Monday, December 28, 2009

Hope and Joy

As we put the Christmas season behind us and the days begin to lengthen my thoughts turn to gardening. I figure a good project was to go through the seed box and see what I have, and what I need to order.

The seed box is a plastic shoebox. Last year I shared packets of seed I couldn't use on Freecycle. Going through my seeds I find about a dozen packets or partial packets I will move on through Freecycle again this year.

I always have a hard time keeping track of what I have, what I need to buy, what needs to be started when and where I need to plant specific plants. I have very little space to garden in, and limited areas of sun, so I have to use every square inch to best advantage.

So, taking a cue from Granny Annie at Annie's Kitchen Garden, I sorted through the seed box and made an Excel spreadsheet to plot out what goes where and when. Unlike Annie I haven't yet attained an organized and alphabetized seed box. Everything went back in chock-a-block. (tsk tsk)

I will do three successive inside plantings, in order to have tomato, pepper, leek, onion, squash and other bedding out plants at the proper time. I haven't yet figured out the proper time, i.e. the last frost date, here. Last year spring was very late here, but I think the last frost is usually in the second to third week of May.

First tier transplants need to be seeded inside eight to ten weeks before that. I'm thinking mid-February. Six weeks.... pant pant.... I am also going to try some winter sowing pretty shortly. I'm not sure what seeds I'll try, but I will figure it out.

Anyway, here's my spreadsheet, all organized. Seems a lot for the limited area I have, but I manage to get some of everything in. The rows in light blue are seeds I need to purchase. I have the others on hand, in that messy seedbox. Abbreviations are: bt (behind trailer), cg (community garden), gh (greenhouse).

I will do four successive plantings outside; the first as soon as the soil can be worked; the second when the time for the last frost is past; the third a couple of weeks later for very cold-sensitive transplants like okra and peppers, and the fourth for fall crops. Lettuces will be sown alternating two week periods, so we can keep a crop going. I'm also going to try micro-greens in trays, on the deck.

I'm hoping to add a second 4 x 4 this year, in a sunny spot in the community garden. Several more people have expressed interest in having a 4 x 4 out in the community garden, so there may not be room.

I had a small (40" across) plastic wading pool "planter" in the community garden last summer, plus a couple of 14" pots. Unfortunately I placed the pool in a spot that turned out to be shaded for much of the day, and it's too heavy to move unless it's emptied out. (I may do that if I'm up to the work.) The shade was unsuitable for the squash plants I planted there, as shade favors the development of powdery mildew. I lost all my squash to that nasty stuff last summer. This year I'll put greens in the pool garden, and move the squash to a sunnier spot with more air circulation.

Many plans.... oh many lovely plans.... and a highly satisfying way of spending a grey, windy, cold day.

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