Countdown to Gardening: Commence Germination!
It's April, Spring is in the air, plants are starting to bud, temperatures are getting warmer, and for most of us gardeners, that means it's time to start up the garden again! I decided, after returning to a job at my local nursery and learning much more about plants, to really take 2016's growing season seriously. I am going to take you on my 2016 garden journey from planning to harvest!
Of course, this does mean some catching up is in order. For those of you who do not know, those of us who garden or farm ease the pain of post-holiday sadness by celebrating a little event of our own: the release of the seed catalogs! This is the second year I ordered seed catalogs, and I didn't go quite as crazy as last year, only ordering a couple. This is also the second year that I'm starting seeds inside. Currently, I'm trying a lot of pepper seeds. Here's what I have germinating:
Chocolate Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper)
Peach Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper)
Fatalii, an African relative to the Habanero
Hatch Green Chile
Shishito (A Japanese pepper that is like a mini green chile)
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (What was once the hottest pepper, since pushed back to second place by the Carolina Reaper.)
It's a little late to start seeds, but I thought either 1) I can just transplant small plants into my garden, or 2) extend their season a little bit. I bought a pack of Walls-O-Water for this. I will review them in the coming weeks.
I'm also trying Pineapple tomato seeds, Brandywine tomato seeds, and milkweed for butterflies. Because I hate wasting seeds, I decided to take my Armenian cucumber and watermelon seeds leftover from last year, start them inside, and see how they work out. So far the seedlings are off to a good start:
My Brandywine seeds could be doing better. I'm not exactly sure what hit them. I sprayed some neem oil on them and transplanted a few into peat pots. We'll see what they do over the next week or so. I planted some peas, kale, spinach, and arugula outside as winter plants to grow before the freezing temperatures end at the end of the month (in my zone, the risk of frost ends at about the end of April).
My side garden, which I originally started two years ago to experiment with different cool-weather plants, is no longer blocked by trees. This is bad news because it will no longer serve as a shade garden, but also great news because I can plant a lot more sun-loving plants this year! In addition, I've been keeping up a compost pile over the past several months, throwing pretty much anything I could find that's compostable into it. I'm excited to see what it does for the gardens. Because there is not enough of it to actually cover both of them, however, I will have to buy some compost. I prefer Back-to-Earth Cotton Burr Blend. It gets the job done! I have yet to decide exactly how much of it I will buy, but I'm planning quite a few bags.
So, that's what I'm currently up to with my garden. I'm hoping this will be my biggest and best garden yet! Stay tuned for next post as I talk more about compost and soil menders!
Stay Fresh and Down-to-Earth,