We have finally been able to make some progress on our garden this week. Our pumpkin and sunflower seedlings are growing well and are almost ready for hardening off and transplant. I checked this morning and the watermelon seedlings are just starting to peek through the soil. Our ground cherries have yet to sprout but I was not able to get them to germinate last year either so I will probably buy seed starts again this year at a local plant sale. If you can I highly recommend buying plants from your local Master Gardeners group. You can just google “Master Gardeners” with your city and find a local club. Many put on plant sale which allows you to buy locally and also gives you a chance to talk to a gardener with experience growing the crop you are buying in your particular area.
Last night after nap time I was able to plant the strawberries I received from my local buy nothing group and plant lettuce, zucchini, spaghetti squash, luffa, gourds and cucumbers seeds. I used this planter we bought off of Amazon for the strawberries and lettuce. I put strawberries in the lower layers and lettuce in the top two. I wanted to save some of the strawberries to plant along the slope I want to keep from eroding.
We bought our potting soil from Costco and our local nursery. For the seeds I used mostly potting soil and then added about 1/4-1/2 inch of seed starter to the tops of the cups.
Our current seed starting method is to use red cups with three holes cut out of the bottom (you can just use kitchen shears) purchased at Costco in a low waterproof container. Since I was planting so many seeds I used this sterilite container with 20 cups. This still left room on the side to add water to the bottom for a passive watering system.
I added about a 1/2 inch of water to the bottom and let it sit while I planted the strawberries and lettuce.
I did have to refill it again since the soil was pretty dry. After I refilled it I poked two seeds into each cup and labeled them with wooden sticks. I bought ours at a local craft store but mine are almost gone so I will be ordering a gigantic pack from Amazon pretty soon. You can use anything you want to label your seeds and since I didn’t use a waterproof pen to label mine I will probably be able to wash them and use them again. Since I did not have enough sticks to label all of my cups I just labeled the first row of each. Hopefully I won’t mix the cups up…
Here are the seeds I used. They are just regular seeds bought from the grocery store except I ordered Luffa and gourd seeds from the Burpee website. They had a free shipping special on seeds and I did not have time to look around for luffa seeds since they are not common. I have this idea that we will grow our own luffa sponges and make bird houses out of the gourds but I have no idea if they will actually grow so it will be a fun experiment.
I rearranged our seed shelf in the laundry room so that the new seeds would fit, sprayed the tops of the new cups with water so that the seed starter would not dry out and let them bask in the glow of the light. All of them should germinate in 7-14 days and I am excited for them to come up!
A close up of the seed cups. The lack of waterproof marker caused the writing to run when I sprayed them with water but I can still read them so we are all good.
Today we spent some family time in the garden getting it ready for our seed starts and doing general clean up. We live in a heavily treed area and there is a constant need for leaf blowing. Here is the area where we are planting most of our vegetables. The previous planter from last year has had it’s soil turned over and I weeded and raked the area where the new planter box will go.
We bought our planter box off of Amazon. It is a little smaller than I pictured but you can add another one on top of it to make it deeper. We will probably buy another one to add to the top next year. It was super easy to assemble and our kids loved helping with it.
We placed the second one slightly farther away from the driveway so that we have a bit more space. I may plant our sunflowers along the driveway since I don’t want them shading out our planter boxes but I haven’t decided yet. We will add dirt sometime in the next couple of weeks when we can borrow a truck to haul it.
I am really happy with our progress in the garden this week. Next week we are planting our tomato starts we got from Costco and looking at adding our seed starts to the garden. I also need to direct sow our carrots and install a pest management fence around the vegetable garden which we can hopefully complete in the next couple of weeks.
What do you have going on in your garden this week?