I’m off to a slow start this year with my garden. I think the chickens are taking up too much time and energy. Well, that’s my excuse. It could also be the last late snow storms that kind of put all gardening on hold. I hadn’t even gotten around to ordering seeds for this season. I did finally order seeds about a week ago, from Fedco Seeds in Maine. They arrived in the mail Yesterday, kind of like Christmas in April.
I did start some tomato seeds that I had from previous years. Started them April 3 rd, no signs of life yet. With old seeds I never know. I grow a lot of different plants but not a lot of any one plant, so I have 6 recycled cookie containers with a sprinkling of seeds in each one from 6 different varieties of tomatoes. I will transplant the best seedlings into larger containers, keeping maybe 3 of each. I had one new variety of tomato seed in my seed order, so I planted them as soon as the mail came.
recycled cookie container with tomato seeds in potting soil
cookie container in clear plastic bag & tagged with empty seed pack
I place the started seeds into a clear plastic bag to keep the moisture constant, like their own little green house. When they start to sprout I will remove the bag.
Tomatoes are one of the few plants that actually do better with transplanting. I sometimes transplant them a second time into a still larger pot before setting them out into the garden. Starting my own seeds I get to grow varieties that you can’t find normally at the nursery, like Black Cherry tomatoes, one of my favorites.
I couldn’t stop with just the tomatoes, so I also started basil, 3 different lettuce and leeks. These I started in individual 12 packs, they will go straight into the garden when ready.
SWEET POTATO. The sweet potato that I set up to grow slips from ended up rotting in the container of water it was in. My wonderful wife brought me home a small sweet potato from “Whole Foods” and I set it into a container of water March 15 th. It is doing great, roots are growing out of the bottom of it and buds are growing from the top section, some of the buds are actually slips already with little leaves.
first try started 3/5/13 now rotting 4/2/13
first try picture taken 4/2/13
second try started 3/15/13 buds showing 4/2/13
second try with roots and buds picture taken 4/2/13
I need 5 slips and should get at least that many from this one potato. I will plant them in 5-5gallon buckets and hang them off of my deck. The sweet potato plant all by itself is very pretty. Guests are surprised when I tell them what they are, their green leaves and light purple flowers look like an ornamental plant. They are, we just get to eat the potatoes at the end of the season.
slips starting picture taken 4/6/13
It is so good to be digging in the dirt again. I moved some of my compost (this is from the chicken run) and spread it in the East garden. The sun was strong and felt good but the air was still cool and the wind made it even chillier. This is why we live in New England.