Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Time to start seeds?

I took up gardening on a small scale last year. I had many failures, but I also learned a lot from the experience. One of the things I decided to do differently this year is to start the seeds sooner. Here, in Florida, we have a very long growing season, and I missed out on growing some of the cooler-weather vegetable varieties because I didn't start the seeds soon enough. Not so in 2012, I vowed.

So despite the temperature dropping at a steeper rate than it has all season, I decided to get a jump on a few of the cool-seasons veggies. Last year I used the Burpee seed-starting trays to start the seeds. The trays worked very well, but I found that it became difficult to find the trays after the first month of Spring. Instead of being dependent on Burpee this year, I purchased a paper seed pot making tool.


Yesterday afternoon, as the cold, windy weather was starting to blow in, I made 18 paper pots out of some newsprint junk mail. Not only is the pot-maker made of wood, and therefore completely recyclable, but it also helps the home gardener recycle some of the paper in her home. It's a win-win! I have also read that these paper pots are better for the growth of the seedling, since it doesn't restrict the roots the way the seed starter mesh soil pods can do.

The act of planting seeds on the coldest day of the year seems like an act of extreme hope. It's hard to believe that those tiny, dry seeds will open and grow into plants that can feed us all season. Therefore, I think it's a perfect way to bless the new year.

My Seed Pots

I sowed seeds for leeks, Nero di Toscana cabbage, Coer De Boeuf Des Vertus cabbage, Black Giant Tomatoes, Rapini Broccoli, and Natal Plums. The Natal Plums are a total experiment. I discovered this plant on an urban foraging class of Green Deane's (www.eattheweeds.com). It is a thorny bush type of plant that produces wonderfully scented white blossoms and delicious, sweet/tart flavored, fig-sized "plums" all year long. I picked a dried fruit off of the plant during the class and brought it home with me to harvest the seeds. My fingers are crossed that I can get a couple of these going in my yard. Visions of Natal Plum preserves and dried plums have captured my imagination.

Natal Plum

Everything except the tomatoes and Natal plums are cold-tolerant, so I'm hoping to have them producing before the afternoons get warm. The tomatoes I will keep indoors for as long as possible. I just want to get a few of them started early so that I can get the most out of them all spring and summer long.

If anyone from the South has any advice or recommendations for a newbie just starting to garden in Florida, I would welcome it in the comments of this blog. I scour the internet for helpful tidbits, but most gardening advice doesn't pertain to the extreme South. Thanks for the help, and I'll post an update soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment