Monday, March 12, 2012

Starting the Garden

I have taken a couple of days off work and since today and tomorrow are supposed to be optimal days for planting root crops I hoped to get some good garden time in.  Yesterday was so warm and sunny here that I began preparing the garden bed and the pots on the deck for planting.   A little Wren came by to perch on the deck rail and watch me for a while.

Most of the garden was covered with this - Dead Nettle.  I pulled and dug - it's surprisingly tenacious.  The rake and hoe didn't remove it.   I found a couple of leftover beets and onions from last year, and some Chervil had reseeded.  Today, I got some more beets in before it started to rain. 

I'm hoping it will stop raining so I can put in white turnips, carrots and several kinds of radishes, but in the meantime, I'm starting seeds indoors.  Here is how I do mine.  At Wren Cottage I repurpose things almost as often as I recycle.  The cat litter I use comes in big plastic jugs. 

Not very 'green' but they don't like the kinds that come in bags.   I recycle most of them, but they also are very useful in the garden.  When I'm ready to start seeds, cut the top off:        

Then slit the corners down about 2 inches, like so, so the top will push back onto the bottom  ...... and use the bottom of the jug to start seeds.

I happened to have some "Jiffy' seed starting disks on hand, but you could also fill the bottom part of the jug with seed starting mix.  

I soaked the disks in warm water to expand them, then - because they are waterlogged - I allowed them to drain.    Add the seeds to the expanded disks, then return them to the jug. 

The top keeps the cats out, and with the cap off, extra moisture can escape. A tip sheet from a seed supplier I bought from said to sprinkle cinnamon on the soil to battle or prevent 'damping off' - the biggest threat to seeds started indoors.

By cutting bottom off of the jugs instead of the top, they make great cloches for covering seedlings freshly set in the garden.  I have a lot of trouble with Robins in the Spring, biting off or pulling out my seedlings, but these really do the job at allowing the seedlings to grow large enough for the birds to leave them alone.  

Not all things need to be started.  These strawberries never completely died back, and now are growing back like gangbusters.


  1. Love your blog! This is Sarabeth, we met at the KY Sheep and Fiber Festival-- I bought the sweet French Angora Buck on Sunday and we got talking about Seedleaf-- anyway! Hope this finds you well-- may I add your blog to my "Blogs I follow" list on my blog?