February 2018 Blog



Let Your Home and Garden “Feel the Love” this February

We’ve made it past the hectic holidays and managed to get through a frigid January. As we enter into the shortest – and sometimes the cruelest – month in upstate New York, our thoughts turn to the turmoil of what to do for that special someone on Valentine’s Day. In our haste to bonbons, baubles, and bubbly, maybe we ought to stop for a minute and consider showing our home and garden some “love.” In the process, we could be doing something that puts us on the path to spring and all its glorious renewal of life all around.

You’re probably asking, “Where is she going with this?” Well, I’ll tell you. This year, why don’t you give each other – and your home – the gift of an indoor seedling garden? It’s not hard to do, it doesn’t take a lot of time or space.  And it will snap you out of the mid-winter blues as you watch in wonder at how tiny little seeds are magically transformed under your watchful care.

My friend started her own indoor garden last year for the first time, and it truly became her labor of love.   This year, I’m going to follow her lead and start my own garden.  It was great to see the greens pop up and, by the time she moved the “budding” garden outdoors, she already had some lovely baby lettuce. By starting early, she was way ahead of the game by the time May finally arrived.

Because we have such a short growing season in this area, it makes even more sense to get going early. But a word of caution: unless you’re planning on having a very large outdoor garden, don’t go crazy planting too many seeds….as they grow, you may not have enough room for all the plants in your outdoor garden.

 

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

·         Seed packets;

·         Indoor seedling containers (she used individual, biodegradable seed holders, as well as miniature “greenhouses,” which were amazing);

·         A large table;

·         Access to natural sunlight;

·         An overhead lamp with a bright lightbulb for additional warmth and light;

·         Good quality planting soil and compost;

·         Popsicle sticks for labeling your plants (Popsicles are good in every season). 

Here’s some pictures of what she used last year to get started.

 

My friend recalls that right after she planted the seeds, we had a long stretch of dismal, gray weather. Having the bright light really helped get things growing. It also helped to move the plants around during the day to capture the sunlight (you don’t have to do this…but…if you can…why not?)

Within no time, tiny little sprouts began to pop up from the soil – it was a wonder to behold!

As your sprouts continue to grow, you’ll want to begin dividing them and putting them in larger containers, but this won’t be necessary for a while – unless of course, you’ve thrown too many seeds in and your tiny plants begin to get too crowded – a mistake, I understand, many make.

By the time spring arrives, you’ll be able to move your hardy little plants to a sunroom or even the outdoor porch during the day. Just make sure to bring them in at night until we are safely past frost season and into the spring/summer planting season.

By the end of last summer, she had a plentiful supply of tomatoes – heirloom, cherry and yellow. She was also able to harvest lettuce for almost the entire summer, and little cucumbers – while very weirdly shaped – were delicious additions to salads.  She also had a plethora of delicious peas, beans, radishes and beets. (I think she drowned her zucchini early on by over-watering them.)


 

My thumbs are definitely less than green….but……if my friend can do it….I can too and…so can you!    Starting your own indoor garden in the winter is a wonderful way to “show some love” to your home and the people who share it with you. You’ll have the satisfaction of growing your own wholesome foods and you’ll have a beautiful outdoor garden to boot!