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Herb and flower seeds from Baker Creek

First you give a girl seeds for herbs and flowers. These were from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and I was excited to get a free gift seed packet of sunflowers. I think I know where I can plant them. I was very excited to open the package and see the bounty within.

I started out with carefully examining the seed planting information. The Asters (a variety which are supposed to be similar to peonies; I was planning on planting some peonies this year next to one I already have, but this seemed like a good alternative) and the sunflowers will be direct sown in April, when the chances of them being killed by frost is more or less passed. Average last frost here is mid-April and never later than the beginning of May, so I’ll probably sow at the beginning of April and keep an eye on what the weather does.

The rosemary is apparently difficult to get to germinate. High-quality seed companies will have high germination rates for their seeds, but some seeds are naturally harder to grow no matter how good the seeds are. Baker Creek stated right on the packet that the seeds have a low germination rate, so I put a good handful of seeds in each of five small pots. I’d rather have to thin them than not get any plants. The lavender and strawberry were more straightforward. I think I’m going to edge the apple tree beds with the strawberries, so I started eight so that I can put four in each apple tree bed. I have enough seeds to start more next year if I want more strawberry plants.

Vegetable seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds

The next day my vegetable seeds arrived. If I thought I’d been excited about the herbs and flowers, I was outright ecstatic about getting the vegetables. I feel like a genuine gardener now…except that my garden beds still aren’t even dug up or composted.

My first task was to again sit down and evaluate what needs to be planted when and how. The result was me planting spinach, lettuce, celery, and broccoli indoors. I hope to do some succession sowing through the summer, and set aside a couple of varieties that are supposed to be better for fall/overwintering crops to plant later in the year. The peppers will be started indoors later this month, and then the squash will be started next month. The root vegetables — carrots and onions — will be direct sown outside.

I had originally intended to just start with a 4’x10′ bed this year, but after a closer look at what I want to grow and what I ordered, I think I’ll be doing two 4’x12′ beds instead. One will primarily be salad greens and root vegetables and the other bed will primarily squash. I’m going to try to grow the peppers in large pots so I can put them in the greenhouse outside after seed starting is done, or bring them inside if it gets too cold before they’re done producing.

In future years I expect to add at least one more 4’x12′ bed and a full size greenhouse for more growing space. Maybe a couple of smaller beds too, if they’re necessary for the production I want to achieve, although I’m not sure where I’d put more beds than that.

All of this is so new to me. I’ve made efforts to learn about gardening in this region, so I’d be shocked by a total failure, but I imagine there are going to be some things that just don’t go as smoothly as they would if I had more experience. I hope you’ll stick with me as I learn and maybe learn with me.

This was the end result of my seed-starting endeavors the last two days. I positioned the little greenhouse right in front of a south-facing window, and there’s an east-facing window a few feet away. I don’t have grow lights and can’t quite justify purchasing any right now (those things are expensive), so I’ll just have to hope this will suffice. I also put it next to the forced-air heater and directed a tiny fan towards the greenhouse with the plastic lifted a little so that the warm air will blow directly inside to warm the soil.

The top shelf has the herbs I started — rosemary, lavender, and echinacea. The next row down has spinach and lettuce in the seed starting flat, and a few strawberries. The third row has broccoli, celery, and more strawberries. The bottom row is as yet unoccupied by seeds. I put a towel underneath everything to catch any stray water drips to protect our wood floors. Someday when I have grow lights and heating pads this will probably happen by the garage window, and I won’t have to worry about dripping water. For now the garage is way too cold and unorganized.