From Dawn to Dusk

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One of my favorite times of the year arrived this week!  In the wee hours of Monday morning, we began pouring over our 2017 seed catalog (We order our seeds and transplants from The Seed Savers Exchange, based in Iowa.) and envisioning what it is we want our garden to look like this year.  Now that the girls are older, they too have taken on an added interest in this task and our day was filled with talk of which herbs would grow best inside their cinder block garden boarder, and whether or not we want to skip growing cucumbers again this summer.  (My girls no longer eat pickles.  Say what?!?)

We normally peruse the seed catalogs in February because this seems to be an especially difficult month to get through for us.  So dark.  So very cold.  This year, however, proved to be a bit strange in that this particular February day was unseasonably balmy.  So, we packed up our seed-browsing-paraphenalia and headed to the backyard.  There we started a nice fire and continued our quest for garden goodness outdoors, well into the evening.  Such an incredibly nice treat.

Arrival

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Just as we were nestling in for the night yesterday evening, there was a knock on our front door.  There stood our mailman with a small box tucked under his arm…Our 2013 seeds had arrived.

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So, our dinner table found itself scattered with those many seed packages, and tiny hands eager to sort them by vegetable, color and shape.  We had such fun, we completely forgot about the steady snow falling silently outside our window. Spring is on the horizon.

Valentine Number Two

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My youngest daughter’s Valentine idea yesterday led me to another idea I could use for my oldest daughter’s Valentines.  I used a similar play on words, changed sew to sow, and voila…2013 Valentines are done.  Here’s how to do it…

Step 1:  Cut a length of ribbon that will fit around your chosen seed pack.  (I gave myself an extra inch.)

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Step 2:  Put a dot of hot glue on one end of the ribbon and attach it to the seed pack.  Then use another dot of hot glue to attach the other end of the ribbon to itself.  (This way the seed pack won’t slip out of the ribbon.)

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Step 3:  Print your text I’m “SOW” happy you are my Valentine! onto these labels.

Step 5:  Place one label on the seed pack, over the seam of the ribbon.

And that’s it!

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Happy crafting!

2012 Seed Starting Day

Ever since we started our garden three summers ago, the third weekend in February marked our “Seed Starting Day” for the year’s garden.  This past Saturday marked this occasion and a wonderful day was had by all.  As I said last week, I was feeling the need to get in the soil and grow something, so I was very happy to see that day pop up on our calendar!

We normally start the morning off with some sort of yummy breakfast, made with products from last year’s harvest.  This year I made pumpkin scones, and they were delicious!  (This recipe to follow in a post later this week.)

Then the girls drew pictures of what they thought would happen to the seeds once they were planted.

Here is my five year old daughter’s drawing.  She said, “This is a picture of a pot, with the plant marker and a few sprouts coming up.  The sun and rain are coming down on the sprouts.”  Such the gardening expert!

This is the drawing my two year old completed.  She said, “This is a plant with a rainbow.” She is on her way to garden expert status very, very soon I’m sure.

This year for our seed starting mix, we took a five gallon bucket and filled it up half way with compost from last summer.  We then mixed in one small package of coir (coconut husk fiber), which helps to retain moisture much like a peat mixture does.

We mixed away until we had a nice ground mixture, perfect for seed starting.

Then my husband and girls got busy planting tomato seeds (Amish Paste, Martino’s Roma, Speckled Roman, and Italian Heirloom…all my favorite tomatoes to make tomato sauce with in August), basil seeds and Butterfly Weed seeds.  The girls were really able to contribute to the effort this year and it was awe inspiring to see those little hands working the earth, and instinctively knowing how to plant these small seeds so that they will later grow to provide us with a bounty of vegetables.

We keep our seeds in our craft room in our basement.  My husband hooks up fluorescent shop lights that can be moved up as the plants grow.  He also hooks the lights up to a timer so that the plants can get 14-16 hours of light per day.  We also put an oscillating floor fan in there with the seeds to help prevent mold or fungus from growing on the surface of the soil.