Sunday, February 20, 2011

Starting Seeds with Lily 2011

Lily and I started our seeds together last week. We have been looking at seed catalogues, garden books, and talking about our garden for weeks now. I bought the Jiffy seed kit with little peat pellets, and later we will start more seeds with some bigger containers and seed starting mix.

I find the little pellets that come with the Jiffy kit, and ones like it, are great for little kids, and they work really well for big seeds. I prefer the seed starting mix for smaller seeds, like those of kale and onion; it’s more efficient, if you will, for tiny seeds. But things like efficiency and practicality don’t necessarily play a roll in my garden at the moment, not with 2 kids and a dog. Fun plays a roll, though and that's really what this is all about for us right now, playing with seeds, dirt, and water, and spending time together. We hope to make some things grow, learn how to take care of our plants, and enjoy our delicious harvest with friends and family. But truly, for me, I hope to make it fun for Lily, (and Jasper too,) and take advantage of each awesome moment of WOW! they experience in the garden.

And Lily sure had fun starting seeds. True to form, her favorite part is the watering. She'll water anything in sight, including the seed pellets, the table, and herself. We got ourselves all set up at the dining room table. We put our seed tray over some newspaper and watered the pellets with warm water so they would grow. Then we planted the seeds and labeled each row. We have a really sunny south-facing window to put our seeds in, and we've been checking them every day. (Right now, I think I'm more excited by that than Lily.)

We started broccoli, two kinds of kale, two kinds of onions, lettuce, spinach and old nasturtium seeds because Lily loves those seeds. They seem to be just the right size for her fingers. (Oh and we started peas, of course.)

This year we are using seeds from Uprising Seeds in Bellingham, Ed Hume seeds, and some Irish Eyes Garden seeds our friend Vanessa gave us. Can’t wait to see how things grow!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Seeds A Plenty

Well January flew by; it went so fast I feel like yesterday was Christmas Eve and here we are in the second week of February. What happened in between is a blurrrrr. As usual I'm ready to start digging in the garden, and so is Lily! Daily she's been asking to go outside and play and she wants her garden tools. Unfortunately it's still damp and chilly and her little fingers get frozen faster than mine. We make a good pair.

While the winter chill hangs around we stay warm inside and dream about our garden. I was able to interest her in the seed catalogues that have been arriving. On Saturday mornings we sit on the bench with our breakfast and page through them. She tries to name each vegetable or fruit, she gets extremely proud of herself, and then we talk about whether or not we want to plant each one. As of now she has us planting everything in the catalogue.

In reality here's what we'll probably plant this year: broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale, leeks, lettuce - lots of lettuce - spinach, onions, scallions, snap peas, radishes, zucchini, patty pan, lemon thyme, parsley, mint, basil and lots of strawberries. I want to do more, but my gardening eyes are always living in a different reality than I am. Our blueberry plants are looking good. And after growing the GORGEOUS Black Swan Poppies from seed last year, I'm excited to add some new flowers to the yard, but I have no idea which ones just yet.

Some of the seeds I'll buy; I'll use a few from last year, (the ones that still germinate like my sugar snap peas - yippee!) and a friend just gave me a bunch of heirloom seeds to add to our collection. Oh I can't wait to get started. Hopefully Lily and I will start seeds this weekend, but in the meantime we'll put some flowers in our hair and keep dreaming with our catalogues and our gardening books. If you're interested in some great gardening books for your kids, you can check out my article at Happy Gardening!