Thursday, February 23, 2012

More Gardening Shenanigans

Everyone has their own opinion on when to start seeds.  Every time I think about starting seeds, I feel like someone jumps up and says "NO! Stop! Not yet!" A Way to Garden says not to start tomatoes until April 15, but spinach can be started from seeds in the ground as soon as the snow melts.  But she's in Zone 5, and I'm in Zone 8.  So I shouldn't listen to her about planting times.  Then I made a chart with planting times from the backs of my Territorial Seed packets.  These say to start tomatoes the first of March.  There is a garden planner on the Territorial Seed website that I used, and that says according to my zip code I should sow my tomatoes indoors in February.  Another resource I found for a garden planner, is the Westside Gardener, out of Sumner, Washington.  He says to start them in the first half of March. 

At this point I have thrown up my hands and now I just do what I want.  I have plenty of seeds, and can always buy more or buy starts from the nursery if I fail.  So, based on a rough average of all my planting times, the assumption that after a potential for lowland snow this weekend we will have a warmer than average spring and summer (based on Cliff Mass Weather Blog), and a broad grouping to make it easier on me, I started some seeds in toilet paper rolls over the weekend. 

I planted three rolls of each seed, with 2-3 seeds per roll to make sure I didn't waste a roll. I also planted some of the Sunset tomatoes I started last year.

I googled the Ace 55, and it is a determinate slicing tomato.  So now I will have round slicers, romas for making sauce, and cherry tomatoes for snacking, salads, and salsa.  Assuming I get any of them to produce fruit.

Pretty little toilet paper rolls, all in a row.  I had two rolls left over, plus some dampened seed starting mix, so I decided to just go ahead and plant two more rolls of kale. I love the stuff, and know a gal who will take some off my hands if need be.

The kale was the first to sprout, after just a day or two. Yesterday afternoon, four days after planting, all of the kale and broccoli seeds had sprouted.  ALL OF THEM! Now I have to debate whether I should snip off the extra sprouts to let the strongest survive, or if I should gently pull them out and plant them somewhere else. 

I think I made my first mistake already - I kept them too moist and didn't give them enough air circulation, so some of the rolls have some white mold growing on the outside.  I did some research and found that it happens quite frequently to peat pots, and generally isn't a problem.  I will scrape it off before I transplant up to yogurt containers, and maybe peel off some of the roll if it's really bad.

I did follow one old Seattle adage - plant your peas on George Washington's birthday.  Yesterday I got home early from work and spent a sunny afternoon in the yard.  We pulled up sod from around the fence for my flower beds, and tilled in almost a full yard of compost into the vegetable beds.  The soil was perfect for planting peas, so I filled a trough along a fence with seeds. If the survive the squirrels and the coming rains, I'll stable some twine to the fence for a trellis. I really love peas, so I'm hoping for 100% viability!

On the knitting front, I'm almost done with my chunky sweater.  I stitched in quite a few of the ends a week ago and was a bit disheartened.  It's really difficult to weave in ends when there are large gaps between stitches.  You can see every move the yarn makes.  I'm planning on ignoring it for now.  Sleeves will be 3/4 length, so I don't have too much left to do before I can count this sweater towards the stash count down.  I'm pushing for February, but keep getting distracted by other productive things.... Like planting even more peas in a pot for a dining room table center piece.

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