Saturday, April 17, 2010

In just a few days time...

My seedlings have really gone crazy lately! I can see how they've grown more and more each day. The kale, which were the first to show themselves, are kind of in a holding pattern - they're not getting much taller, but they seem to be ready to mature soon. The cucumbers are getting bigger each day - I know it's time to thin them out, but I just can't yet! they all look so healthy! Basil are short and squatty, but are growing steadily, and parsley have just sprouted! I started to get nervous when the parsley were taking so long to sprout, and I looked up their germination time online. I found a forum where someone said that parsley has to go to the devil and back 7 times before it sprouts! (I guess that means it takes a while!)

I still check on my little guys about 10 times each day. The lamps seem to be working well, which I'm glad for. In the morning when it is sunny and I haven't turned the lamps on, everyone is leaning toward the window. Once I turn on the lamps, the all face upwards.

Here's a visual of the progress I've seen in the last few days.

Wednesday, April 14th:

Thursday, April 15th:

Saturday morning, April 17th:

That is some crazy growth!

I love the look of the kale leaves - when they first sprouted, they were that deep grassy green, but the edges of the leaves had a purple-ish tinge to them.

The cucumber seedlings are so full and sturdy, though. They amaze me! Yesterday I noticed that their stems looked a bit spiney, soI touched one of them to see, and it was - what a good deterrant to being eaten!

What a bunch of winners these guys will be!

On a side note, Kurt and I had been going to a certain chain hamburger joint because they had veggie burgers. Last night, after we ate we talked about how we both didn't really even like the place, and how we were going just because they had these veggie burgers that are kind of gross (grain-based with cheese mixed in for flavor, and seem to be fried in peanut oil). It is almost like eating a hash brown, but in a gross way.

So we decided to not go there anymore, and on the way out, we went a couple doors down and got a menu from an Indian restaurant that looks really good! Two of our friends have gone there and loved it, and the menu is quite reasonable. So we're excited to delve into the world of Indian food, where they actually have an appreciation for vegetarian options! I'll let you know how we like it!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Oh tiny seedlings, I see you!

Seedlings have sprouted! I noticed them last night, and then today they really popped! They are all 4 kale pots, each one with 3 or so little green guys. I'm really excited, since the other pots have basil and parsley, which I grew last summer so I know their "process". (Cucumber would be exciting too, but they are big seeds, and I don't expect them to sprout for a few more days).

Since they sprouted, and I'm worried that they won't get enough "sunlight", we went out and bought another full spectrum lamp. I figure that we'll use them as matching table lamps eventually, so it's not a waste.

Who are these cuties?!

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Indoor Sowing Day

On the 16th of March I signed up for my garden plot - section 89! There was a long line at the Department of Recreation at the Municipal building that morning. I showed up at 8:36am (they opened at 8:30), and there were only a few spots left once I got to the front of the line. I think I got a good spot - near the center aisle, and with good sunlight.

The past few days, Kurt and I have been gathering soil, peat pots, a watering can, buckets, tools (from his dad), and other necessities from some garden stores in the area in preparation for my seeds that were scheduled to arrive from the Seed Savers Exchange. Several days ago I had placed the order online for seeds and transplants. The transplants are coming around May 7th or so - in time for Zone 6's last frost.

I ordered:
Seeds -
Red Russian Kale (organic)
Provider Beans (organic)
Early Blood Turnip Beets (organic)
Scarlet Nantes Carrots
Five Color Silverbeet Chard (organic)
Early Fortune Cucumber (organic)
Black Beauty Zucchini Squash (organic)
Lettuce Leaf Basil
Triple Curled Parsley (organic)
Lettuce Mixture (Amish Deer Tongue, Australian Yellowleaf, Bronze Arrowhead, Forellenschuss, Lollo Rossa, Pablo, Red Velvet, and Reine des Glaces)

Kurt and I planned out our garden plot - 20' by 20' with 2' pathways, marigolds interspersed for (hopefully) pest control (keepin' it real - organic style!)

So today, when the seeds arrived, we decided to sow them indoors right away (though being a new gardener, I didn't realize that many of the seeds can be sown directly into the soil and don't require starting indoors). The ones that can be started indoors are kale, cucumber, basil and parsley.

I planted 3 seeds of each into 4 peat pots per veggie/herb.  Once I determine the strongest seedling, I'll thin the rest and leave one plant to grow.

We bought a "full spectrum" light (which Kurt will use as a reading lamp once we no longer need it for the seedlings) to help with the germination. Our apartment has a nice little balcony, but unfortunately it faces north and doesn't get any real direct sunlight until about 3 or 4pm in the summer. Our south facing windows are ok for some plants, but I'm hoping that the lamp will work until it's time to transplant.

Speaking of transplants, the ones we chose are:

Tomatoes -
Brandywine (large for slicing)
Stuppice (2", extremely early, good yields)
Hartman's Yellow Gooseberry (yellow, small cherry-size)
Mexico Midget (red, small cherry-size)

Peppers (all sweet) -
Sweet Chocolate (brown, but "red" flavor)
King of the North (best variety red)
Orange Bell (great flavor)

More on the transplants once they arrive.

We're waiting for the "rules and regulations" of the community garden to arrive any day now - tonight when we drove by, we saw that they had plowed the land (tilled the soil? plowed under the ground cover? I don't know farmer-terminology!), so I know that we'll be able to get on to the land soon and start planting!

By the way, we bought a 5-gallon bucket with a lid that I want to use for composting our vegetable scraps. I think I just need to drill or punch some holes into it, maybe throw in some worms or something - I need to research it more, but I'm excited about it!