Monday, February 1, 2010

Snow and Seeds


Despite the fact that, once again, our lawn is blanketed with snow and the city has been at a standstill, my calendar for February 1 called for three things to happen. 1. Top up the oil on the car (it never makes it to the next oil change without needing a little extra oil, not that the mechanics can find a leak no matter how much they charge me) 2. give Nigella her heartworm medicine and flea and tick drops and 3. start the broccoli seeds.

Yep, school may have been cancelled due to snow and the temperatures may have been in the teens this weekend, but I'm starting my summer garden. I know, it's nuts. But since the last frost around here averages April 15 and the broccoli I'm planting needs starting 9-10 weeks before that, well, that would be today, so start the seeds I did.

In the renovation of my little studio, which I'm starting to feel is a bit of an obsession (our miter saw was ruined by the flood so I couldn't cut the molding for the windows unless I did it by hand with a hacksaw, so I did it my hand with a hacksaw. Why? Because I'm impatient and I want it DONE!) I hung strips of that ugly but functional bracket hanger on either side of one of the windows with the idea that I could have a little seedling propagation center in here which, besides being a good out-of-the-way place to start seeds, gives me an excuse to keep this room heated so I don't have to open the doors and wait a half hour for it to heat up every time I want to come in and work. At some point the idea is to paint the strips brackets and shelves with trim paint but since the seeds went in the dirt today, the shelves went up without paint. Not ideal, but like I said, I'm impatient. (ack, the window is also not scraped! Terrible!)

I'm also cheap. Cheap as in, I did by a set of jiffy pots with a plastic cover so Evie could see the magic of compressed soil mixed with water and found some other put-them-right-in-the-soil pots on sale, but other than that I've been collecting yogurt pots, sour cream tubs and toilet rolls for the past few weeks to start the 20 or so different varieties of seeds that I ordered from here and here. Where did the broccoli end up, well, as a matter of fact, in an egg carton.

OK, so I have no idea if this will work at all but I had this idea that if you planted seeds in empty egg shells they would eventually burst through the bottom and carry on growing. And since I cant really line a row of egg shells up on the shelf and I'm not sure when exactly this bursting through of the shells will occur and thus need some back up containment, the shells are nestled in an old egg carton.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will work brilliantly, because we ALWAYS have empty egg shells, being the crazy big egg eaters that we are, and also because I'd love to be able to wallow in my cheapness by starting all my seedlings in egg shells in the future. Plus, it looks cute.

3 comments:

  1. Ack! I just lost my whole comment!
    Here goes again...
    I'd punch a little hole in the bottom of the shell to encourage the root, but otherwise it's a cute idea!
    We couldn't use it because our soil is so alkaline that we can't put eggshells in the compost.
    I'm curious about the toilet paper tubes, though...

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  2. The toilet tube thing is pretty common. You just stand them on end in a tray (like a meat tray from the grocery store or something like it) fill them with soil and plant your seeds then when the plants are ready they go straight into the soil. Are you guys gardening? You should read this blog, it's pretty fun http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/

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  3. I'd suggest cracking the egg shells before you put them in the ground, I doubt the roots could get through the egg otherwise. But that's easy enough to do, just tap it on something hard before you put the seedling in the ground.

    egg shells are made of calcium carbonate, the same thing that makes up caliche. Ask any Arizona gardener about caliche...

    And you might be better off using the egg crates directly. Treat them as the equivalent of tiny peat pots. Maybe score them before you plant 'em in the ground, to make sure the roots can get through.

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