I started my garden in February. In Missouri. Yep, I know, its not the norm. But, I did it anyway. I decided that this year, my garden is going to be mostly a raised garden, except for a few items, such as the corn and my bird garden. I also decided, that I was going to do it on the cheap. Last year, I spent just over $140 for plants. This year, I am growing all, but the tomatoes, from seed that I had left over from years past. You know how seed has expiration dates?? Well, ignore them--they grow anyway. In fact, the leftover watermelon seed from 2006 is the best growing of the lot!!
My "plant babies" as my girls and I call them (while my husband rolls his eyes), sleep on top of the refrigerator at night, where it is warm. During the day they are on one of the kitchen counters under a florescent light. For an added treat, on a cold day I can put my heat pad under them for 15 minutes at a time, several times a day. They like warm soil. I also have several pots of garlic, which are doing very well. Until they go outside, I can snip of bits of their tops to use in salads and cooking.
Today I replanted the cantaloupe and pumpkins, as only a few of the original ones grew. I also stuck in a few more of the watermelon, yellow squash, and zucchini.
I figured by using up the old seeds, I had nothing to loose--they were already paid for, so if they grew, they grew and saved me $$, if the didn't, they didn't. And, most grew. And, by planting them early, if they didn't grow, that gave me time to go buy fresh seeds and replant.
I originally planned to put the seeds in egg carton cells, but found the jiffy pots on sale left over from last year, for $2. So, I opted for them. But in a few weeks when I start more plants, I will use the egg carton cells in saved clear take out, cake and pie containers.
Now, lets just hope that the groundhog was right, and I can get these in the ground soon.
My next project will be to make a cold frame. My walls will be haybales (squares) and I will simply put an old window over the top. Then, the plants will move on to the garden. The cold frame will help harden the plants off, and also protect them from the chickens and ducks. That way they can free range a little longer. We opted to fence in a large area around the coops rather than fence in the garden.
I am also going to make a "bird garden". It will use the leftover seed, and I will add in some sunflowers and corn, milo and soybeans. The purpose is to help feed the birds, and my chickens and ducks. I have been trying to find an old fashioned corn sheller and if I do find one, I will start growing my own corn for the birds and my poultry as well. Once, while staying at an Amish home in Shipshewanna Indiana, I was given a detailed tour of the families gardens. One was just for the chickens, another was for herbs only, and another for the families vegetables.
The lady of the house also gave me a list of "companion" plants, which I will also try this year. The idea behind companion planting is that one plant repeals pest that eat its neighbor, or that it provides a nutrient that its neighbor requires.
Only 14 days until I will be planting the potatoes. My potato bed is set up and ready to go.
Can you tell I have a touch of spring/garden fever???
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