Monday, February 14, 2011

Garden planning, seed starting

Hallelujah! Seed starting time is officially here! Next weekend marks 12 weeks until our last frost date, but I went ahead and started a few things today for several reasons:

1. I believe that my balcony microclimate gives me a little edge over the Boston airport.
2. Having only a few plants of each type means that I can easily manage the needs of my seedlings -- if I put them out too early and we get a cold snap, I can bring them in for a few nights, for example.
3. I am very very stingy with my heat, so my apartment hovers at just below 60 F during the winter. I figure it can't hurt to give my seedlings a little extra time to make up for any cold-induced slow growth.
4. I'll be honest -- my Fedco order came in and I was pretty eager to plant!

Today I started leeks, lettuce, cutting celery, and spilanthes, (an herb that makes your mouth numb!). This weekend I will start parsley, spinach, maybe some other greens, and eggplant. I don't have a heat mat and don't intend to invest in one this year, so I may not have success with eggplant. Last year I saw no signs of life. This year I'll try them out on top of the radiator so their feet can get nice and toasty.

In the meantime, I've been making some serious decisions and doing some serious planning. I have HIGH hopes for my little balcony this year, and I intend to be ready. So I have to decide exactly how many of each plant I want to start and what they're going to be planted into when the time comes. This involves making graph-paper maps of my space, lists of what items need what size container, etc.

I'll share a tentative sketch soon. I do know this: I need a LOT more 5-gallon buckets in the next few months...!


  1. I've heard that you can sometimes get 5 gallon buckets from bakeries for free. I guess their frosting comes in them or something like that? I don't know. I've never gotten around to asking a bakery for some (because believe it or not, I'm shy), but it might be worth the effort to look into!

  2. Yeah, I had great luck last year asking the deli, the bakery, and just checking the grocery dumpsters a couple times a week. I need to get a final tally of what I want and get asking!