Saturday, 30 March 2013

Planting the indoor starters - my urban garden

So as some of you may recall, the DH and I bought our first home in November (YAY!!!!!)  Obviously, I've noticed several perks of moving from a one-bedroom downtown apartment to a detached single family.  A big perk being that we have multiple unused rooms to do with as we please.  Another perk is the fact that we have an absolutely enormous backyard, perfect for a brand new urban garden!

The problem with the latter point is that there is still like three feet of snow in the yard, despite thoroughly epic melting that's been going on over the last few days. But that's where the spare rooms come in.  Having a spare room where I can leave the door shut is a great opportunity to try indoor starting several of my garden plants.  This was an option that was completely unavailable to me in the apartment, where the best I could do was a scraggly container garden grown mostly in shade that rarely produced anything beyond lettuce and peas.

5-gallon pails, not the greatest decor...

And so yesterday I began the 2013 gardening season by planting my fabulous indoor starters!

Selecting my crops (OMG I love calling them "crops", it makes me feel like I'm a successful gardener already!) was a lot of fun.  I had a selection of store-bought seeds remaining from last year, but I wanted to try my hand at some full-sun plants and indoor starters that I have never had the chance to do before.  On a recommendation, I also purchased some heirloom seeds from Heritage Harvest Seed.  They are a great company in Manitoba which sells harder to find and heirloom varieties of many plants, especially tomatoes.  They were even nice enough to send me a free extra pack of tomato seeds with my order!  The nice thing about the heirlooms is that it not only encourages biodiversity and preserves rare plant species, but it also allows you to select the specific characteristics you want in a plant (black peppers, anyone?) with the detailed descriptions provided.

My collection of seeds.

The plants that I have indoor started are: yellow de parma onions, parsley, marigolds, shasta daisies, bell peppers, forme de coeur tomatoes, and early annie tomatoes.  I will also be planting other veggies like spinach, swiss chard and peas in my garden, but these don't require the early start and can go straight into the ground later.

At any rate, I decided to go with peat pots for my plants, in two sizes.  The smaller "strips" of pots I used for the parsley, shasta daisies and marigolds.  The larger round pots I used for the tomatoes, peppers and onions.  Apparently, one is supposed to start all these things in super-small pots or those little round soil pellets and then transplant them up to this size later.  But to me that just sounded like buying more stuff.  So I am taking a "risk", but I don't think it'll be a big deal.

The supplies, putting it all together on the back step.

Despite the term "indoor starters", for the love of god put the dirt into the pots outdoors.  I have no idea how you could possibly do this inside without making a horrendous mess.  Filling the pots, soaking them and planting my seeds took about 2 hours from start to finish.  I put three or four seeds in each pot, depending on the plant.  After they start to sprout I will only keep the strongest and cut back the others.


So after all that I brought them in the house and put them into what is now known as "the plant room".  I've tagged the strips and pots so that I know what I've planted in each until the plants start coming up and it's more obvious. The plant room is a small, south facing room so I think it will be a perfect place for the plants to get lots of warm sunlight and start growing.

I am very excited for my plants to sprout.  Further posts on my gardening adventure will be forthcoming, stay tuned!

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