A Journey to Grow a Little Food Close to Home

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I've been hearing that you readers want me to post more often. Sorry Sorry Sorry!!! I'm in the throes of writing a master's thesis and have NO TIME for anything else. Ok...that's not entirely true. I have managed to keep the garden going and I've got a bit of an update for you:

Here is the coldfrema that has been going the longest. There are 15 dwarf peas and 2 dwarf lettuces that are looking pretty good. These were started in January and went out into this frams at the beginning of Febrary

Here's another shot to give you an idea of the size of the lettuce. It should be ready for eating this coming weekend!

Take a look at the thermometer - warm in those frames!!

Here are some more lettuces that are growing nicely and that were seeded at 2-week intervals so that we wouldn't get all of our harvest at the same time!

Here are the last lettuces that I started indoors and that will be transplanted outside. After these, all of my lettuce for the rest of the year will be directly seeded outside.

5 more dwarf peas to go outside. The next round of peas will be started directly outside.

Although I started a little late, here are pots of broccoli that will be transplanted in a couple of weeks

I decided to go with this variety just because

Here's a shot of the back of the seed pack. It's a teaser for the next posting which will talk about what this info on seed packs means...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sparse Posts but Lots of Garden Activity

Event though it's been a week since the last post, activity in the garden has not slowed in the least. I've been busy starting just a few seeds each week and then, after a couple of weeks indoors, planting them into the coldframes.

One of the casulties of starting very small seeds (like lettuce) is that, due to germination rates, more seeds have to be started than what one actually needs. Often, 2 or three seeds are started in the same pot knowing all the while that only one will actually take.

Sometimes, though, more than one seed makes it!

Typically, the the strongest seedling is saved and the other, weaker plants are pulled out and discarded (known as pricking out).

There is, however, another way...

Enter the widger

This is an age-old and brilliantly simple tool that allows a grower to carefully transfer tiny seedlings from one pot to another. Here's how it works:

Use the tool to open a small hole in a transplant pot

Carefully work the tool around the seedling being sure to leave a little dirt around the roots

While applying light pressure with the tool and a finger, lift the seedling with a little dirt out of the first pot...

...and place it into the hole in the transplant pot

And then there were two!

Be sure to sprinkle a little dirt around the newly transplanted seedling as well as in the hole that it left in the original pot.

Know that movina seedling in this way, if done carefully, will not hurt it. It will feel some shock for a bit, though, so water it carefully and give it a little adjustment time before planting it outside.

This process, while not terribly time consuming for the home gardener, would not be practical for a commercial grower (hence resorting to pulling extra seedlings out). When the home grower is only seeding a few plants at a time, however, this can be a wonderful way to save seeds!