Sunday, March 2, 2008

When to plant

I started planting flower seeds today. I've been itching to get started but know from experience that starting things to early isn't a good idea. So I checked my planting log from last year and I started stocks and perennials about the first of March. So today I planted two flats of stocks and a couple of small flats, actually reused plastic meat trays, of perennials, some lovely tall fall asters, Aster "Composition", a couple of varieties of primroses and a species rose I want to try. The asters and stocks are cut flowers, the rest for fun. The small flats are put into plastic bags and brought into the house and put on a shelve behind the stove until they germinate. then they will be moved out into the greenhouse. As much as I deplore plastic garbage and try to avoid as much as possible, we do reuse an awfully lot of it. From the small meat trays that are just perfect for a dozen or so seedlings, to plastic bread bags to seal in moisture, to cut up strips of yogurt containers for labels.

One of the questions people often ask is how to know when to plant things. Well, the only real answer is experience in your own area, but of course, no one starts out with experience. So in that case ask someone who knows and if there isn't someone around or even if there is read, read, read, read, seed packets, seed catalogues, books on gardening and on plants, gardening magazines. and then just plunge in and see what happens. In the garden, there is always next year and that is where experience comes from. It does help a lot to keep a record of when you plant, when things come up, how different varieties did for you this year, etc. and things should be tried for a couple of years because the weather is never exactly the same. We're always trying new lettuces and new peppers and tomatoes looking for varieties that will do well in our particular situation which differs even from a friend's farm a couple of miles away in terms of air drainage, soil type, water.

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