|Jackson watering the seedlings|
'Tis the season to roll up your sleeves and start digging in the dirt. Spring is finally here, and that means it's gardening time! I've been sowing seeds indoors for a couple weeks now, based upon this seed starting chart found on yougrowgirl.com. Lettuce, pepper, eggplant, and tomato seedlings have already emerged in a combination of Jiffy peat pots and cardboard tubes from rolls of toilet paper. Last spring, I used only organic potting mix because I couldn't find organic seed starting mix. I had a lot left over, so this year I've planted some seeds in regular organic potting mix and some in the organic seed starting mix. I'm curious to see what difference, if any, it makes. I had very good success with the potting mix last year. This year, seeds planted in potting mix seem to be sprouting just as well as those in the seed starting mix. I think next year I will be brave and try making my own seed starting mix and see how that compares. Just as last year, I'm using mostly clementine crates to contain all my seedlings, and they are perfect for the job -- sturdy yet lightweight and easy to move as needed for watering and sunshine.
This week, we'll be starting basil seeds indoors and planting spinach seeds out in the garden. We seem to have everything we need -- compost, organic garden soil, good existing dirt, nice weather, seeds -- except the time to plant. Between everyday work tasks, potty training our son, OB appointments for my current pregnancy (our second baby), home projects, and more, we are keeping awfully busy these days. I'm hoping for a return to our normal, more relaxed schedule soon.
With Jackson turning 3 in a couple of months, he has become very interested in learning and helping and loves to be given small jobs that make him feel included. I try to find ways he can help me cook, clean, sort laundry, or whatever we're doing. Gardening has proved to be another great activity for him to learn, play, and help Mommy, and I'm so happy to be able to include him this year. He has helped me mix soil with water, fill up pots with dirt, plant seeds, and water them as needed. He talks to the "seedling babies" and delights in seeing how they've grown. He helped my husband rake and clean up the garden and discovered lots of wiggly earthworms in the dirt. We talked about how the worms help our garden grow, and we always talk about what types of vegetables will grow from which seedlings. I can't wait to go through the transition of indoor planting to outdoor planting and then harvesting with him. He may not remember these activities down the road, but they are so good for his development and so much fun, too.
Here's what my gardening schedule looks like for spring/summer 2012:
This week: Plant spinach seeds in garden and start basil seeds indoors
3/29-4/05: Transplant lettuce to garden
4/05-26: Start cucumber seeds indoors
4/12-19: Plant carrot seeds in garden, start watermelon seeds indoors
4/12-26: Start zucchini seeds indoors
5/3-10: Transplant cucumbers to garden
5/3: Transplant tomatoes to garden, move basil container outdoors
5/10: Plant green bean seeds in garden, transplant peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and watermelon to garden
These dates are approximate and will vary as needed. Also, I will likely stagger some of these plantings, such as the beans, this year to avoid an all-at-once harvest like we experienced last year.
I'll update on our garden progress as it unfolds. Stay tuned for more gardening adventures (and hopefully more adorable pictures of my toddler in the garden)!