Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gardening Update

We're into May now, and the snow is permanently gone; even if there's still a chance we'll see more flurries (like we did earlier in the week!), at least we know that it won't stick around.  As we inch our way into prime gardening weather, I thought I'd give a little update on what's happening around here in terms of seedlings, planting, tidying, etc.

I think things are going pretty well with the seed starting, considering it is my first year and some of the seeds were getting a little old.  The pumpkin seeds, which were fresh, have done amazingly well and I probably have too much success based on the space I have available!  But too many pumpkins isn't a bad thing, as I'm really looking forward to having my own fresh pumpkin purée for baking this coming year.  Muffins, breads, cakes and pies!  Yum.  Also, since we'll all be helping out with the food pantry garden at our new community garden, I'll just "donate" my extra seedlings and seeds to that space.  If everyone does that, I don't even think we'll have to find seed donations this year.

Happy pumpkin seedlings.
A quick note about the toilet paper rolls for seed starting.  In a way, they worked great.  Awesome for the tomatoes and basil, and the pumpkins did well too, but I did have a little problem with them. Since the pumpkin seedlings are vastly larger than the others, they established big root systems much more quickly.  Those strong, happy root systems, while great for the pumpkins, weren't so great for the tomatoes and basil--they came out the bottoms of the toilet paper rolls, along the tray, and up into the tomato and basil rolls.  I wondered why the basil was taking so long to get going, even though it germinated quickly and I think it was because it was essentially being parasitized by the pumpkins.  So I would suggest that a) you use newspaper pots for the larger vegetables that you start inside, or b) at least keep them in a different tray from the "little guys" to give them a better chance.  My basil seems to have made a comeback, but it's definitely slow going.

Recovering and finally moving along.  Poor little things!
Ah, my love--you and I will spend lots of tender moments together.
I have had pretty good success with the tomatoes.  The only thing that is really disappointing, is that due to lower germination rates/invasion by monster pumpkin roots, I only have four toilet paper rolls with healthy tomato seedlings in them.  This isn't so bad, I'm just happy to have any doing well and I can always buy seedlings at the garden centre until I become a better baby seedling raiser.  However, all the rolls that are doing well have two seedlings in them, and I have to pinch one back in each.  I thought about unwrapping the paper and teasing the two plants apart to keep all eight of the seedlings, but I'm afraid I'd damage them and end up with less than four.  So I'm going to grit my teeth, pinch those precious treasures back, and be happy that I have four organic San Marzano tomato plants this year.

I've also started planting some cold-hardy things outside.  We don't have a lot of growing space around our house, so I'm just doing a little here and there until we get the community garden tilled and established and planted.  Yesterday I put some soil into a few pots that Craig found when he cleaned out our shed (bless his heart) and planted Swiss chard in one and spinach in the other, with help from my ever-ready young helper.  I missed getting a photo of him doing it though (he particularly liked the funny shape of the chard seeds).  But I did get his sister, who came along to inspect his work after the fact.

Yes, my baby wears a bicycle helmet ALL the time.  More on that later. :)
James also made himself quite useful digging up a no-longer-wanted perennial bed.  This is the year of decluttering, getting organized and getting rid of responsibilities that I am not keeping up with, nor care to.  That means you, perennials.  When we moved in, our property was gorgeous and full of vibrant floral beauty.  Our terrible neglect of those beds has meant that we have often teetered on the precipice of a trashy property, and we've been trying to reduce the amounts of areas we have to weed and maintain.  So the giant, curved bed out front, full of all sorts of perennials as well as weigela and sand cherry bushes, is gone.  James decided to mow the soil before helping his dad sprinkle grass seed on the now bare earth and giving it a drink from the hose.

The boy was working hard, and representing. :)
So we still have lots of work cut out for us this year, but I feel pretty happy with what we've accomplished so far and where we're headed.  Hopefully we'll have a successful first vegetable garden!  And we'll spend a lot of time together as a family, being active, responsible, having fun, and loving each other in the process.

This post is shared with Garden Life Link-Up at No Ordinary Homestead.


  1. All the little ones look great. Especially your little helpers!

  2. Glad to see the Basil is still hanging on. That is the crop of your seedlings that I am most excited about!

  3. My basil was really slow growing after sprouting quickly as well. Maybe it's just in their nature?


I love to get comments and questions, and particularly suggestions!