Friday, February 10, 2012

The first of many boring seed-starting posts

One of my many failings as a gardener is the inability to keep good records.  I always mean to, and then the scribbled notes and the buried Word file and the good intentions never coalesce, and then it's April and spring is in my heart and my brain is on the wing.  I know better than to spend good money on a pretty gardening journal, not that I'd have qualms about spoiling it by writing in it (I take the first bites out of artistic cakes, too), but I know I'd never finish out a season.

However, I do have my own personal blog now, and license to bore people with it, so I can attempt to keep records here.  I am already behind with seed-starting; so what else is new.  This weekend I must get the greens for the demo garden started, as they have to go into the ground April 3, and most of them will have to be pulled out in May to be replaced by summer crops.  They will all produce something (I am not stupid enough to try making broccoli or cauliflower conform to that schedule, so it's all leaf crops) but the more the better.

But that's another post.  Here's what I started earlier this week (February 6, for the record):

Sown in soilless mix and into the fridge:  aronia and serviceberry from Bountiful Gardens; a native anemone from the demo garden (will check on Latin name next time I'm there).  These need stratifying, or cold treatment; the refrigerator is the impatient gardener's substitute for actual winter.  They'll sit in the back of the bottom shelf (serving the useful function of preventing leftovers from being pushed so far into obscurity that the moldy grossness is hidden from view) for a month (anemones) to four months (the others), then be brought out to warm up and (hopefully) germinate.  Often it works.  The other way to do this is to sow the seeds in pots or flats outside in the late summer and leave them over the winter, which in a winter like this one means they sprout in January and have to be taken inside before they freeze to death in the next cold spell.  I also sowed rugosa rose which is supposed to sit in a warm place for a month before joining the others in the fridge until June.

Sown in a more traditional fashion:  two kinds of sweet peas (already sprouting, which means I need to get the lights set up and going).  I never have any luck starting sweet peas outside (this would be the year it would work, no doubt, although I'm still pessimistically expecting blizzards in March) and they have a short growing season here before it's June and boiling hot, so I'm trying the indoor method, which will produce enormous tangled seedlings that will take over the light shelf so I will have to plant them outside just in time for them to freeze (and then it will hit 90).  I am always, always seduced by the sweet pea page in the catalogs, though.  These are from Seed Savers Exchange.

Also, Thai and Pandora Striped Rose eggplant, started early because eggplant grows slowly and needs to be big and strong to face the cruel world of the garden and its onslaught of flea beetles (I do intend to use row cover, but still).  Ironically, considering this blog's name, I'm not all that fond of eggplant, but I do like it in moderation, and it would be a beautiful plant if it wasn't always eaten to shreds.  I did grow some on the deck a few years ago that the flea beetles never found, but I bet that only works once.

Also Victoria rhubarb, yes from seed.  I seem to keep killing off plants started from roots, and I'm hoping that home-nursed seedlings will do better.  They will need afternoon shade in this climate (although the plants in the demo garden do fine in full sun).  I have just the place, considering that half the vegetable garden is in part shade now.

That's it for now.  There will be more of these posts; I will warn you by putting seeds in the title somewhere.


  1. Some inspiration for seed post titles...