Back in midwinter I did my usual inventory of leftover seeds, garden planning and ordering of new seeds. I had a bunch of seeds that were 3-4 years old so I wanted to check their viability.
To do this, I moistened some paper towels and laid out about 5-10 of each pack, folded the towels over and put them in labeled plastic bags by the wood stove. Within a few days, almost all had germinated. The only things that never came to life were my peppers. Tomatoes I composted but the others, I thought – let’s put them in pots and see what happens. If nothing else, it’ll make me happy to have something growing.
So I filled some pots, planted the germinated seeds and set the trays in the bay window. Before too long, I had to put strings up for the beans and peas and squash to climb!
My husband came in and saw the windowsill and commented as he walked out of the room, “Looks like we’re growing again…”
It has been so fun to watch the plants creep up the strings, flower and even set fruit. We have just enough of those little Japanese beetles that look like lady bugs flying around in the house to get the flowers pollinated. See the tiny cucumbers and beans?
During that warm stretch in January I also planted a few things out in my garden beds. Peas came up pretty quickly and are thriving. Should have some pods soon.
I started three kinds of kale inside then quickly moved them out into my beds. I put some in the vegetable garden but also intermixed others with my flowers. Purple kales are really a beautiful plant!
In late February or early March I added turnips, radishes, beets, carrots, onions and lettuce to my raised beds. They are also growing well. Just last week, I put in some Tall Utah celery too that I started from seed early winter. It’s a slow grower but man – SO MUCH more flavorful than any you’ll ever get at the store!
My dining room greenhouse is thriving now with plants that require warmer temps to plant: tomatoes, peppers, corn, basils, and cucumbers. I have started to harden off the cucumbers. They’ll be next outside.
I’m so excited for tomato season. I started six or seven varieties, mostly heirloom with the exception of best boys which my husband loves. I also did a couple extra trays of best boys for my in-laws in Michigan. I guess their stores are being more stringent about “essential products” and they aren’t selling garden plants. I have to say – I think growing food is pretty essential! Anyway, I was happy to start a few more trays to ensure they’ll have something to put in their garden come May.
This picture is from a week ago. The tomatoes have doubled in size since I repotted them in these cups. They are doing great under the lights.
I decided to try starting corn, which I’ve never done before. I haven’t had great success with corn in past. This year I got a Blue Aztec corn, which I believe can be eaten as sweet corn or saved and ground up for cornmeal. Also I’m trying strawberry popcorn again. I got a grain mill not too long ago so I’m excited to maybe grow my own corn for making cornmeal! Check out these plants…I think the Blue Aztec will be knee high by the 4th of May!
It is exciting to be growing again. This is the time of the year when it just feels good in your body and soul and lungs to be out digging in the dirt, breathing in that fresh crisp air and remembering what it feels like to be good and grounded in a place.
What are you growing now?