Winter Sowing Starts!
29 January 2012 | 5:03 pm

I just did my first batch of winter sowing this past week… I think it was Tuesday? I got a bug up my *** that evening after a lot of loafing, so there I was, putting containers out at 11pm, ha ha!

I got most of the edibles I want to do, they are:

Mexican Sweet Gherkin Cuke
Dwraf Grey Sugar Pea
Green Arrow Pea
Moon and Stars watermelon
Edisto 47 cantaloupe
White habanero pepper
Hot Portugal pepper (seeds that I collected, yay!)
Black Seaman tomato
Black Krim tomato
Black Cherry tomato
Sugar Lump tomato
Cherokee Purple tomato
Great White Beefsteak tomato

I still want to plant some greens – I have several lettuce varieties to try, and I need to get some Brussels sprouts seeds and would like to try broccoli again. I may do carrots winter sown and see how they do, and then transplant the seedlings to a large pot. I've read about growing carrots in pots and it sounds cool!

I'll be sowing some flower seeds soon, maybe even today. I want to do flowers that are considered good edible garden companions, need to do more research on that. Sunflowers again for sure, marigolds... zinnias? Nasturtium? What else?

Early summer update
8 June 2011 | 2:32 pm

Wow! Time flies when you're having fun, eh?

Before I went away for two weeks in May, I planted out the chile plants we ordered from Cross Country Nurseries, around May 10th or so. I thought it was a bit early, but C. remembered that last year we planted at about the same time and had great success. I think it was colder this year (we had nights in the low 40s where I was in Michigan!), but the plants are still alive and kicking. It's been quite hot the past few days, so I am hoping that they will really kick in the coming weeks. Here are the varieties we're growing this year:

Salmon, Szechwan, Jalapeno Early, Fire, Takatsume, Punjab Small Hot, Mirasol, Carmine, Lester Williams Red, Tasmanian, Chocolate Habanero, and Harold's St. Barts. I've also got seedlings that I grew myself, both on the windowsill and through winter sowing, using seeds that we saved from the previous year: White and Red Habanero, Island Hellfire, and a couple others whose names escape me at the moment. Those plants are going to have to go in pots as I've run out of room in the big garden plot I made last fall! (Laying down cardboard and shredded leaves in the fall to create a new a plot is a really easy, fool-proof approach!) I'm going out of town for the weekend, so I'll take care of those when I get back next week.

I had some success with my winter sowing, even though I had such a late start. I didn't get things planted until February and March! Here's what I ended up with this year, and what I planted in the ground yesterday, all tomatoes.

Black Cherry, Cherokee Purple, Accordion, Bonny Best, Fuzzy Peach, Coyote, Black Krim, Yellow Pear, Black Seaman, and... a mystery volunteer from last year.

In addition to all this, I planted in marigolds, and there are sunflowers, walking onions from my mom's place, strawberries (we just ate some this morning – YUM!), three varieties of garlic, two varieties of peas, Mexican cucumber. These were all winter sown. I also bought from a local nursery some Brussels sprouts plants and chives, as well as a couple hot cherry pepper plants (not that we needed them, really). I'll also be adding in some pansies to the main garden plot, and after doing some reading about companion planting would like to add some nasturtium and zinnia.

All in all, this has been a fun and successful planting. Now, the waiting – will things grow? Will they flourish?

One thing I am doing differently this year is using mulch – I know, duh. I've used grass clippings so far and they seem to be working well, but I also splurged and got some cedar mulch with a gift certificate I got on my last birthday. I have yet to put it down as I want to get everything in the garden first so I don't have to mess with it too much, but I am excited to see how it will look and whether it will make everything grow that much better. I'll definitely have to water less, and hopefully it will help with pests like slugs, too. Hey – I read today that kelp, seaweed, makes for great slug repellent mulch. Go figure! I wonder if the kind I can grab from Lake Ontario would fit the bill.

I will be getting some photos up next week. I'm pretty proud of my efforts this year!

More Winter Sowing
28 March 2011 | 11:38 pm

I finally got around to sowing the last batch of seeds I ordered, as well as some of those from last year's Seed Savers order that we never did anything with. Those plastic salad and strawberry containers sure come in handy!

Anyway, here's what went out today.

Green Arrow Pea
Dwarf Gray Sugar Pea
Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber
Moon and Stars Watermelon

Yellow Pear Tomato
Orange-Fleshed Purple Smudge Tomato
Great White Beefsteak Tomato
Black Seaman Tomato
(was going to do the Goldman's Italian American tomato, too, but the seed packet was empty!)

Peaches and Cream Sweet Corn
Chocolate Morning Glory
Dwarf Blue Alpine Columbine

Phew! I hope it all takes! Or maybe not... that's a lot of stuff... ;)

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