BostonFamilygarden

Starting Seeds and Boston Bound…

By April 15, 2013 10 Comments
Today is the day I allow myself to watch television during the DAY.  Because you see, it’s the Boston Marathon.  Oh, I’m so excited.
Even with Boston inspiration, my long run this weekend was a flop.  Warning:  Do not mix cold medicines and then think you can run 10 miles.  If you saw me wandering cow pastures doped up on something, that’s b/c…I was.  Must try again with less substance abuse.  Ay.
We had a little winter storm on friday.
Again.  Our mailbox always goes missing in winter – all those PLOWS of one sort or another.  The other day it was just – gone.  I went digging in the snow bank but then thought better of it and bribed Brynne with a dollar when she got home from school.  No luck.  It was greatly distressing as our mailman couldn’t deliver the mail – the obvious highlight of my day.  I mean, the water buffalo and cows are great and all, but…MAIL?  I love the mail truck.  I think you should send me a real letter.

Many digs later, the mailbox was found…in the garage…and is now duct taped on for the sixth year in a row.  We’re classy like that.  

We are lucky though; the snow melted quickly and the sun is shining this morning.  Spring may come after all.  
Brynne, my little gardener, was very excited when the mailman delivered seeds from Gurneys. 
We tend to be a little zealous when ordering seeds, but seed catalogs are just too much fun.  Did I just say that?
When they arrive, on the back of your seed packets you’ll see instructions for three different varieties:
1.  “Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before planting”
2.  “Sow seeds in ground as soon as the ground can be worked”
3.  “Wait to plant until all danger of frost has passed”
In New Hampshire, all danger of frost is not until Memorial Day, the last weekend in May.  I have learned this lesson the hard way…several times.  WAIT.

Brynne has her own little plot of earth and planted some tendersweet carrots.  Carrots, spinach, kale, lettuce, and sweet peas can all go in the ground right this very minute!

Watering is my children’s most favorite activity.  They could run the hose all day long.  See all that brown grass?  In mere weeks it shall be green.

Brynnie, Brynnie Win-Win, how does your garden grow?
Until a few years ago, I was frightened of gardening.  I didn’t know what to DO, it was TOO HARD.  You know how you learn?  You just start.  You learn as you go, make many mistakes, and then try again.  This is an easy way to start – a pre-made seed starting kit.  

We also bought this, and some dirt

And planted almost 100 tomato plants.  ZEAL.  I haven’t had much luck with planting tomato seeds right into the ground; our growing season is just too short.

Here is the dirt we bought.  One year I bought “potting soil” and lost all my tomatoes.  Seedlings need very specific dirt to get a good start in life.  They’re like babies.

An excellent family activity, especially before hair has been brushed.

Fill containers with dirt, poke a hole, drop 2-3 seeds, cover up.
Water.  THAT’S IT.

After watering the pods, they will swell and you can drop your seeds in.

Black Krim Tomatoes

After planting, cover and put in a warm, dark area so the seeds can germinate.  We keep ours on the dryer which isn’t very warm, dark, or quiet, but it still works.  Keep out of direct sunlight until you see a little sprout.

All sorts of tomato seeds this year…Brandywine, Delicious, Golden Rave, Chocolate Cherry, Beefsteak, Roma…

And then.  Year after year, it never fails to amaze…they sprout!  That little seed grows into a plant!  Miraculous.

See how two little sprouts are coming up?  Thin them immediately.  I had a hard time doing this in the beginning, but you must be heartless – only one plant can grow per square or they will be competing for nutrients and both will be weaker.  It is survival of the fittest around here.  There is no equal opportunity!  Fight the urge and THIN.
What else did we start inside?  Pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloupe, and zinnias.  Zinnias?  I just felt like it.
You need not live in the country to start a garden.  Melissa in New York City grows tomatoes on her balcony.  Some of my friends have seed-swapping parties for more variety.  You don’t need to start tomatoes from seed.  I happen to think it’s fun, but when it’s not fun or worthwhile, you can always buy the plants and start later.
Or find a Farmer’s Market.
When Memorial Day comes, we’ll be out in full force planting the zucchini that no one likes, beans, and potatoes that everyone likes.  Gardens are a wonderful thing, but lots of work.  The upside is that it’s a great way for a family to spend time together, exercise, and enjoy the beautiful world.  The loud world feels very far away when I’m outside in the garden violently thrashing at New Hampshire’s black flies.  
I fight the flies and weeds because gardens are so healthy, fresh, and an extremely satisfying way to make dinner.  Then there’s the fresh produce smoothie love.  (happy clapping)
What about you – are you going to play Farmer this spring and summer?  What are you planting?
TTFN.  I’m off to thin carrots and watch some history happen on Heartbreak Hill.  Happy Monday!

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