Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gardening- Starting from Seeds

I finally decided to start a garden this year. I was playing with the idea when we moved in to our it current apartment back in September. By the end of May I had bought some seeds at the Dollarama (I didn’t want to dish out a lot on the first try), but still hadn’t planted anything. I was procrastinating...

The first week of June I took the plunge, because I had waited long enough!. I went to buy little pots to start the seeds and started my garden. I know what you are thinking, I started it WAY too late for anything to come of it, even for the zone 5a weather we get here in Montreal (which has been really warm and sunny, without too much rain fall, btw; one of the best summers I can ever remember!). And you are right, for some things.

I’ve still learned a LOT from my practice garden, as I call it. Let me show you.

I'm kicking myself in the butt for not taking step by step pictures, though! Wasn't really planning on being able to share it...

Starting from seeds

I started my seeds in little pots, at the beginning of June. I didn't start directly in the garden because I didn't have the space ready.

Some seeds grew really fast, others were really slow. I got my seeds at the Dollarama (3 packs for 1$) and wasn't sure if I should completely trust them, so almost all my seeds I made 3 holes per pot and put 3 seeds in there. It'll be nice to know for next year what I need to start extra early and how much I should plant!

When I planted the seeds, I used moist soil, but when it came to watering, all the seeds just floated up and I was so sad! After that I watered by placing the pots in a water basin so the water would absorb through the soil instead. That worked very well, and that’s what I did about every 2 days, or as needed, until I transplanted.

Preparing the garden

I had to get some sort of enclosure before planting anything, I didn’t just want to do it in the middle of the yard without any delineation seeing as it’s a common space for the apartment building. I used pallet wood to build myself a small square (6’ by 6’).

Then I turned and worked the soil inside the square area. It wasn’t very good soil, except for the spot where we had done our compost hole for the last 6 months, and there were a lot of rocks. I added some garden soil I got at the grocery store on top, too. I got 6 bags for 9$, but I really should have gotten more while my parents were over (and hence had transportation)!

3 weeks after seeding I transplanted the seeds in the garden. Some of them had grown quite a lot during that time, others... not so much.

Seedlings

Cucumbers did the best, and even though I knew I should kill some seedlings off, I just couldn’t. So I have a LOT of cucumbers (probably 10+ plants). I can't be afraid to kill the weeker ones next year! And maybe plant less of these since almost all seeds gave me a seedling.

cucumbers cukes seedlings 3 weeks old

The yellow beans were the first ones to sprout, really early on (like less than 1 week). I came back one day from school and I had a 3 inch seedling! But in the end I only got 2 viable seedlings. So I need to plant more; this was the only type I only planted 1 seed per hole.

yellow beans seedlings 3 weeks old

Lettuce did about as well as the yellow beans, which is I got 3 plants in the end, but took longer to sprout. They started out as little itty bitty things, and more on the yellow side rather than green. Everyone was telling me they grow fast, so I'm thinking I did something wrong...? I deninetely need to plant more next year, and maybe different variety.

lettuce seedlings 3 weeks old

Next, I planted some broccolis. We like broccoli quite a bit, so I was hoping to have a lot and maybe even freeze some. They grew moderately fast and I got a good number out of the seeds I planted. I think they are super cute at this stage!

broccoli seedlings 3 weeks old

It was a bad idea to start carrots in an individual pot and planning to transplant. They did fine, but they were hard to transplant! My bf did a better job than me, he managed to remove the carrots in one big clump, but now they are growing all bunched up... I was trying to transplant them all individually!

Next year, I will just put them directly in the garden patch, and plant some every couple of weeks for 2 months or so, I think. I got too lazy to try and plant from seeds directly in the garden this year.

carrots seedlings 3 weeks old

The last plant I tried was bell peppers. Even though the package said to start the seedlings indoors 4-8 weeks in advance, I started them in June. I KNEW I wouldn’t get anything from them from the moment I planted them, but I wanted to test how they would grow.

They took about 2 weeks and a half to see anything, maybe 3 weeks. You can see they are starting to sprout at this point. I thought they were all dead seeds, but then I saw some green things peeking through, and was super happy! Because they were so small, I was afraid to transplant them at this stage. Instead I tried transplanting just 1 to compare.

I'm curious, has anyone ever tried to start bell pepper plants from the seeds from fresh bell peppers? I could save myself 33cents...

bell pepper seedlings 3 weeks old

Flower Seeds

I tried planting a few different flowers. Same way I did the vegetable seeds.

These are gonna be Marigolds.

marigold seedlings 3 weeks old

These are Morning Glories.

morning glory seedlings 3 weeks old

And these are Stock Flowers.

stock flower seedlings 3 weeks old

I realize now flower seeds need to be started WAY WAY in advance, like the peppers...

Building a Fence

The next morning after I planted, I could see the squirrels were getting at my plants, so I had to build a fence, and fast! The best option I found at the dollar store was chicken wire fencing, which I could hold up with branches, or bamboo sticks once I could find some.

I like this way because even if it’s not high, the squirrels can’t climb it without falling over (they don’t try as far as I can tell). And I’ve never seen them jump over. I think they might be finding holes between the pallet wood and the wire fence at the bottom, though, because I am seeing something that is nibbling on some plants, which are not bugs. I was suppose to get a stapler from my dad, which would close all holes, but I forgot last time I was there.

Other thing is that it’s quite see through so you can still see your vegetation from afar. I LOVE admiring my garden from my balcony! The only downside I see really is that they advertised it as galvanized, but it is not. There is already rust after 2 months of use. I might have to get new one next year... Not that it's very expensive, I got 4 rolls (6 feet each) for 8$, but it's no fun.

I'll keep the pictures of what my garden looks like now for an other day, I think this is getting pretty long. If you've started a garden, have any experience and want to share, I'd love to hear it. Link to a post if you want, too!

Edit: Want to see how my garden grew after a month? That post is up!



I party at these parties.

5 comments:

  1. You are inspiring me to organize my pantry and start my own garden. I can't believe how ambitious you were. I am impressed! I can't wait to see pictures of your actual garden.

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  2. I wish I have a place for my little garden.. Maybe on my balcony, but winter here is too cold, it wouldn't survive :( plus, my cat likes to destroy plants!

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  3. wow you started so many little seedlings!!

    when i tried to grow lettuce on my lanai they were really slow starters, but once they had 4-5 leaves, i clipped a couple to feed to my rabbits and then they exploded!! after that they just started growing like crazy, i had 3 growing at the same time and my bunnies had little salad every few days!

    if you want some instant gratification try some wheat grass or cat grass, they start sprouting in just a few days.

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  4. So much goodness Gen! I have never planted broccoli before.. but I would love to try it!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!

    ReplyDelete

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