Poorganic Gardening: Step 1

Today I began the first step of my gardening for 2012.  I’m going to share this year’s joys and frustrations with you just as I have in previous years and I invite you to join in with tips, tricks, and strategies that will help us all to be more poorganic gardeners this year.

Here’s what I’ve done.

To save money, I am going to try to start more seeds this year rather than buying plants.  I still had seeds from last year, so I am just using those. Based on my success, I may or may not have to buy more seeds.  Even though I could plant some of these directly in the ground, I am starting them inside because I have limited space in my square foot garden and I want to make sure that I’m selecting the heartiest seedlings to transplant.

I have been collecting berry, cherry tomato, grape, and blueberry containers to plant in. I am hoping they will create kind of a greenhouse effect when closed.

First, I had to wash all the labels off of them.

Then I set the berry containers and some pots from last year on some trays that will probably end up being ruined. Alas.  They are what I have right now, so that is what I’m using.  We don’t use them very often, so at least now they are serving a purpose.  I lined the bottoms of the berry containers with a strip of newsprint to keep the soil from falling through. I didn’t have it go around the corners because I didn’t want it to bunch up.

I taped some of the containers together just to keep them balanced.

We added some seed starter soil, which I bought at Lowes.  My intention was to use the same soil composition I use in my square foot garden (1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite), but since I have had neither the time nor the inclination to drive the whole world over in search of vermiculite, we settled.

The entire process I’ve described will take you about an hour if you do it alone, but if you have “help,” it will take you about two hours. :)

Spray the soil down to dampen it. Place the seeds in the containers based on the package instructions. Write the type of seed you planted on the lid.  Cover with the directed amount of soil and dampen again.  I don’t have pictures of the actual planting because there was too much weeping, gnashing of teeth, and screaming involved for me to pick up the camera. But, I did plant them and then sprayed them again. Then I closed the lids and placed them in the sun.

At night, I’m going to bring them inside, like this.

Tomatoes and peppers get to sit on the warm oven under the light.

In the morning, I’ll move the trays out to the back screened porch, so they can soak up a little bit of this . . .

I’ve been waiting ALL winter for a little bit of sun and it’s finally here.SPRING!

There’s step one for me. I’ll be keeping you posted on how things go throughout the spring and summer.

How does your garden grow?

8 Responses to Poorganic Gardening: Step 1

  1. Tabitha March 7, 2012 at 3:05 am #

    Why didn’t I think to save my berry containers?! I feel stupid now. And jealous. I want to plant new life. But it snowed here today so… might be rushing things a little bit. Hope everything grows more than you can handle!
    Tabitha recently posted…Oh snap.My Profile

    • Katrina March 7, 2012 at 8:16 am #

      Start saving them now. By the time you are ready to plant in a few weeks, you’ll probably have enough. :)

  2. Anita March 7, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    can’t wait to get started in my new home in a few weeks. i’ll be growing tomatoes, zucchini, purple carrots, arikara yellow beans, mellons, pumpkins, greens and errrrr and whatever else i can get my hands on!

    • Katrina March 7, 2012 at 6:31 am #

      I bet you are SO excited to get planting! I’m excited for you. :)

  3. Wanda March 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    What are all the things you are planting? What grows well around here? I did a garden for my first time last spring, and only had success with a few things. I’m looking forward to reading about your gardening tips, since I have a lot to learn! I loved your idea of using the plastic containers as mini “greenhouses.” I think I’m going to try that! Thanks!

    • Katrina March 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

      The cool weather plants are lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, peas, carrots, kale, and spinach. The leafing plants (lettuce, spinach, and kale) are “easiest,” as you can harvest as soon as they leaf. The fruiting or heading plants take longer, so you might want to start with planting broccoli and cauliflower plants if this is your first year. Tomatoes, squash, peppers, cucumbers, melons, etc are warmer weather plants. Tomatoes and pepper MUST be started inside and kept warm. I am having another try at seeding them, but so far, I haven’t been successful and have always ended up buying plants. You can get a local growing chart from Renfrow Hardware or I’m sure online. I’m learning as I go too, so share all your tips and tricks. :)

  4. dee m March 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Katrina, I am excited for you that you have started your seeds now. I believe you are a bit more springy then us here in the northern area. Though we are having a spring-like day today in the 60’s. The sunshine was welcoming yesterday to melt off our 9 in. of snow from the last snow blast earlier. March gives us quite a mix of temperatures, liking the warmer days of course.

    I have been going over my garden charts from last year and previous years to see what I marked that did well and what I marked to skip for coming years. It can be a mixed bag depending on what the summer brings, cool summer, alot of heat, too much rain, etc.

    I have brought out my big bin of seeds, and have been going through to see what I shall start up next week. Right now, only hot and sweet pepper varieties, brussell sprouts and kohlarabi, as they take quite a while to set up, otherwise things will get too spinley by the time I would plant them end of May to June. Every few weeks I will start other veggie/herb seeds.

    I recently did a seed exchange with a young gal near the Appalachian area of W. VA., we did an heirloom tomato, pepper swap for heirloom rainbow popcorn, tomatoes, and pole beans. I am excited to try the popcorn, polebeans as we have never grown either before. She shared a site to go to for free heirlooms.. she referred to it as a “seed train”.. where you can select something from the person before you and offer up a list of heirloom seeds you may have for the next person to pick from. I have checked this site out, awesome. I think I will be spending some time there, lots and lots of wonderful information. It is http://www.theeasygarden.com check it out.. especially if you enjoy garden forums and trading seeds.

    I am soooooo excited to finely be able to put the garden in motion soon… and soon be able to play in the dirt….happy gardening.. :)

  5. Megan March 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Last year I started tomato plants indoors in March and transplanted them out (after hardening them for 2 weeks) in the evening on an overcast day in May. Most of them did really well, but a couple of my plants died, so I sowed seeds in their place directly in my raised garden bed in May. They came up very quickly and within a month I couldn’t tell the difference between the tomato plants that had been growing since March and the ones I had started outside in May. They all started producing tomatoes at the same time, too. Ever since then I’ve switched to completely sowing seeds outside…..I put out pea, spinach, broccoli, and cabbage seeds a month ago (That’s when my Great-Grandma says to plant those seeds here in the piedmont of NC) and carrot, lettuce, and beet a week ago. So far they’re just little babies……so here’s hoping! :) Oh, and I had to replant some things, because, as you’ve experienced with little “helpers” things don’t always go so well….I think a bunch of our seeds ended up being sown too deep! :)