This year we intend to start as many of our plants as possible. In the past we have only started a few of our plants and then purchased the rest from a somewhat local nursery. Many of the seeds we purchased are for our region and are good for approximately 3 years. That being said, some of them will only last this year based on how many seeds were actually in the package. We will try this for the next few years to determine which seeds, if any, are just better to be purchased as a plant instead.
So what have we planted and what do we plan to plant this year? Lots. We have so much space, especially once we finish the other side of our yard, that we plan to fill it with food. I plan to be better about sharing the food with family, friends and co-workers. Especially with the way food costs are these days. Last year, I tended to harvest and store a lot of the produce, and although we used a lot of it, we didn’t get through it all. Our plan was always to share what we grew, so I (and I say I because Kurt is much better at giving away our excess produce) plan to do better with it this year.
So back to what we have planted. Here is our list that we have or will be starting indoors:
INDOOR STARTER VEGETABLE OR HERB PLANTS
- Broccoli (Everest)
- Cauliflower (Vanilla sky)
- Cayenne peppers
- Sweet bell peppers (Early California wonder)
- Banana peppers
- Green onion (Ramrod scallions)
- Shallots (Zebrune)
- Yellow onions (Borettana)
- Red onions (Cabernet)
- Red cabbage (Integro)
- Sweetie tomatoes (small size)
- Big beef tomatoes
- Roma tomatoes
- Celery (Tango)
- Pumpkins – starting indoors this year as per the package but may sow directly outside next year depending on how transplanting goes.
- Butternut squash – starting indoors this year as per the package but may sow directly outside next year
- Basil (Mammoth)
- Dill (Dukat) – this will be started indoors as well as directly sown to see which works better
DIRECT OUTDOOR SOW VEGETABLES & HERBS
- Zucchini (Black beauty)
- Carrots (Flyaway)
- Straight eight cucumbers
- Patio snacker cucumbers
- Corn (Kandy king)
- Cantaloupe (Burpee hybrid)
- Red beets (Ruby queen)
- Yellow beets (Touchstone gold)
- Dill (Dukat)
- Cilantro (Santo Monogerm)
INDOOR STARTER FLOWER
- Marigolds (Brocade)
- Sweet peas (High scent)
- Snap dragons (Rainbow mix)
DIRECT OUTDOOR SOW FLOWERS
- Wildflower (Insect blend) – in patches through the garden to attract good garden bugs that will eat or deter the bad garden bugs
- Sunflowers (Autumn beauty)
TO BE PURCHASED & POTENTIAL ADDITIONS:
- Asparagus – start in the new beds this year
- Garlic – fall start in the new beds
- Canna lilies
- Wave petunias (will try starting these from seed next year)
As you can see, we have a lot that will be started indoors and almost as much that are to be directly planted into the garden when the soil warms. We will also be moving the strawberries and rhubarb this year to permanent homes in the garden beds.
In planning for more to be started in the house this year, we decided we needed to purchase a few more of our little indoor greenhouses that allow us to get the seeds germinating and growing before transplanting outdoors. We have used one for the last few years and have had great success with starting some of our plants indoors to be transplanted later. We found a store in town selling them, and decided to be safe that we would pick up 2. It is a good thing we did!
About a week ago, I went through all of our seeds and sorted out when they needed to be started. Majority of our seeds are 6-8 weeks starters, so that has worked out nicely. A few need a shorter period, so we will start those in April. I also noted when the packages suggested that the plants would be ready or producing vegetables. It is nice to put into our phones as reminders, though we often know just from our daily tending of the plants.
Kurt started the onion seeds earlier this week that we actually should have started a few weeks ago. We will see how those ones go this year and if we are able to get them going properly. We’ve never tried growing them from seed and have always purchased bulbs in the spring to put into the garden. If we don’t have any luck with the seeds this year due to our late start, we may need to purchase bulbs again and try the seeds at the proper planting time next year.
It was sunny and beautiful out yesterday, so Kurt and I setup the tables outside and started setting up trays with labels for all the different plants we are starting. We also always start extras just to be safe and often are able to give a few plants away to family and friends. I have already promised a few plants to a few friends so we were sure to start extras of those seeds.
We had a good system going with a mix of 2 soils for the starter containers. We also have a variety of container sizes this year so that we can plant based on the package directions. The tomatoes are in gargantuan containers but my system from last year worked out really well. I filled the containers halfway with soil to get the tomatoes started. As they grow, I top up the container with soil rather than transplanting them. Last year we were able to get large plants ready for transplant and ended up with some of the largest, highest producing plants we have had. So I am sticking with my experimental process from last year as it seemed to work really well.
The peppers are also started in a slightly larger container. The same process as I use on the tomatoes, I used on the peppers. Again, it was the best year we have ever had with our peppers, so I am sticking with that process again.
Now, back to the stands that we purchased. They were the same price as the original stand that we purchased and looked very similar. Turns out they are slightly different, and definitely lower quality that our first one. The metal portions of the stands didn’t seem to always fit nicely in the plastic corner pieces, resulting in some cock-eyed stands. We are a little nervous about the one stand because it seems loosey-goosey and likely to tumble like a house of cards, but our hopes is that as it warms in the sun, the plastic parts will be more flexible and we will be able to push it together a little better. Unfortunately, there were a few cracks in the plastic from some minor pressure when inserting the metal cross-pieces, but hopefully they will not cause any issues.
We did get all the plants into their warm homes and have let the greenhouses take over our living room window, which gets the most sun throughout the day. We did leave the sliding door clear of greenhouse because the dogs love to go and sunbathe on the deck in the spring. Plus, we want at least one panel for a bit of a view from our living room. As the plants outgrow the greenhouses, we will take them down and replace them with some tables that the plants can continue growing on. We will then use the deck space to harden the roots before transplanting. It is quite the process but worth every second.
Now to plan out how this is all going to fit in the garden beds! JK, we already figured that out. I’ll share that in the next post.