|Perennial tomatoes cut from the garden, October 2013|
On December 29th, I started my garden. Really, I did. We had a decent day where it wasn't too cold, so I went out to our planting tables on the porch and dug out some of the pots and dirt I used last summer that didn't make it. I recycle these into new pots of something else.
I find working with seeds and dirt to be one of the most relaxing, therapeutic tasks on the planet. It can get to be a lot of work when you are trying to start a lot of seedlings, but there is still nothing that can beat it. Pretty soon, I will start rolling up some more Pot Maker pots for lots of spring seedlings.
I planted cabbage, broccoli, kale and spinach.
Then I got out one of our dishpans that we drilled holes in and set it up for onion seedlings. I just put some gravel in the bottom dishpan, fill the top one about half full of dirt, and plant it.
I have some seeds from 2009, so I am planting them pretty thick. I'm not sure of the germination rate I will get. If they all come up, which I doubt, great!
The cabbage is coming up nicely.
The spinach is up, but the kale and broccoli haven't poked their heads up yet.
The onions aren't doing anything yet, but they are always slow to germinate and emerge, so I'm not worried about them. But I did discover something growing in the onion tub. That got me to thinking. Remember that dirt I told you I recycle? From other seedlings that didn't make it? This little plant coming up in the middle of the onion tub doesn't look anything like an onion. If it is from last summer's seedlings, there is no telling what it could be. So this will be my fun little surprise plant.
|Don't they look sad?|
While I'm talking about the garden I will give you an update on my perennial tomatoes and sweet potatoes. First, the tomatoes. I cut them from my existing plants in the garden in October. There were a few aphids which I thought I had taken care of. Wrong. I treated the plants with an insecticidal soap and hoped that was the end of it. It wasn't. I had to treat them again, but first I rinsed them off very well and gave them fresh water. That seemed to take care of the aphids.
In late October, I cut some of my sweet potato vine and brought it in for the winter so I would have my own vines to plant in the spring. From what I read, they do quite well indoors. They looked great for a while, nice and lush and growing. But after a while, the leaves started to turn brown and I found spider mites. They really took over quickly, not only on the sweet potato, but on the poor tomato plants as well. I have had indoor plants for years and studied horticulture for a while in college, but I haven't had any problems with aphids and spider mites in the house in quite some time.
So, I decided to treat them all again and pot them up while I was planting the 'garden' with cabbage and such.
Maybe this will do the trick and they will bounce back. I hope so. If not, I have learned something from another experiment.
The sweet potato is sprouting out all over and looks like it will make a come back.
The tomatoes are still very questionable. We will see.
The spinach is looking good. It is happy.
The kale is coming up now. It is slower to germinate than the cabbage and broccoli.
The cabbage is doing well. It is starting to get it's first true leaves.
Some of the tomatoes have died, a few are starting to grow more leaves. Even if these plants live, I will be starting more seedlings so I can have good strong starts. I don't know how well these plants will be able to produce considering all of the stress they have been through this winter.
The sweet potatoes look great.
This tub of onions is a good example of the long term viability of onion seeds. These seeds are probably four years old. Since I planted four different types of seeds, this shows me that Walla Walla seeds stay viable longer than the Red Hamburger, Lisbon Bunching and Texas Grano. There are a few lone seeds coming up, but I need to get out some more seeds and get them started. Pretty soon I will need to give these a haircut. I will post more about that later.
But, you know what? I have potential food growing in a window of my house in January and I just love that. Frank went in there one day and hollered, "You've got a bunch of plants coming up in here." What a great feeling. Think about what you can do to get a head start on the growing season, whenever it starts in your neck of the woods. Order your seeds. And like I said the other day, order or buy more than you will need in a couple of lifetimes. They will be worth more than just about anything else. What else can you share or barter that can feed a number of people? They make great presents. You may get some strange looks, but that's okay. Think of it as the gift of life.
Until next time - Fern