Friday, February 17, 2012

Seed Starting and Transplantation: I have an itch for the garden.

I was talking to my cousin, Jenny, this morning.  She's trying to weed out the things that she wants and does not want to plant.  I've turned her on to Baker Creek Seed and she's thrilled.  Together, we'll lick this seed order.  Until then, I'll be dreaming, dreaming of seedlings of times gone by.  This was originally posted 2/11/09.  There is a follow-up post for this season is here.  Anything good you can share with us or tips you've come across?  Please feel free to share them.  We're always up for anything new to try.  Last year, we installed our rain barrel/water urn and it is delightful!  Truly, I only had to tap into our municipal water twice all summer long.  That is a very good thing.  I've found Jobe's Organic All Purpose Granular Fertilizer (I have the tomato version, too) and I love it.  Being a city girl, access to some lovely cow manure isn't quite something just down the road.  Besides, I'm a little eeky about traveling with a bucket of fresh poop in my car anyhow.  Ewwww!  Before I discuss more animal deposits, read on.  Have a great day!
It's that time of year! It's almost that time where I clean out my garden window, dust off my mini greenhouse containers, hydrate my little peet pellets and get to planting. We do have a 10' x 10' garden plot in our backyard and I like to grow as many heirloom varieties of vegetables (and flowers sometimes) as I can. The kids know that they can come over, reach on in and eat as much as they'd like. Our green iguana stays outside during the hot summer days and the kids like to toss some garden offerings in for him to dine on, as well.

Over the years, I've learned one thing, I love my seed company. I purchase seeds through Baker Creek Seeds. From their website they say, "Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company's 2009 catalog offers 1275 unique heirloom varieties. We only offer open-pollinated seeds: pure, natural and non-GMO! [Genetically Modified] We offer heirloom seeds from 70 countries, including many that we collected ourselves. Started in 1998 by Jere Gettle, as a means to preserve rare seeds. We are located in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri."

On January 31, 2009 I ordered (Eeek! With much excitement!!!)
Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.
- Old Homestead (Kentucky Wonder Pole)-- Green beans that you'll see below
- Danvers 126 Half Long-- Carrots
- Pink Surprise-- Pink flowers for the butterfly garden
- Evening Sun-- Brownish/burgundy sunflowers for the butterfly garden
- Genovese Basil-- To companion plant with tomatoes
- Bee Balm - Lemon-- for the butterfly garden and the herb garden
- Chives - Common-- for the butterfly garden and the herb garden
- Parsley Brayour-- for the butterfly garden as a host plant and in the herb garden as an edible
- Collards - Georgia Southern (Creole)-- for Spike, our green iguana
- Arkansas Traveler-- A nice, round pink tomato
- Royal Chico-- A paste tomato

Let me take you on a trip from seed starting to picking here at the land of Bailey's Leaf.
The seeds start out in the little pop-up peet pots under the greenhouse. I raise and lower the lid each day to help vent the little grow house. I also place a heating pad underneath on low to help encourage germination. You can see the cord for the heat pad off to the left.

Look! Success!

When they are big enough, my kitchen table becomes a potting table and I transfer all of the plants into these tall plastic cups. I label the outside with Sharpie so we have no surprises of what it is when vegetables develop. And no, I don't punch a hole at the bottom of the cup. By having the plants in these cups, I can see root development and how much water they need.

The flowers I tend to leave in the flats. These are Soapwort and Flax.

This used to be our compost pile. Being a compost pile has its advantages and disadvantages. First, the soil is so much better now after 5 years. The disadvantage? You get a lot of volunteers. (You'll see those later.) The green box? That would be the leftover flower box from my friends house. It used to have her address on it. It's now a lettuce box. We still had the materials for the fencing from when we did a garden plot here once before, so we didn't have to do anything with that. We put some single pickets around the side to keep the soil from washing out of the garden plot. (By the way, the funky red fence is not ours and we cannot paint it. Believe me, I wish that we could.)

Look! Things were growing!

And growing.

This was one of the tomato plants. I can't recall which one.

The Arkansas Traveler. A nice, round pink tomato.

I decided to do Kentucky Wonder beans instead of bush beans. I really didn't have the space for the bushes. I took an extra large tomato cage, did a bit of zig zagging with some twine, cable tied the tines together and voila! I had my own bean growing trellis. Might I add that it worked very well! I'll be doing it again this year.

Speaking of beans, aren't they beautiful? I also planted them along the back section of garden fence. Gosh how I love green beans!

My baby collards. These were for Spike our green iguana. The kids love to pick tomatoes and collards for him. He loves them for it. In fact, when he is outside, he almost begs like a dog for his treats. It's kind of funny!

See! There he is! He's sunning himself. He's a big boy.

Kervorkian and take 'em out. Live and learn.

Here's another regular delight we find in our gardens. We get some pretty healthy yellow garden spiders. Don't worry. They don't want you. They don't want me. They don't want K-. They just want the bugs that my garden has to offer. Since we grow organic, there are many bugs. Just ask all of the Japanese beetles that feel the need to come live here. They de-foliated my purple plum tree in the front yard and love to eat the living daylights out of my Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate. Yep. Nothing goes hungry out in our gardens. The neighbors pond hatched little frogs that moved into our yard. We would go organic anyhow, but we have a butterfly garden in the back and if we used any chemicals, we risk killing the very butterflies that we are trying to attract.

Here is my herb garden. When we moved in, no flower beds were here at all. The limestone went right up to the house. I think that it is much prettier and much more useful now. I have lavender planted under the windows, chives, onions, sage, a few different types of thyme, dill, chamomile, oregano, pineapple sage, and parsley but the butterflies always get to it first and lay their eggs, so we often don't get to eat it as we are trying to let butterflies do their thing instead. We do spread a net overtop to keep the developing catepillars safe.

Happy gardening! It'll be here before we know it! I can't wait!

Edited to add: Look what came in todays mail! Hooray!


ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

Good for you! I don't have it in me to start seeds this year. I'll just get my plants at the nursery. Seeing your pictures makes me long for better weather. I know it won't be too much longer but I'm ready!!
We've got plenty of cow manure down the road (and most of the time IN the road - lol).
I bought some Moo-nure at the Mustard Seed one year and did cart it in my car. It was raining that day and everything was really wet. The bags were leaky. Lesson learned. Manure (no matter how organic it is) does not belong the car. Believe me....

Bailey's Leaf said...

Must have been like that time that Hubs forgot to take the squid bait out of the new minivan while they were down at Hilton Head in July. You know, they were never able to get the stink out. Can't remember if it was his parent's van or Aunt Paula's. I think it was MIL and FIL. I think that they got Aunt Paula's stuck in the sand (drove it on the beach) and had to get it towed out. Yup. I think that's the story I remember.

Crazy boys. Stinky van. :S

Bailey's Leaf said...

Oh, and the seeds were from that post. I haven't received mine yet, but realize that the ETA was kind of misleading. Soon enough.