My Birthday

I’m accustomed to beautiful weather on my birthday every year. This one did not disappoint! My fiancé helped me pick up a load of compost for the raised beds. My plants got their first drink of Neptune’s Harvest hydrolyzed fish fertilizer – which they will continue to get every two weeks throughout the entire season. And all the young plants and seedlings stayed out over night. It was really mild.

 

I’ve been up-potting more little seedlings into 4″ pots. This time I used a bag of Organic Jiffy Young Plant Mix – with a bit of both Dairy Doo and Trifecta mixed in.

 

The 10-day forecast predicts lots of sun, and not a night below 40 degrees. I may plant my garden quite early – since I have a back-up method to protect against frost (a very large tarp). Just have to weed the beds, till the soil, and spread the compost!

 

The cool weather crops have been doing great outdoors every night. Chard and Kale growing nicely. New lettuce and spinach sprouting up! Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts are all fine in the lower temps too.

 

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Seed Starting

Last year I failed to sustain seedlings by indoor natural light and bought most of my plants at the local nursery, so this year I was anxious to start my own seeds indoors with grow lights. I ordered a bunch of varieties from MIgardener, Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., and Park Seed. I also bought some more packets at my local grocery store, and even snagged a few at Walgreens.

I happily assembled the components of Park’s Complete Grow Light and Seed Starter Kit. I selected my seeds with the greatest ranges of time recommended for sowing indoors. After watching several youtube videos about starting seeds, I got down to business on March 17. Perhaps a bit too early for Zone 4, but this was somewhat of an experiment – and I knew I had more grow lights to accommodate the seedlings if they needed more space.

Germination was surprisingly rapid with the humidity dome and the heat mat. Once lots of things were sprouting, I wanted to start more. Apparently starting seeds is addictive. I ordered some extra heating mats and a timer for my set up. I moved the seedlings to trays that I owned, and bought refill pellets for the jiffy trays. I really love the convenience of using the peat pellets. I also decided to harvest some seeds from last year’s dried super chilies and last year’s dill plant. The chilies have sprouted!

I up-potted into some containers that I saved from last year’s greenhouse purchases. For those I mixed and sifted small batches of: Michigan peat, MIgardener’s Trifecta, vermiculite, perlite, and worm castings. On the third or so batch I also added blood meal. I was wary about the blood meal because last year when I tried using it to top dress part of my garden, my dogs got into it. Again, while I left the seedlings out to get some sun, another one of my carnivorous canines stole two little pots of arugula and kale just to eat the dirt. Luckily it’s not too late to start more!

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