I HATE PLASTIC! Oh you knew that. I did not need to SHOUT then. But I hate plastic! So I refuse to buy plastic pots for the hundreds of seedlings we grow each year. It kind of defeats the purpose you know.
Yes, well the paper pot maker does have a most unfortunate shape, but it is a very handy wee thing. I bought it off the internet a few years ago. Just google Paperpot maker (while you still can). The seedlings will dry out faster in paper pots though so be vigilant. Recycled plastic pots work too. My first father-in-law collected little stackable yoghurt pots, carefully pared a little plastic off the bottom edge with a sharp knife for drainage holes and used these year after year. They were very durable. We do not eat processed foods, or foods packed in plastic so I ask my consumer friends to collect all their cottage cheese containers and yoghurt containers for me.
Your first decision for the garden is what you want to eat. No point in growing something in your vege patch that you will not eat. Especially if space is an issue. If it is a small terrace or deck garden you will want to grow plants that you can keep snipping at as the summer goes along. For my spring deck garden I have sown a big pot of onion seeds, chives, parsley and sage. I have my rosemary and mint in huge pots inside, and I will be doing cuttings from both of these for my neighbours gardens when it warms up. The thyme is in the garden already but will grow quite merrily in a pot. In another few weeks I shall sow big pots of cool weather lettuce and spinach. Sow these seeds close together so your leaves stay clean (no splashed soil from watering)and then pick the leaves frequently. Both can take the cold and a few frosts.
The big vegetable garden takes more planning. Every year I am working towards growing enough food to feed my household for the entire year. So, all the plants will go out in succession then everything is resown and planted again, at two week intervals. This gives me lots of time to gather and process the vegetables into jars and the freezer. Plus a constant supply of fresh food. So don’t sow all your seed on one day. We have a short summer out here in Illinois. I call it short anyway. So I do need to plan.
We don’t have a glass house (yet) so by late winter all the sunny patches inside are covered in pots and trays. These are the plants that we want to have ready to set out into the vegetable garden the minute the conditions are good. At this point I am collecting my seeds. As we know John has already sown the first of his tomatoes but in a few weeks he will sow another lot.
Celery has been sown already as it can take up to three weeks to germinate, let alone grow. The lavender seed is in wet media in the fridge for six weeks. The onion seeds for the big garden have been sown as well.
My last frost is mid April, so the majority of my seeds will be sown inside in late February. These will be for the spring garden. Cabbage. Brocolli. Lettuce (straight into the ground).
The summer garden is another list. We will get to that. Most of these will be sown outside in pots or directly into the gardens.
Our list of flowers for bees is another list too. But I have been reminded by Claire at Promenade Plantings to sow my sweet peas early. (Sweet peas are lovely in a terrace garden if you have a good railing for them to climb up). And Joanna has already sown her pansies!
And look at the new character in my kitchen. A lovely kind friend sent me a present. Isn’t it beautiful. No, not the old parmesan grater or the basket of fresh eggs or John’s great grandmothers hard working coffee grinder. It is the pasta maker. A beautiful, old, heavy, hand cranked, Italian pasta maker. It is so shiny! I am so spoilt. I spent quite some time in the Bartolini Kitchens blog yesterday, finding the family pasta dough recipe and studying the process. I will begin to teach myself how to make really good fresh pasta today. Because look at this weather.
Here I am up in my winter loft studio planning the spring garden and it is snowing outside and getting colder. 19F now. I did the rounds of the farmy first today so that I could close all the doors against the snow, so please excuse me for posting late. Not one animal thanked me, they just watched their doors close with resignation. And went back to munching.