I had intended to write a post about seed catalogue arrivals and all of the exciting new things I want to try this year but so far only two catalogues have arrived (one of which I didn’t even order!) with rest of the usual suspects seemingly missing-in-action.
I tend to shop online and don’t like to waste paper but I like the printed catalogues because it means I can multi-task my seed shopping while riding public transportation, watching a dumb movie, or sitting on the toilet. Too much information? Ten bucks says this is the most popular place to catalogue shop for seeds! I was going to go further in making the seed catalogues as porn for gardeners comparison but I’ll quit while I’m ahead. But while I’m really far digressed a word to seed companies; hire better designers! Most of us like pretty pictures and I would hedge a bet that many of you are like me and buy more seeds from the companies with the warmest photos and most agreeable layout. Of course the integrity of the company and what they’re actually selling is important too but it’s easier to conceptualize a plant growing in your garden when you can clearly see what it looks like.
So who arrived so far this year? Richters Herbs and William Dam Seeds (I have no idea how I got this and even though I like to stay away from hybrids a quick glance shows a bunch of choices that interest me).
I am now scrambling to put in catalogue orders with a bunch of companies. They include: Seed Savers (my favourite catalogue! How could they forsake me?), Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (they made me pay for it as a Canadaian. boo), Johnny’s Select Seeds, West Coast Seeds, and Seeds of Change (kinda pricey)
Guest post by Amy Urquhart
There have been some whispers in the Forums about starting seeds already. Some of the members of You Grow Girl live in areas where it’s already the season for growing. Here in Southern Ontario, though, we’re still experiencing snow and wind chill warnings. I’ve started to think about what I want to grow in my basement “grow-op” this year.
My set-up basically consists of a large work table and a pair of regular fluorescent shop-lights, suspended on a chain to allow for adjusting, depending on the height of the seedlings. The light is plugged into a standard timer, which I can adjust depending on how many hours of light I want to provide. I also have an oscillating fan that I run when the plants get a bit larger to simulate “wind”. I set this up in our laundry room every year, and so far I have had really good success while incurring minimal costs.
I love getting up in the morning and heading down to the basement to see what’s growing, watering where necessary, and just admiring the bits of green.
I posted back in October about my new-found culinary interest in dandelion greens and a few of you have been writing to ask where I got the seeds. In my case the dandelions have been coming up all on their own in my community garden. If you’ve got the short-leaved variety and you’re looking for a long-leaved variety I would first suggest looking around where you live or asking your friends since dandelions and their seeds are all over the place. There are a lot of people out there who would be happy if you suggested pulling up a root or two from their garden.
I looked into it and have compiled a very short list of companies that are selling online. If you know of anyone else please comment.
Germination has taken place in both the Eggling and the Real Egg. The Real Egg showed a few sprouts about 6 hours before the Eggling.
Sorry about the lack of photo to accompany this update however both seedlings are microscopic in size and I don’t have a macro lens.
I’m glad I saved a few seeds because I’m predicting that my reluctance (re: abject laziness) to go out and purchase sterile soil is going to bite me in the ass — damping off style. I applied a light sprinkle of cinnamon powder to the soil surface as a precaution but that soil was stolen from a container holding a large stevia plant that had been outside all summer long. In conclusion, damping off is inevitable. The thyme seedlings will meet a premature death. This experiment is utterly lacking in scientific method. I suck.
While setting up my “Eggling Experience” I thought it would fall more into the spirit of the much loved but long forgotten “The Lab” section of this site if I were to make this into an Eggling versus Real Egg experiment. I made the claim in my introductory post that an Eggling could be closely approximated for free using the shell of a real egg, and so I present to you a wholly unscientific experiment in which I will attempt to back that claim up with anecdotal evidence.
I haven’t done this since high school so bear with me.
A real egg is just as effective as an Eggling ceramic egg when used as a vessel for growing thyme from seed.
1. Set up an Eggling according to the supplied directions.*
2. Hard boil a large chicken egg. You can use a raw egg and just plop out the contents but I felt like eating a boiled egg.
3. Peel off a section from the top and scoop out the contents.
4. Remove a section from the bottom so that the egg sits flat.
5. Cut a small square of coffee filter and place in the bottom of the egg to cover the hole. This will keep the dirt from falling out.
6. Fill the egg with sterile seed-starting mix and a dash of vermicompost (aka worm poo). I was out of potting soil and too involved in the scientific process to go out for some, so I cheated and used soil from another pot. The soil wasn’t sterile but… I added worm castings in an attempt to approximate the Eggling growing medium which is said (in the instructions) to include, “…enough nutrients for plants to grow in it for up to 5 months.”
7. Sprinkle seeds on top of the soil. I used the extra seeds that came with the Eggling kit in an attempt to keep the projects as similar as possible (okay maybe no “as possible.” More like, as possible as I can be bothered without making a special trip to the store for additional supplies).
8. Water the egg slowly until water begins to drain into the tray from the bottom. I followed the directions outlined by the Eggling so that they followed the same routine.
9. Place both Eggling and Real Egg in a warm place to germinate. Mine are sat on top of the television awaiting germination.
*The supplied directions were seriously lacking in direction. When setting this up I tried to think like a beginner and I will say that as a fake beginner the lack of instructions left me feeling anxious as to whether I was doing the right thing. Did I make the hole big enough? How long will it take to germinate? How do I care for the plant once it has germinated? How do I prune? How do I transplant it? What happens next? p.s. In step #4 of the instruction pamphlet it is suggested that you shatter the Eggling and add the pieces to the soil of the transplanted plant “as fertilizer.” Dudes, last time I checked ceramic did not qualify as “fertilizer.”
p.s. NaBloPoMo is HARD.