Monday, February 25, 2013

A good weekend's work

Getting everything ready!
This past weekend, I decided to start some of my seeds. Yes, it's a bit early (my planting schedule suggests not doing so until March 11th at the earliest) but I decided that I'd play around. This desperate need to get my hands dirty always seems to happen around this time of the year, when the snow is deep and silent and spring seems so far away. Looking at the amount of snow outside, I know the ground isn't going to be workable by March 1st, and my peas and beans are going to have to wait for planting until most of the snow is gone.

Soil for mixing
There are several types of seeds that I had left over from last year or that I saved from last year's crops. This is a good time of year to try them out and see if they sprout. I saved cilantro last year, and snap peas. Miss T saved green pepper and hot pepper seeds. I had several varieties of early tomato to plant, as well. It just seemed like a good time to plant some of them and see if germination happens in a decent time.

I pulled out the plastic cells that I had left over from last year, as well as some that I picked up for free from the swap shop at our dump. Our little girl also decided she wanted to plant some seeds in egg cartons. I used a big plastic tub to blend together potting mix and water (you want it went enough that it clumps in your palm, but not so wet that you can squeeze it and have water drip out). She did most of the dirty work, although I got my hands into the soil as well. It was heavenly opening the bag - that scent is so wonderful!

Moistening the mix
Once all the cells were filled with good soil, we organized the seeds. I only planted two of the cilantro seeds, because I didn't have that many of them to begin with. Most will get put directly into the herb garden when it's warmer, but I thought it might be nice to get two cells started here in the house. The plastic packs come with six cells to a pack, so the other four got planted in green peppers that we'd harvested from organic local produce over the summer. If they come up, we'll have lots of green peppers this year, because it'll mean we have viable seed!

Tomatoes in cells
Next, we got into the tomatoes. We planted six Amish Paste tomatoes, purchased from Annie's (where most of my seeds are from), six Moneymaker tomatoes (an Agway organic brand), six Italian Roma tomatoes (from Botanical Interests Organic), and six Cherokee Purple (also from Botanical Interests Organic, and a type of tomato that Miss T has been dying to try). All but the Amish Paste are early breeds of tomatoes, and all are heirloom seeds, both organic and open pollinated. I look forward to seeing what types of tomatoes do well here in our cold New England climate.

My notebook
We also planted some chives (Annie's), snap peas (ours), and hot peppers (from local organic produce). We'll see how well they take off. I'm not sure they'll all come up, and despite being organic, some might have been hybrids and may not produce good fruit. Still, it was worth giving it a try.

Each cell or section of cells got a label. The top of each label holds a number, telling me how many cells in total are planted with that seed. Below that is the name of the seed, and on the other side, the date we planted them. This allows me to keep track of how well certain seeds germinate at our (admittedly chilly) temperatures in the house. Colder temperatures may mean slow germination, or perhaps no germination at all. My notes will be kept up, though!

It was great to get my hands dirty. They say that getting your hands into potting soil and good quality dirt and compost is actually a natural anti-depressant! If that's so, then I ought to be pretty happy from now on, as more and more seedlings spring up in the little greenhouses by the window.

Shared at the Backyard Farming Connection Hop #21.
Shared at Eco-Kids Tuesday.

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