had sprouted except the green beans and the cucumbers.  The green beans might have just been old.  We aren't sure about the cucumbers.

Today, it was cool, which was good for the lettuce.  However, it started raining half-way through, so this is to be continued.

This is part of why it has taken us so long.  Despite their many benefits, they will eat anything green in sight. Buzzards.
Compost pile and the rain barrel both constructed by my husband.  The wood was free, the barrel about $15, plus some other materials. 
The cage is PVC pipe and chicken wire.  The raised beds are 6", 8" and 10" deep, and 3'x3', all made out of scrap wood. The soil is 1 part top soil, 1 part leaf compost, and 1 part sand, *Note: Do not, repeat, do not use sand.  with a little bit of our own compost thrown in.  The chickens have been plowing this for a week or so. 
And a soaker hose runs through it, which is connected to the rain barrel.   To the right is our lettuce bed with a pole bean in the middle for shade.  Some of the lettuce was already started indoors and some we seeded today.
The rest of the seedlings waiting to be planted.  Some of them will go in the self-watering containers (more on those later).  The baby gate is because of the chickens and the baby.

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