I know just last week I said I wasn’t going to try to grow my own transplants for my garden this year.
Ummm, yeah. Find me a spoon, I need to eat my words.
A few Saturdays ago I attended a seed starting workshop hosted by the Victory Garden Initiative, a group in Milwaukee working to reintroduce food into urban ecology to create a more environmentally and socially just food system. (Its motto: “This is a grassroots movement. Move grass. Grow food.”) If I lived in Milwaukee I would get involved in a heartbeat.
A little more about the project from its website:
The Victory Garden Initiative promotes the use of our own backyards (and front yards and rooftops and patios) for the production of food. We are gardeners supporting other gardeners in their own paths towards a self-sufficient, sustainable, and healthy food supply. Through mentoring, modeling and outreach we aim to make Victory Gardening a way of life for everyone. Gardening is the new protest, the passive resistance of our time. Lay down, next to me, in front of this bulldozer.
So yeah, although i can’t be as actively involved as I’d like, I did get me a “Victory Garden Initiative” t-shirt to demonstrate my support. And because it was cute.
While I’ve read a ton of info about gardening and taken the master gardener course, most of the time I find myself feeling more overwhelmed than confident. It seems like there are so many ways to do any one thing — definitely more of an art than a science — and since over-researching is my Achilles heel, I have trouble deciding what to do. I learned in the tutor training that I took a few weeks ago that I’m a kinesthetic learner (learn by doing), but what I really think I need is a hand holding.
So this workshop was great for that. We spent a little time talking about seeds in general — cold weather vs. warm weather, heirloom vs. GMOs, which plants don’t like being transplanted (beans, peas, corn, roots). An interesting tip I learned was to succession plant your crops not only so your harvest is spread out, but also because weather conditions vary so much from year to year that if you spread out your planting you are more likely to hit the right time for that year.
This is going to sound so lame but just putting the soil (well, soilless medium of 50% coir or peat, 50 % vermiculite or perlite) in those plastic seedling trays, watering (from underneath!), and planting the seeds made me so much more comfortable that now I’m excited to try again this year. So back to the seed catalogs I go to pick out some tomatoes and peppers!
To germinate the seeds need heat, but not necessarily light, and then to grow they need light, but not as much heat. Well the warmest room in our house is the bathroom, so I threw a shower cap on the seeds to trap in the heat and moisture.
In less than a week half of the seeds had sprouted (the lettuce seeds?) and so I gave the seedlings a new home by our very sunny office window. Sunny = bad for using a computer, but good for seeds!
Now I just need to remember to water them….