Sunday, March 17, 2013

Seeds To Soil

Large joined together flakes of snow filled the air at wake up time this morning.  Their downward spiral held me transfixed for a considerable period of time.  Trying to focus on the motion of an individual flake was dizzying.  They quickly passed below the view afforded by the window.  Snow in March is common here but so is the need to start this year's garden.

We try to learn from our mistakes but the number of variables is large and our learning curve is flattening out.  Soil borne disease does impact some of our plants.  Our complete faith in the curative power of a working compost heap has left us with piles of mature, likely contaminated compost.  We looked to a commercial seed starting mixture to get our seedlings off to a healthy start.  Peat moss was nearly the only substance in the mix.  A bale of peat moss could be purchased for the cost of a two quart bag of seed starting mix so I bought a bale and a bag of perlite intending to mix my own.

Peat moss and stunted roots seem to go hand in hand.  In the end I combined my own soil mix with the peat moss and perlite mix in equal parts.  Some builders sand was added to improve drainage.  If my compost mix is contaminated, I have at least diluted the poison.

Accurate record keeping is a task usually ignored.  An age weakened memory now demands written notes.  A little dated note card and this picture should be enough to help me remember what was planted.  The three suppliers of our lettuce seed are favorites.  Botanical Interests seed was introduced to Becky at the Buffalo bloggers convention.  D. H. Landreth  is located near Becky's childhood home and their catalog is excellent.  Johnny's has been our major supplier for years but the transfer of the company has raised the price of their seed beyond our willingness to pay.  These old flashy trout back seeds yield a beautiful and tasty lettuce.  We hope that these seeds will still germinate.

A clear plastic dome finishes for today, this much too early planting of some seeds.  Sixteen hours of closely placed fluorescent lights will soon draw out green leaves.  Our early start will require extra care later but it really feels good to be underway.

Our other bit of garden madness is shown by these Easter lilies.  We potted up some bulbs last fall and exposed them to winter cold.  This first bud is on a plant that was pulled from the ground on January first.  We will wait to see how closely this bud opens to the special day.  If they match it will be the result of dumb luck.  Still, we will soon have some summer scent in our home.

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