Sunday, February 15, 2015

Gardening - A journey in patience, caring and serenity

   I consider a small garden patch, a good book, and a four-footed companion all necessary ingredients for a peaceful life.
   In years past, I’ve tended over 100 rose bushes, cutting gardens, veggie gardens, etc. Though I’ve scaled back, I still enjoy growing flowers and a few veggies from seeds and tending them in my small greenhouse.
     Over the next several weeks, I’ll detail the simplest way I’ve found to start veggie plants and grow beautiful flowers. 
     Even with a small budget, your vegetable plants and flowers can look spectacular. Whether you’re planning a quarter acre vegetable garden or just some flowers for pots on your front porch, it can be done easily with a minimum of fuss.   
     For some folks, even those who despise winter, this time of year can inflame passion, inspire dreams, and stimulate their imagination. Yep, it’s all about the dirt. There’s no need to point out the benefits (both medical and physical), of gardening. Spend an afternoon in someone’s garden and you’ll see for yourself. It can be provide hours of mental relaxation and burn a few calories to boot.

     Find a gardening club and you can swap seeds for more variety and savings. Facebook has gardening groups.
     Even as winter winds whistle around the eaves of my home and snow is piling up outside my door, I’m busy inside—planning my next garden. Fortunate enough to live in a very rural area, I find it still has a few drawbacks. Unless and sometimes in spite of special precautions, the local deer population view the gardens surrounding my home as a possible smorgasbord, but that’s a topic for a later date.
     Once I’ve decided what seeds I’ll use, I gather my supplies: coffee filters, small plastic baggies, permanent marker, spray water bottle. Most of my veggie seeds are and flower seeds are started this way.
    There’re probably a thousand different ways to start seeds indoors. Personally, I prefer this simple and easy method. If you google seed germination requirements, (ex. N.C. Cooperative Extension), you’ll find charts detailing your selection’s needs for light, water, etc. As long as your seed don’t require light for germination, I use the coffee filters.
     To start, cut your coffee filters in half. Lightly mist one half with water. Place your seeds on the filter, cover with the other half, lightly mist, fold in half then place in plastic baggie and label with type seed/date.
     For a heat source, I place the seeds on a small table near my pellet stove. A window sill works fine too as long as there’s not a draft. They germinate a lot faster with a bit of warmth. Tomatoes are ready for the soilless mix in two-five days. Squash is fast too. Even the tinier seeds can be germinated this way, though you may need a pair of tweezers to pick them up. Don’t let them dry out, a light misting every day or so will keep them slightly moist. On the other hand don’t get them sopping wet. You’ll drown them.
     For those seeds that need light to germinate, I start with my soilless mix (several inches deep), in either a meat tray I’ve rinsed, or some other small container. Using a pencil, I create a small furrow in the mix and deposit my seeds - don’t cover. Mist with water and cover with plastic wrap…Place near the heat source. You can check them every day for moisture/germination. 
     Once the seeds sprout, pop them in a soilless mix and several inches under a grow light. I buy my lights (48 in shop lights), from the local big box store.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your thoughts