FDPG and Dominic are doing a gardening project in their 4-H group this year; FDPG concentrating on vegetable gardening and Dominic on making a butterfly garden. To that end I've been recalling gardening books for kids from the library, visiting the seed aisles at the garden centre, and perusing planting charts. Our favourite chart is the one in the West Coast Seeds Gardening Guide. They divide it handily into two pages: Vegetables, and Herbs & Flowers. This year I ripped out both planting charts and stuck them in the seed box so the twins could keep an eye out for what to seed when.
I don't know why, perhaps because I'm still in recovery mode from Christmas, but seed planting season always, and I mean always, takes me by surprise. So it was with a sense of surprise that I noticed on the West Coast chart that we could be planting certain seeds NOW. Yes, NOW.
So we did. Here are the twins, busily filling pots. I gave them each a tray, a cut off bottom of a paper cup (I just had these left over from another project but you could use a yogurt cup), and some popsicle sticks and a Sharpie. First they filled all the little pots with soil and dampened it a bit. We have a very fine plastic nozzle attached to a pop bottle (you might have them in your garden centres like we do, for about 25¢). Then we formed an assembly line: I put 25 seeds into their cup, and wrote the name of the plant on the requisite number of popsicle sticks. They divided them up into the flats, covered with more soil, and stuck in the plant label.
Then I dragged an old greenhouseslashgardencrap storage unit from outside, where it was reposing mouldily, into the basement and we laid out the heating mats and grow lights (I was thrilled to see full spectrum grow light bulbs in the garden centre this year - if you have old lamp plugs and wiring lying around it makes for a cheaply fast grow light fixture). Placed the trays on the shelving unit and VOILA! or, as a witty friend of mine likes to say VIOLA! (which, considering the topic of this post, is rather more apt don't you think?).
I know it's the season for Seedy Saturdays but I never seem to get to them. Well, amend that, I did once but I was kind of put off by the atmosphere. I went expecting a lot of gardeners and mostly bumped into a lot of Trendy Garden Marketers hawking expensive stuff. So now I stick to garden centres and books, although this year I made more effort to buy Open Pollinated plants so I could save more seed.
Just in case you're wondering (or if you're nosy like me), here's a list of things we planted this week:
Basil: West Coast Seeds Genovese
Bells of Ireland: Renee's Garden Antique Apple Green
Broccoli: West Coast Seeds Purple Sprouting Red Arrow
Calendula: Seeds of Change Orange Zinger
Hollyhock: Livingston Seed Co. Peaches 'N' Dreams
Kale: West Coast Seeds Rainbow Tuscan
Lettuce: Renee's Garden Merveille de Quatre Saisons
Marigold: Seeds of Change Moonlight
Mescluns: West Coast Seeds Corn Salad
(Stinging) Nettle: Richter's (no laughing now, but it seeds ridiculously well and I am planning a Mega-Ginormous Nettle Patch in the back end of the garden, for tea)
Perennial Sunflowers: Renee's Garden Prairie Maximilian
Phacelia: West Coast Seeds
Spinach: Sunshine Farm Bloomsdale