Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Seeds! It's that time again!

My fingers are beginning to get that itch to play in the dirt.  We've had lots of gray, cold, snowy weather here and I am ready for spring breezes and sunshine. I say that knowing full well that snow is predicted for today.

However, I have an oasis!  My little greenhouse. Josiah has been getting it all cleaned up and ready to work in.  He has also been on a seek and destroy mission against the Black Widow spiders that like to share my little oasis.  I think they just look evil..{{shudder}}!

Josiah took inventory of our seeds (if you haven't done that yet, now is the time!) and we picked a few new things to grow this year. We placed our seed order and are happily anticipating a package in the mail.  Josiah will be mixing up some potting soil this week and we will be off and running.

According to my garden calendar, it is time to begin and I'm really glad.  For about two weeks it will look like our greenhouse is filled with flats of dirt - but the first day that we go down and see little green sprouts is always very exciting!

About the middle of March, when I open the door, a sea of green and healthy plants will greet me!  It looks like summer, it smells like summer and it feels like summer in my greenhouse - even if there is snow on the ground outside!  All I have to do is survive the cold walk from my house to my greenhouse!  My greenhouse is my happy place ;)

In my perpetual calendar, under February, I share our recipe for germinating mix. This is what we use to start all of our seeds.  I also give you a list of what to start this month. I love my calendar!  Remember, I first made it for me! I keep a copy in my greenhouse and follow it so that I don't forget something.

I can taste the broccoli, cabbage and lettuces that we will be planting next week.  I'll also be starting some perennial herbs for my herb garden and of course flowers!  I love flowers! They have so many uses, medicine, beauty, food....and more!

Josiah is already anticipating his trips to the Farmer's Market and the income he will have this spring.  Our farmer's market opens in April and he plans to be ready!

We choose to grow mainly heirloom seeds, and encourage you to do the same, so that we can save our seed from year to year.  Although we don't yet save all of our seed, we add a little more each year. Our goal is to be completely self-sufficient in this area.  Another reason we grow mainly heirlooms, is that they were bred, for the most part, for flavor.  Unlike today where plants are bred so that their fruit lasts long on grocery store shelves, can travel 3,000 miles across country etc.  Taste took a back seat in Big Ag's breeding programs...you know, I'm not even sure it got in the car. This explains why the tomatoes in the grocery store are beautiful but taste like cardboard.  Heirloom tomatoes - the taste will astonish you...trust me!

When we go over our seeds, we try to make sure that we have enough to plant for two years. With the crazy economic times and with Monsanto's goal of controlling all the seeds, we like to have a little cushion.  We encourage you to do the same.  We also like to try a few new things.  Normally I pour over the seed catalogs, but this year I was busy trying to finish my calendar so I passed that on to Josiah.  He came up with quite a few new things that he wanted to try.  I asked him to include one thing, Abraham Lincoln tomatoes.

I read an article on these tomatoes and I wanted to give them a whirl. Other than that, I am looking forward to all of our old standards.  I can't wait for fresh lettuce from the garden again!

If you are new to gardening, or feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out what you need to do, you might want to read about my new calendar.  Consider it your gardening companion, there to hold your hand and direct you every step of the way!

Leave me a note and tell me what your favorite tried and true plants are and what new things ya'll will be trying this year!

Wishing you dirt under your fingernails!


  1. Hi! I am in TN as well, and came across your blog a couple of weeks ago and look forward to your updates! I was wondering where you are in TN, and what Farmer's Market you go to. I am in Knoxville.

  2. I am north of Knoxville about 90 minutes and we go to the Greeneville Farmer's Market. Thanks for dropping by :)

  3. Hi Cheri,
    Must be nice having that greenhouse. My "greenhouse" is an electric blanket on top of my bureau with a shop light over the trays. It works but I can't do too many plants at a time. I'm going to plant my petunias as soon as I get my starter mix.

    This will be our third year gardening. We prefer the heirloom seeds, too, but last year didn't have money to mail order so we got what we could at the feed store. Most of the seeds did terribly. What worked best for us were the snap peas, green beans, and cherry tomatoes. We still haven't found a good large tomato. Cukes did great the first year but with last year's seeds, the yield wasn't worth the work.

    This year Dwayne is going to set up something for me so I can have an herb garden at waist height (can't bend because of my back) and he'll do the rest of the gardening in the raised beds. What we're going to try new this year is winter squash... probably buttercup. We love it and use it like crazy so we'd like to harvest enough to store for next winter. The stuff in the grocery store is just awful, and guess where it comes from? Mexico, like almost all of our produce. Tasteless, and who knows what their growing practices are? Okay, looks like I could get started on a rant here, so I will wish you a blessed day!

  4. Cheri...i LOVE the garden calendar. I was sooo overwhelmed by what to plant, when to plant, if to plant seeds or buy sets. The calendar is a life-saver! I'm sure there will be lots of questions as I go along, but, at least, I'll know WHAT to ask the nursery people and my friends who garden. Thanks sooo much for passing along your wealth of knowledge. Your calendar will bless our table, our canned goods shelf, our budget, and our family! The best $20 ever spent on "food."

  5. We're building a greenhouse, well its built we just need to put the plastic on. I'm trying to figure it all out, how do you heat it? Or do you heat it? We are in the NW part of SC so our weather is probably a tad bit warmer than yours. Happy gardening! Blessings, Tina

  6. Hi Tina!
    I don't heat it unless the temp drops enough I think it will kill the plants. Then I put a propane tank (grill size) in the greenhouse with a burner attachment - you can get them at Walmart....looks like to round disks that stick up. They heat up and keep it warm enough that plants don't freeze. Although this year it is much colder than normal....or maybe this is the new normal!


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