Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In the event that gardening is possible this year...

So? It's like snowing right now? And sticking? I'm trying not to be upset by this, but I would like to remind you we live in Indiana, and not Central New York.

A few weeks ago as we were enjoying a fire in the wood stove after many days of not having any wood (because we ran out, for the third time), just before we had our propane tank filled for the second time this year, Bill suggested we really, really enjoy the fire because we would be missing it come July when it was still cold and there was no wood left in the world. And then we started talking about Ice Ages and how the last one may have popped into being in just six months, rather than over the course of years. Comforting.

In the event that we actually do have a summer again in our lifetime, I have started some seeds: tomato, pepper, eggplant and herbs. I'm using a soil blocker that we purchased for about $30 from Johnny's Seeds. It was easy to use, is a one-time purchase and there is nothing to throw away. It did take a little more time than filling peat pots, but not much. It was also dirtier, but I consider that a plus.

I used Pro-Mix potting soil, which I purchased at a home improvement store. I mixed the soil with a lot of water (much more than the "recipe" that came with the soil blocker suggested), until it was like peanut butter. Then, I made a big mud pie and pressed the soil blocker down over it until I could see water - dirt water! - seeping through the top of the blocker. I then moved to the tray and pushed on the handle allowing the blocks to gently drop out. Ta da!

The blocks have held up well so far. I mostly water by misting with a spray bottle, but also by pouring water on top. I've even had to transfer some blocks from one tray to another and they did fine. There was a little bit of crumbling, but nothing tragic.

The lights are a broad spectrum LED, which the plants seem to enjoy.

We bought very few seeds this year. All of our tomatoes and peppers are from seeds that were either left over from last year or seeds that we saved ourselves from plants we grew. Some of the seeds are now on their third generation, meaning we bought the seeds in 2012, grew the plants and saved the seeds, grew plants from those saved seeds in 2013 and saved new seed from them in the fall and have planted them for use this year. So far, the seeds I've saved have grown the fastest and biggest. It's my own version of natural selection - the stuff that grows well in our soil under my management practices gets saved and will hopefully continue to get better. I LOVE IT!


  1. I am now going to worry & obsess over the fact that the ice age only took 6 months to spring into being...after I recover from the shame of not knowing that.

  2. Have you given up on this blog? Or are you just so busy planting and weeding all of the plants you showed us here? Will you give an update? :-)