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Sow, just sow

April 28, 2012

This year I am determined not to blow a bunch of money at the garden store on starters that someone else grew from seed, especially with plants that I know are easy to start, like broccoli.  This determination must be followed up with equal persistence in sowing, sowing, sowing.  Twice this spring I have resown sugar snap peas, in the holes where the first planting didn’t germinate, and then to replace little ones that got mown down by slugs when the weather warmed up a few degrees and those slimy predators hatched. 

I’ve also done two more direct plantings of radishes and spinach, hoping to draw out the time we spend eating our crop, and replanted lettuce and broccoli in the greenhouse, along with a bunch of random flower seeds I’ve wanted to start myself for ages but haven’t had a greenhouse to start things in (zinnias, apricot-coloured foxgloves, wildflower seeds harvested on the Winchelsea Islands a couple of years ago).  The exception to the buying veggie starts stubbornness doesn’t apply to tomatoes, which I know are easy to start from seed, but are best started indoors in February.  I don’t have an indoor space to start seeds, and really want a bumper crop of tomatoes for the Big Guy this year, so I purchased six plants from Outrageous Edibles – thanks guys!

I am reminded this year of how great kids are at planting seeds.  You’d think they would waste them, scatter them indiscriminately and run away, but their care in holding a few seeds in the crook of their palms and using their little fingers to set each in a little hole in the soil is heartbreakingly tender.  When I did daycare I let each child grow their own pot of carrots, and we laughed at how each child’s personality came out in how they planted – either a few, huge carrots grown by Mr. Competitive, or hundreds of tiny, tender ones grown by our youngest and sweetest child. The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss is a great accompaniment to this activity.

On the slug note, the beer baits I made last year didn’t actually trap any offender, only seemed to complement their meal with a cold brew.  I have done a little more research this year, and am going to try burying jam jars half-full of beer and see what happens.    While I would like to let the chickens out to deal with the slugs, I haven’t put up barriers (nets or cloches) to keep the girls away from the new sprouts.  They are not discriminating about where they scratch and peck, as demonstrated by their recent escape and adventure in the spinach patch (maybe they aren’t as dumb as I tease them about being, since they found one small hole in the fence!).  Also, the slugs seem to come out most at night, when the girls are sleeping.  Keep you posted on the slug deterrents.

Also on the to-do list this weekend was mulching the strawberry patch.  I am so excited to see clumps of flowers about to erupt, so I wanted to work the mulch in before the delicate flowers are there.  My mom got me started gardening strawberries when I lived on Saltspring Island.  She brought a big strawberry pot over with clumps of strawberries that she proceeded to divide up before my eyes and tuck into the holes in the pot.  They are really hardy, able to grow happily after having their roots torn apart, and the leaves can tolerate pretty rough handling.  I dumped a bag of straw (NOT hay!) on the raised bed, and worked the straw in around the plants, teasing apart the clumps of hay and shoving it under the strawberry leaves.  Now when the fruit appears, it can ripen without sitting on the cold damp ground.  The next trick will be keeping some for us instead of sharing with the birds.

Hoping some sun will follow these misty, rainy days to encourage the sown seeds to grow!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2012 6:13 pm

    Love this, about your gardening. We finally have gotten a garden plot ready this year, and our kids are really into it also! I, too, have been amazed at how carefully they tend to the seeds and to the planting. I’m so excited to watch their excitement when they watch the fruits of their labor! Thanks for sharing, your garden looks great by the way!

    • Mairi King permalink*
      May 1, 2012 6:45 am

      Thanks for the kind words! That’s great you’re getting your kids gardening, they will never forget it. Such an easy magic to show them, how seeds sprout with a little sun, water and patience. I’m delighted by how two people on other sides of the continent can have so much in common.

  2. April 29, 2012 7:35 am

    It sounds like you are going to have a nice garden this year.

  3. attemptinggreen permalink
    April 29, 2012 6:04 am

    the Carrot Seed is one of our favorite books so simple yet so powerful.

    • Mairi King permalink*
      May 1, 2012 6:47 am

      Thanks for writing! Any other kids books you’re loving at this time of year, feel free to share!

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