My little window sill seed sprouter trays are going well. I popped in another round of seeds early last week and with the warm weather and sunshine we’ve had recently they have all begun to pop up. In the photo above you can see zucchinis going great guns, as well as some cucumbers and pumpkins. There are also watermelons, borage, lemon balm, tomatoes (three kinds), squash, basil, and gourds.
I’ve had no success getting luffas or the bottle gourds or the cantelopes (rockmelons) to germinate in the first round of seeds I planted. I have no idea why – especially the cantelopes as I’ve planted them in the past and had no problems. I am not sure if I am doing something wrong with the luffas and bottle gourds as we’ve not tried them before – but I put in more of all of these in the second round of planting and am hoping for a better result.
We are excitedly ready to be planting out into the garden. When we first began to build the vegie garden we started out making garden beds with wooden sides and paths in between. Then we got the rotary hoe for the tractor we decided to leave the other half of the veggie garden unstructured so we can get in with the tractor each spring and rotary hoe a few times, turning the soil and green manure, and them just heap up the soil into beds ready to plant – this is the first year we are trying this sustem so hoping it will work well, it has certainly given us HEAPS of room to plant out!
The fixed beds will eventually be mostly herbs and flowers, some green leafy veggies and other bits and pieces as well but the majority of the veggies will go in the unstructured part of the veggie garden this year. We’ve sorted out a rough plan of where things will go and heaped up the soil into appropriate sixed ‘beds’ ready to go. The watering system is almost finished and will be automated so hopefully will run just fine when we go away. (We are not on town water so have no water restrictions here – but we water the veggie garden with bore water and the orchard with the clear water septic system)
I’ve already planted out a zucchini, some cucumbers, two different pumpkins and a squash. It’s a bit earlier than we’d usually plant out so they have all been heavily mulched and are living under plastic soft drink bottles with the bottoms cut off for a bit of protection from both earwigs and the frosts we tend to get without warning… and cause it is still cold here at night. Fingers crossed they will do ok, but if not we have plenty more that can go in later – but it would be nice to have some early starters.
I also planted some luffa seeds and bottle gourd seeds directly into the ground to see if that would get them going… I am not holding me breath, but it was worth a try.
The girls helped me plant some more borage seeds directly into one of the structured beds and some marigolds and calendula seeds as well. Back when we were first starting the veggie garden, when we were niave and ignorant, there was no place in my veggie garden for ‘useless flowers’… I’ve learnt a little since and now know how much benefit the flowers bring to the veggies, plus the girls love to pick a flower here or there so we are putting in more than ever this year and hoping they will do ok. On our flower list are – cone flowers, sunflowers (two types), forget me nots, poppies, love in the mist and um… some others I forget now.
The lettuce from the seeds we saved are finally looking good and we have even thinned them out a bit now and then and eaten a few baby coss for dinner (the girls LOVE lettuce… strange as that may sound for a 5 year old). The spinach has popped up and is looking lush and green, the pink silver beet has finally sprouted but is looking a bit sorry for itself – but then the seeds were years old so that is not really surprising. The poor peas we panted weeks ago, that got attacked by slugs, then the chooks who got in and scratched them out, then the frost… they are finally looking green and lush and doing their best to grow…they are still tiny and way off having peas so I have a feeling the heat will get them before we get to harvest anything… but maybe if I throw some shade cloth over them when things heat up a little we might do ok?
Best of all, all the rhubarb plants that we split off the big one and replanted are looking great! We won’t be cutting rhubarb for a while but eventually we should have seven plants to harvest from – I think we’ll be swimming in rhubarb! Oh and another great thing is our strawberries… they look fabulous! They are COVERED with flowers and if they all fruit we’ll be scoffing strawberries! YUM!
Argh! there is just so much to do at this time of the year… So many things we still need to plant, so much guessing of when is to early and when is too late to put things in. I want to buy some more herbs seedlings and probably a tomato seedling or two (our tomato seeds have sprouted just fine but they are still sooooo teeny it will be a while before they are ready so I think we’ll cheat and see if we can get some in early). I still have weeding to do, and planning and dreaming.. oh and we want to make a scarecrow too! Thankfully most days are sunny, if not warm, and it is a joy to spend time out there with the kids pottering around, this is the good stuff… the planting and growing stuff and we are determined to enjoy it!
If you are not bored to tears by crazy rantings of veggie growing obsessed bloggers go check out The Growing Challenge for heaps of great gardeners!