Ready, Set, Grow!

I’ve been obsessed these last few weeks (if you’re reading this, you may have noticed) with all things gardening.  Fair warning, I’m going to keep this obsession going all summer and early fall, but I promise to write about other things too!

This past week I set up my former sewing table as a seed starting station, complete with:

  • grow lights from Bustan’s (we bought the first one 2 years ago, and then added a second this year),
  • invested in reusable self-watering seed starters (I don’t love that they are styrofoam or something) from Lee Valley, but I do love that they have a watering mat that feeds water up from the reservoir and a floating indicator to tell you when the water level is low, and are sturdy enough to use many times over.
  • light timers from Canadian tire (not visible)

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I also plotted out my raised beds along with my seed inventory list – the “y” indicates whether I have the seed in my supply, and the “x” marks each year that I’ve planted that particular seed. The raised beds, A – H, are divided by the amount of sun they get during the day.  Right now I think bed C will be reserved for asparagus, and a corner in H for rhubarb. Then it was time to get those seeds started!

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In total I filled 36 little spots with seeds, including 6 kinds of tomatoes, some peppers, eggplant (another first).  I have posted a list – more on that later in this post. This is the first time I’m trying to grow flowers from seed, we didn’t have the space to start veggies and flower seeds before. I ordered Camelot Foxglove seeds from Swallowtail Gardens – they come in tiny vials and are pelleted so they look like teeny weenie gold balls  – like golden pin heads.  You can see the little yellow flecks below, and in the centre square, less than 3 days after planting…it’s SPROUTED!  We’ll see if I can keep them alive long enough for them to grow into flowering plants! These seeds are the rose, white and lavender varieties.

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Wee wee foxglove sprouts!

Outside, I’ve been obsessively checking the planting areas front and back for signs of growth from the perennials we planted last fall.  To protect against some of the cooler nights with risk of frost, we’ve been re-purposing our many mason jars as instant greenhouses, covering each tender plant with a jar, propping them up slightly with sticks to allow moisture to escape, and then taking the jars off in the morning. I’ve also been applying a light dusting of chili powder around the beds and fencing off some of the most vulnerable areas with ready-made wire fencing and I admit, allowing the dog to poop front and centre once on each planting area, to keep the legions of squirrels and rabbits away from the buffet of green shoots being served up on a platter. Cross your fingers.

Finally, FINALLY with some warmer weather, things have really gotten going – look:

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Gypsy Girl Crocus
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Hosta – I’ve never seen them come up purple before, so cool!
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Ostrich Plume Astilbe – the leaves look like hands when they first come up.

One of the plants I’m most excited about is the one I know nothing about – the Cinnamon Snow Hellebore I bought last year after reading Hellebore, Huh on You Grow Girl. I had read that they are early bloomers and will often show up when there’s still snow on the ground but due to the winter of the. most. snow. ever, they couldn’t make it through the snow, but as soon as it all melted, they did indeed show that they were growing little buds. I was so happy to see them, as I wasn’t sure anything would have survived the deep freeze! They are all planted in the front yard, nearest the house and sheltered from the wind.  They are also placed so that after they bloom, their fading foliage will be camouflaged by the emerging hostas and astilbes which come up later. Until then, the hellebore is front stage where they are indeed the early bloomers. Two of them are going a little slower than the third which gets a bit more warmth from the sun and as a result, is all magic right now. I love it.

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Helleborus Cinnamon Snow

In keeping with my gardening obsessions, I’ve started a separate page for the Garden Chronicles – my gardening notebook of sorts.  If you’re curious about what we’ve already planted and what I’m going to plant, there’s a growing list of both vegetables and flowers on the page, along with some of my favorite garden resources and supplies. Items labelled 2014, have either been started as seed, or will be in the ground after the last risk of frost is past. Once the garden gets going, I’ll be making notes on what I won’t plant again (last year’s lesson – I will never plant crystal apple cucumbers again. All it gave me was a cucumber beetle mating show).  Like the garden, it will be work in progress. I’ll mention updates here and there, and if you’re into that kind of thing, I hope you’ll visit the page and have a conversation with me there.

What’s growing in your backyard or window sill?

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One thought on “Ready, Set, Grow!

  1. So exciting to see new growth pushing through, right? Our rhubarb is busy expanding and, of course, the freakin’ weeds are busiest of all.

    Great job with the grow op, T !!

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