Time to start seeds

It’s 8 weeks to the last frost date here in Region 5, and the most recent snow is quickly melting away. It’s spring! Time to get the garden started. My seeds arrived from seedsavers.org this week and I’m getting my seed trays set up under lights in the basement. In this years batch:

Shipment from seedsavers.org

Tomatoes: Stupice, Beam’s Yellow Pear, Mexico Midget, Green Zebra, Amish Paste. This is the third year I’ve grown most of these varieties. This year I’m growing them from seeds instead of buying them as transplants. Another change this year: Beam’s Yellow Pear and Mexico Midget, which are both small-fruited huge plants, are going to be grown in containers on the patio, inside tomato towers. I’m tired of having mini-tomatoes take over my whole garden.

Beans and Peas! I’ve never grown beans or peas before. I chose Climbing French, Fin de Bagnol, and Dwarf Gray Sugar because they seemed basic and easy. They’re getting planted outside – the peas can take some cold, so I might even plant them this weekend.

Peppers: Wisconsin Lakes and Sweet Chocolate. I’ve never grown peppers before. The packets say they won’t germinate unless the soil temp is 80°; which I doubt will happen either in the basement or outside. I’ll just plant them and see what happens.

Greens: Forellenschuss and Slobolt lettuce, Five Color Silverbeet. I grew Forellenschuss two years ago and it was good but bolted a few weeks after the leaves were big enough to eat. So I’m trying Slobolt as well, which is supposed to stay leafy and tasty a long time. I planted Rainbow Swiss Chard (same as Five Color Silverbeet) last fall, and thought it was great. Grew fast, didn’t mind the cold, and 8 plants gave me enough for a salad every day.

Cupplant, Silphium perfoliatum. This year I’m making an effort to increase the insect and bird population of my yard by using more native plants as ornamentals.

8 thoughts on “Time to start seeds

  1. sara

    i was in ireland last week and was mesmerized by all the seeds. i would have smuggled some back if i could have figured out which ones i couldn’t get here. i am not that smart with seeds ya see.

  2. Clare Post author

    Irish seeds, wow! That sounds very tempting, although I’m sure anything evolved to grow on the emerald isle would not be happy in my sun-blasted drought-stricken prairie garden.

    Every time I go to the UK I’m jealous of the lush varied garden plants, especially the roses. I’ve given up on “pretty and well-designed” for my non-veggie garden and am now going for “sustainable mini-ecosystem”, which will at least let me feel morally superior even if it looks like crap.

  3. Clare Post author

    Having a garden is my favorite thing about having a house. Gardening in containers and windowboxes isn’t quite as fun, although the growlights & seedtrays in the basement work pretty well. We had to eat half my lettuce the other day because it had grown to edibleness before the weather warmed up enough to transplant it outside.

  4. Bec

    Hey Clare,

    Have you seen these guys? http://www.guerrillagardening.org/

    They undertake “the illicit cultivation of someone else’s land” usually poorly kept public spaces. “You do not even have to stop moving to do it – GG (Guerrilla Gardener)830 Tony releases handfuls of Welsh poppy seeds while driving along the M60 motorway.” reminded me of some story you told about you or your brother when you were little randomly scattering seeds in the garden.

  5. Clare Post author

    Bec, that guerrilla gardening site is great. I’ve often thought about doing something like that when I see neglected plantings, but I didn’t know there was such an organized community doing the same thing. Interesting stuff.


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