Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Meanwhile Back In the Garden...An Early Start

Spring is trying to get its engine started here in the north country. The winter wheat has risen a few inches, the rain is puddling and the trees are budding. One small, teensy-weensy complication has arisen is that the temperatures have failed to rise and frost was on my windshield just this morning.

Hence, Plan B. I attended a community gardening clinic in recent weeks. Topics from soil texturing to vegetable cultivars, preservation to planning a plot, composting to making your own soil base were covered. My favorite tidbit involved recycling berry containers: the plastic or paper mache' variety that carry supermarket goodness.

Here in the feed store we have stunning picture windows that face south and east, maximizing daily sunshine exposure. Usually we complain about the heat and brightness, but this year, we decided to make it work for us.

Using the berry containers, I mixed up Mel's Mix, (wetted equal parts compost, vermiculite, and peat moss), and filled the containers. Next we selected vegetables that we knew we'd eat: tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, radishes, onions, and sweet peas for pretty. Each morning we spray them with a spray bottle of water. If we have saved the tops of the berry containers, we put them on for extra heat and water trapping, if not, they have the open air.

We have all plastic containers, but if you are using the paperboard boxes, you have the added bonus of not disturbing the roots when transplanting: just pop the box, plant and all, into the ground. BE SURE TO COVER COMPLETELY with soil, otherwise the cardboard will wick water AWAY from the plant.

To date, we have 12 tomtato sprouts, 6 cucumber, 13 radishes, two sweet peas, and an onion. (With the onions I'm just trying to grow green ones, not full-sized.)

Hoping that gardening will stay on track this year...we'll keep you posted on the "window view".

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