Monday, February 7, 2011

Starting the Season

Yesterday was such a beautiful day to officially start off the season. It was sunny and by mid-day it was just above 40 degrees! After so much freezing cold weather, it actually felt really warm. We cleaned out the "grow-room" (where we start all our seeds under lights) to prepare for the 35 flats we needed to plant.
We got most of our seeds in the mail a week or two ago (yay!) and organized them in groups: greens, roots, beans, nightshade family, brassica family, etc. A lot of Fedco seeds come in paper packets, so we store the packets in plastic bags to keep them from getting wet. Storing them in groups makes it a lot easier to find the seeds we need when its time to plant.

After we cleaned out the grow-room, we were ready to get started. We decided to work in the high-tunnel since it was 80 degrees inside - with the sun shining through it almost felt like summer. First, we mixed up a batch of potting soil. We make our own because, for the quantity we use, its much cheaper than bagged potting mixes. Plus, we know exactly what goes into it and exactly how much. The bulk of it is compost, peat moss, and perlite. We also add some amendments for balanced nutrients.
Once the potting soil is mixed, we get it wet. If you fill the flats with dry soil, seed them and then try to water them, the seeds will float to the top and the soil compacts and shrinks. It's not good.
We fill the flats with the moist soil and then carefully place seeds into each plug. For most things, we use plug trays that hold 72 plugs. This one was ready to be planted with red cabbage. We poke a shallow hole in each plug, put 2 - 3 seeds in the center, and cover them up.
Its important to put more than one seed per plug because not every seed is going to germinate. It saves a lot of time to double up rather than having to go back and re-seed the empty plugs.
Abby and Daniel stopped by to help out - this is Abby seeding some kohlrabi:
We ended up planting cabbage, kale, celery, onions, leeks, kohlrabi, parsley, mint, sage, lemon balm, rosemary, chives, and thyme. The veggies will go in the ground in March and the herbs will be sold at plant sales, the Go Local Fair, and the first few farmers markets. Now if spring could just hurry up and get here!

No comments:

Post a Comment