Spring’s here?

What a strange year! We didn’t have much of a winter, and then spring is way too early!!! Tulips are up, crocus are blooming, I even have oregano coming up. People are planting, lilacs are budding, and this is only the middle of March.
Though I am excited to see new life emerging through the inches of peat I put on my beds in the fall – I’m always excited in the spring – I’m nervous about putting anything out yet, except maybe peas, pansies or grass seed. I know the ground is warming up, but what happens if we get a freeze? Planting in Minnesota used to take place two months from now.
Aslo, what is it going to be like in July and August? Are we going to turn into more of an arid state? How hot will it be, and how much watering will we have to do to keep plants alive?
Weather aside, I decided to start seeds this year to help with my garden budget, and my seed starting adventure has been just that – an adventure. I’ve done some experimenting with starting seeds in egg shells and rolled newspaper starter pots. Mostly to save money. I want to be able to plant the pot with the plants, and purchasing enough peat pots would be costly. Both systems seem to work pretty well.
To start seeds in egg shells, I rinsed the shells as I used the eggs, let them dry and stored them under the sink. I chose shells that were about half an egg, set them plastic egg cartons, one that had a lid and one that didn’t, and filled them with damp seed starting mix. Then I put seeds in the mix, and loosely closed the lid on the one. One thing I forgot to mention: I poked holes in the bottom of the shell so water could leak out a bit.
This method uses very little seed starting mix, which saves money on those that do not germinate. It also gave me mixed results. Some of the seeds came up and others didn’t. I thought maybe I kept the soil too moist and I threw a few into my compost bag to later take out to the compost pile. Funny thing is, a few days later, I checked those in the compost bag and they had begun to germinate… I rescued them, and ended up with more than anticipated!
The newspaper rolls were made with a PVC pipe and wheat glue. I started rolling the newspaper on the pipe using the glue along the edge in the first roll and last. After they dried, I cut them in sections, stood them in a tray and filled them with a mixture of seed starting medium and organic potting soil. I planted some seeds, and transferred some of the plants that were growing in egg shells to the newspaper pots, egg shells and all.
I water the newspaper pots from the bottom by pouring water into the tray. Since the newspaper is a cylinder, the water is absorbed into the soil.
I also have quite a few plants growing in peat pots.
The thing is, most of the plants I am growing are pretty leggy. Bummer!!! I think it is because there isn’t enough light in the window I am using as my light source, so the plants are stretching to get to the light. I may change locations and put some in the living room window that gets light more hours throughout the day. I don’t know where they will fit with all my other plants, but it may help.
The geraniums I brought in in the fall are doing well, and I know they are ready to be put in the ground. I also rooted a few more from cuttings from them, so I will have some beautiful geraniums this year.
I lost my mandevilla to spider mites. The mites didn’t kill it, but they would not go away, even after I sprayed the plant, so the plant went outside in the cold. It was the first time I tried to over winter a mandevilla.
My hibiscus is doing GREAT, though I haven’t had a bloom all winter. I’m sure it will start blooming again once it gets outside where there is more sun.
I’m like everyone else and am anxious to get my gardens set up and planted. But I think I will wait a little bit on the planting part. I will probably continue getting beds ready to plant, but I’m not going to transplant anything or put any seeds in the ground beyond peas.

      One Comment


  1. Good write-up, I am normal visitor of one

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