The Start of Another Year

looking aheadSo much to do this year, I don’t know if it will all get done, but I’m optimistic that at least some of it will. The table in the Pub seems to have become my planning table. The Pub catches the morning light and is very pleasant at this time of day; a nice spot to have a hot cup of tea or coffee, or just to watch the birds at the feeders in the back off the deck.

We brought the seed starter stand inside this past weekend, and I got the Brussel’s sprouts, the broccoli, and the cabbage planted in the starter trays on the 31st, or the 1st to all intents and purposes. Some weeks back I started a hardcopy gardening binder, something to refer to on the spur of the moment without having to go chasing down a gadget, or worrying about said gadget being harmed by potting soil, water, or just general mayhem as I go through the gardening process. One of the things I’ve put in it is an actual calendar of when I want to plant my various seeds so that I actually got something started when I wanted to this time! I just have to remember that it’s there for my instant reference.

seed_traysThe seed trays are on a heating mat as a source of bottom heat. I hope to upgrade to a “real” seedling mat at some future point, but this method has done me for a couple of years now. This was an inexpensive mat, one without an internal timer on it (it would hardly do for the heat to go off after a couple of hours,) and one marked as “water resistant”.  The lights are on for 14 hours give or take; they’re on a mechanical type timer which isn’t quite as accurate as an electronic one, but simpler to program and able to take more abuse in the long run. The seed starting medium this year is a bit different, an “organic” mix by Burpee’s that I picked up at Lowe’s. Rather than being peat based (a non-renewable resource,) it’s coir based. The only real difference that I’ve noticed so far is that it seems to dry out more quickly than the peat type. It’s also more expensive, I suspect because it is to all intents and purposes a by-product to the coconut industry and I can’t imagine that the the coconut industry is actually that large. Except for its tendency to dry out more quickly I like it overall; it has a nice texture.

Brand new baby broccoli, just peeking out.

Brand new baby broccoli, just peeking out.

The broccoli (Burpee’s variety ‘di Cicco’) is happy anyway, it’s already popping up after only a few days!  I was a bit careless sowing these seeds; normally I’ll only sow two, or at most three seeds per cell. It’s a bit persnickety when they’re so small, but it is doable and when they’re so expensive much more economical rather than flinging them hither and yon. If the seed is stored somewhere away from heat and moisture they will be viable for many years. That’s a lot better than spending $4 or $5 a packet every year which is what some of the hybrid varieties end up costing. The most I spent on any one variety this year was for the Brussel’s sprouts ‘Dimitri Hybrid‘ at $3.95 for 25 seeds. The only reason I opted for those is that it is advertised as “easy to grow” and the last time I tried to grow sprouts they didn’t perform.