Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The smell of dirt.

I love getting ready for spring and early summer. The sun is brightly shining outside, and everything is melting. Though it's cold out there, you can feel that the warmer weather is on the way. With warmer weather comes seedlings and raised garden beds and fresh herbs and vegetables! I've been slowly planting things like tomatoes and green peppers in egg cartons and little pots, and storing them in the warmest spot in the house - right near our wood stove (which goes about 22 hours of the day) and in a bright, sunny place on a spare table. I keep the things that aren't yet germinated inside big plastic tubs (thank you Wally World) that are clear. They create a kind of greenhouse, and better yet, they're stackable! This means I can get more things onto my little table for sprouting in the sunlight!

I can stack inside the tubs, too. If you look closely, you can see that I have created a second layer to put plants on, by nestling a wire cooling rack with TALL legs in there. Everything still gets sun, but they're all carefully stacked so I can put more into a smaller space. I can also move the boxes (I currently have two but I think one more will be going into rotation next week because I have hollyhocks that need planting too), put them out flat, and store even more plants (already sprouted) on top of them. It's a real win-win situation, one I'm rather proud of figuring out, even if some of the idea came from Pinterest...

This morning I've planted two types of broccoli. I only need two plants of each, but some of the seed is older so I'm hedging my bets by planting extras of those. I have four egg cups each of a broccoli hybrid (though one NOT owned by Monsanto - ptuey!) and four of a heritage OP Calabrese broccoli. We'll see how they do. If they all come up fine, I'm sure I'll figure somewhere to put them... The other little four pack you see there (very right hand, blue flowers) is of Forget-Me-Nots in a  beautiful blue color. Again, these are old seed so I'm trying them out. If they germinate, I'll be planting the rest of the packet directly outside (they tolerate frost well, especially during germination). I am so pleased with the variety of flowers I have available to me this year!

I have hollyhocks, more forget-me-nots, marigolds by the dozen (which is good as I like to plant them around the garden to ward off pests), four different kinds of morning glory (which I'll be using to make the kids a "living fort" this summer!!), bluebells, and dozens of others. I'm not sure where I inherited these all from but wow, it's fun organizing them!

Originally all the seeds were sort of stuffed into the cardboard box you see (labelled "seeds for 2012"), because it was the best place to keep them while we were moving. Now that we're settled, however, I wanted them in a nicer place. Last year sometime, our friend Miss T gave me a beautiful garden box, sort of like a toolbox but designed for holding seeds and such. I managed to find that box this morning when I was looking for something else, and I also found sis's gardening bag (you can see it in some of the pics above; it's green) which was full of kids' gardening gloves and a wide assortment of hand tools. Yay!

I organized everything. The seeds were put into the garden box, all separated into herbs, veggies, and flowers. The ones that are open because they're already in my little greenhouse boxes were put into the drawer below the box part. My masking tape is there for labelling things, my scissors are there for cutting open seed packets, and my big black marker is there for writing on things.

I just can't wait for our snow to melt. I'll be working on digging the raised beds soon. I'm going to be digging the outline and pulling off the sod, and then hubby will rake out about a foot of dirt from the spot with the backhoe's shovel. The hole is going to be filled with punky wood, branches, etc. which will slowly compost and also help to keep water in the roots of your plants. The dirt goes back over the top, and whatever doesn't fit (hopefully a lot of it) will get mixed with sphagnum moss and potting soil and good clean compost, then put into the frames of the raised beds.

Come on, Spring! Hurry up!