Sunday, April 17, 2011

Garden's Under Way!

I started some seeds indoors in containers, and some seeds outdoors, beginning almost a month ago. Indoors, I planted several varieties of tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, a leaf celery, oregano, basil, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Outdoors, I’ve started radishes, carrots, spinach, chard, beets, kohlrabi, four kinds of lettuce,  turnips, peas, green beans and sunflowers, and more recently squash, cucumbers, onions, chives, and thyme. I also planted twelve ever-bearing strawberry plants, and just yesterday the hubster surprised me with a spearmint and a peppermint plant he picked up at a nursery he'd just discovered. 

Seedlings in the window sill.

Also just yesterday, I transplanted some of my indoor seedlings in the garden, including broccoli, cabbage, and three tomato plants. Honestly, I'm not sure if it was good timing or not. The plants were still very small, but I think that the potting soil I started them in was of poor quality, because they didn't seem to be growing as fast as I remember my plants growing in previous years. I fretted over whether to transplant them for a good part of the day, and then finally decided to transplant only some of each plant. That way if they fail, at least I'll still have some plants growing indoors.  

This year was the first year I decided to order from a seed catalog, instead of just running down to the local hardware store and grabbing some seed packets off the shelf. I want to attempt saving seeds this year, so I wanted to be certain I was getting non-GMO, heirloom seeds. I ordered several seed catalogs, did some research, and decided on Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. I spent a small fortune on seeds and I have to say, I’m a little disappointed with the germination success rate. Or, at least I think it’s about germination. I’ve had to replant carrots, lettuce, beets, turnips, chard, spinach and sunflowers. I say I “think” it’s about germination, because it could also be about my limited gardening skills. In the past I’ve not had much problem with seeds germinating, but then I haven’t done a whole lot of gardening, and never before on the scale I’m at it now. So maybe I was just lucky before. Or maybe genetically modified seeds have a better germination rate. All I know is, a lot of my seeds didn’t come up. Some of the smaller, surface-sown ones like lettuce and carrots may have simply blown away. But the turnips, chard, radish, and sunflower, for example, are all buried ¼ to ½ inch deep. Also, two varieties of tomatoes that I planted indoors have not sprouted, either, and I’ve planted them twice now. So either I’m doing something wrong, or I didn’t get good-quality seed from Baker Creek.  I don’t know how to tell which is correct. Any suggestions?

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