Month: March 2021

And They’re Up!

It’s been about three weeks since I planted my first seeds and they are coming up!  I’m working on both flowers and vegetables, so I’ve got over a hundred seeds started now. The previous owners of our house enclosed the old patio in glass, so it gets plenty of sun and works great for a greenhouse and Gator set up a nifty shelving system with grow lights for me, so I can handle a lot more trays than I used to.

Some of the seeds were a little more of a challenge to handle and get planted than others – especially the flowers.  For example, the begonia seeds came in a tiny little capsule, and there were only 25 seeds.  So I got out my tweezers and set each tiny little seed in a pot.

I wasn’t very hopeful, but all but all except a couple have come up.  They are growing slowly, but seem to be doing well.

The tomatoes on the other hand, have popped right up and are growing like crazy.  I’m taking a new approach to growing tomatoes this year.  The past several years, I have only grown heirlooms but most (or maybe all) heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate – which means that the plant keeps producing as long as it is alive.  The problem for me was that I was never getting a lot of tomatoes at one time for making salsa or canning.  This year, I’m going to grow some Celebrity tomatoes which are a hybrid and produce all of their tomatoes at once,  so I’ll be able to pick a lot at one time for canning and making salsa.  Then I’ll also have some heirlooms for eating fresh.

As you can see from the picture, I’ve added little flags on each plant.  Another thing I’ve learned is how easy it is to get the varieties mixed up as I move them around and get them hardened off to plant outside.  Somehow, last year I ended up with four Yellow Pear tomato plants in the garden.  They are wonderful, but they’re tiny little tomatoes and each plant produced hundreds of them!  At least I’m learning from my lessons…

Thinking Spring

I’ve had a garden almost every year for the past 30 years. My success (or lack of it) can mostly be attributed to dumb luck. For many years around the last frost date, I’d run down to Home Depot, pick up some tomato and pepper plants and a few herbs and drop them into the most convenient spot I could dig up. I would be very dedicated about watering and weeding until things got busy at work or we went on vacation or it would rain non-stop for a week and then before I knew it, several weeks would go by and I hadn’t set foot in the garden which by then was full of weeds and out of control.

Since we moved here to Glenmore, I’ve been taking my gardening a little more seriously.  After all, this is a farm and I don’t want the neighbors to laugh and joke about the city girl who can’t even grow a decent garden! The biggest issue was finding a good flat, sunny spot.  We have a really big yard but it is sloped and full of really great old shade trees.  After trying one flat area only to find it just didn’t get enough sun, I picked another spot in our backyard that gets plenty of sun but was no where near being level.  Gator, being the good sport that he is, hauled in a bunch of dirt to level it out and has been adding compost from our manure pile every spring and fall.  This will be the fourth year in this spot and I feel like it’s in good shape.

This year, I’m really going to up my game!  I’ve found that the Virginia Cooperative Extension offers some great webinars and online classes and I’ve been taking advantage of them.  I have to admit, I have an ulterior motive – between flowers and vegetables, I was spending a FORTUNE on plants every year.  The last few years, I have been moving toward starting  vegetables from seed and the savings are substantial.  The thing is, it takes some planning to do it right.  Not only am I going to start my vegetables and herbs from seed, I’m also going to start most of my flowers from seed.

Planning started in January with the arrival of seed catalogs.

Trial and error has given me some good ideas about what I want to grow this year.  I’m going with some old standbys as well as a few new things – more about that later.

This is where I get into trouble – everything looks so good!  I have a big garden, about 20 X 23 feet, but it is really easy to go overboard.  I finally had to set up a spreadsheet to help me organize what I was going to order from where.  That spreadsheet is getting bigger and more complicated every week, but at least I’m keeping it all documented!

Seeds have arrived and planting has begun!  This is where I haven’t done such a great job in the past – everything needs to be planted on it’s own schedule based on when it will be transplanted into the garden.  In the past, about the middle of March I’d be so sick of winter that I couldn’t stand it, so I’d get a bunch of seeds and plant them just to give myself some hope of Spring.  This year, I’ve set up planting dates on my trusty spreadsheet and every week, different flowers and vegetables are being started.

Next time, I’ll show you what I’ve started so far and how it’s going – stay tuned!

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