That's such a great idea, Jaimee! I think I will do that. My parents were interested in a few things, so I could give them some of my starts.
Gardening! - Page 6
I was always ecstatic to get extra starts from people that grew too many, so I'm sure you can find homes for them! :) Also, the plots you have designated for things like peppers, tomatoes, squash, and melon that won't go in until mid-May or so can be used this month and next to grow fast cool weather crops like radishes, Euro greens, and lettuce. And the same can happen after you harvest those summer crops. Succession planting!
This is the technique I used:
I'm still experimenting with how best to water them though to make sure the soil is getting moist but that the pot isn't molding before I can plant them out. I've tried misting and pouring just a little water in them. I've also tried bottom watering with holes poked in the bottom... so far the plants in newspaper pots do not seem quite as happy as my starts in regular pots. We'll see in another week when I plant out how they're faring...
Does anyone know to to tell how much sun exposure a site will have in the summer? I have a lot of trees around my house. And a lot of work to do.
Yeah, I think you have to experiment. But you can estimate based on angle of the sun and height of the trees. On a sunny day walk around your house taking notes of where shadow lines are at a few key hours in the day (mid-morning, noon, mid-afternoon, etc.). You can then estimate patches of shade when the trees fill out.
I get to garden this year!
DH just manually removed the grass from a patch of ground on the south side of the house, and we're going to put tomatoes, herbs, kale, greens, and a few other kid-friendly things. Peas, carrots etc.
I also got my plot today in the Ecovillage community garden, a 10 x 10 space where I'll be putting a couple blueberry bushes, a bunch of strawberries and rhubarb. Starting fairly slow because I am a total gardening newbie. And we can't afford to purchase much in the way of amendments, and have only ever vermicomposted before, so we'll see how it goes.
Any recommendations of quick, easy things to read to aid a brand-new gardener?
Kirsten... no one site or book has stood out to me, though I know some people swear by The Vegetable Gardeners Bible by Edward Smith. I generally experiment and then look for answers to specific questions. I also love my friend's blog, NW Edible, which would probably work well for you as she is in the PNW.
The veggies you listed are all very easy to grow. My recommendations:
Tomatoes: get starts unless you have grow lights
Kale: leave plenty of room for it to grow and plant a few waves so you're not inundated all at once
Greens: plant in waves every 2 weeks or so
Peas: get them in now! soak seeds over night before planting
Carrots: really fluff the soil up for these
rhubarb: pick a permanent location and leave plenty of room for it to grow
strawberries: read up on mulching and runner pruning techniques
blueberries: they like acidic soil, protect them from pests with wire screens until they're established
So, more water makes more food sometimes. More sun makes more food. Healthier soil makes more food. But you know what? A couple of seeds left to their own devices can make a whole lot of food!
I agree with Jaimee about buying tomato starts. I also like growing squash because its very prolific and delicious.
I have found that the #1 secret to gardening is to remember to water! Everyone I know that has gardening failures forgets to water on a regular basis. Like Sara said, most things will grow, even if the conditions aren't perfect. Get a few starts and a couple packets of seeds and see what happens! Gardening is very rewarding and you'll learn as you go.
End of March...
The 10 day forecast finally looks good!! So, this weekend I will transplant:
I will direct sow additional kohlrabi, chard, kale, leeks, and lettuce and plant my snap peas and first rounds of carrots, turnips, radishes, arugula, and beets as well.
I will wait a few more weeks to transplant cauliflower and parsley (which I decided to start inside after all since I had all this time...).
Inside, I will now have room to start tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and more leeks and lettuce. In mid-April I'll start squashes, melons, pumpkins, sage, and basil.
A tip the UI extension gave me regarding wet soil is the ball test... ball up some of your soil and then bounce it in your hand. If it stays firm, it's too wet. If it crumbles, you're good to go!
Any weekend plans for your garden?
Yes! Big plans over here! Our boxes are built, and we are hauling dirt this weekend! We will be transporting a good portion of our starts (which are all doing great!). We will still keep the tomatoes and peppers inside at night for now.
Sounds like you're going to be busy this weekend, too, Jaimee!