Monday, February 1, 2010

Finally!

February is finally here and I'm finally able to start sowing my seeds indoors! I've been doing a lot of research on when to plant and have even created myself a Google Calendar to keep track. I'm actually already using a google calendar for appointments and scheduling, so adding my garden's schedule was a piece of cake! I even labeled the garden activities in a green color so they pop off the page at me!
(This is not my calendar, but you get the gist of the layout!)

Between reading articles on growing different vegetables published by NC State University (Go Pack!) and reading the back of seed packets, I've been able to determine the optimal time for me to plant different veggies. I also found this website on 5 Acres & A Dream's blog, which would have saved a ton of time and research! You find your last date of frost, plug in the number, and Voila! you've got a planting calendar!

So today was the first day of my indoor sowing adventure. I've never done it. RNH has started some seeds indoors, but since he's not an avid gardener, they always seem to get forgotten about. Me, on the other hand... I've already picked out my south-facing window (I read this is the best sunlight for sowing indoors), and I've already got the table set up with the supplies ready to go!

Today I began with a tray full of 50 square fiber pots. I put the Organic Jiffy Starter Mix into each pot and then watered thoroughly, letting the water soak into the dirt for a while. A little while later I returned and began with my first vegetable of the year! Onions!


I've never grown onions, or started them indoors, so this should be an adventure! I am trying out Burpee's Granex Hybrid Onion which is supposed to have a sweet and mild taste. We'll see!

Using a paint brush I pushed a few of the tiny onion seeds below the dirt's surface in each pot. After I did all 50 fiber pots, I watered again and topped off the tray with the plastic covering. I guess I'll have some thinning to do when the onions begin to grow.

I read that you don't need to provide much, if any, sunlight for onions until they sprout. Once they sprout you remove the plastic greenhouse covering and let the sprouts grow. When they begin to grow over 3 inches, you cut them back. Cutting them back continuously makes them concentrate on growing the bulb, not growing the stem. This also helps them become stronger when it comes to moving them outdoors. As it nears time to harden off the onions, you're to let them grow. The stems need to be half the width of a pencil before you transplant them into the harsh outdoors.
Once they're ready to go outdoors, I'm estimating about 40 onion plants to be transplanted. According to the garden map that NCSU has created (of which I'm following) I will have two 10 foot rows for planting onions. I am estimating planting 2 to 4 plants per foot in one row to create large onion bulbs. In the second row I am estimating 4 to 6 bulbs per foot for medium-sized bulbs. We'll see which ones we think taste better and concentrate on that next year. I've got to remember to take notes!
I hope I'm able to follow all of these directions for each of the different veggies! I guess that's when my trusty garden journal will come in handy!

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