Got to Start Some Time…

Yes, it is that time of year again, DIYeters. It is time to start some seeds inside. I am a big fan of direct sowing when possible, but some plants need a head start because our growing season is so very short here in New England.

Pumpkins most definitely need to be started indoors. We only have room for three or four plants, but I started five, just in case. I was not expecting the seeds to have a magenta coating on them, but evidently they have been treated to prevent mildew. I am okay with that. Did I mention they had a glittery magenta coating? I planted snazzy pumpkin seeds. That makes me happy.

I started some sunflowers because birds love to steal seeds from the ground when we direct sow. I found some seeds for Alpine strawberries, which are different than the “regular” strawberries we already grow. The packet recommended starting them indoors. In the upper right corner you can see the leeks I started a few weeks ago. I am impressed with the survival rate.

Hopefully, these will grow into tasty greens for the chickens to snack on.

Believe it or not, there are a few veggies that can be planted in the ground in New England right now. Snow peas, as you might guess from the name, actually prefer the cool temperatures of earliest spring. Also, I received some kale seeds as a “thank you for your order” gift and kale is all about the chilly weather. It can even survive a little frost.

The snow pea variety I bought claims to be a “bush” variety. However, in my experience all peas need a little support. Not to worry, I did not have to buy anything to create a pea fence. Just watch!

Step one, naturally, was to turn over the raised bed. Yes, it can be a bit tedious to turn over a garden bed by hand, but as you can see I had assistance. Madam Ovary and Martha Clucker were more than happy to scratch along with me. Do not worry, they did not get all of the worms. After a good turn, I raked the dirt level.

Next, I needed some sticks. As it happens, I recently took down a few small trees from the yard. So I grabbed my pruners and nipped some strait and not too branchy bits off the felled boughs. The hens were not so helpful at selecting sticks. However, if you have some children available they would probably be very good at it.

Next, I stuck the sticks into the dirt, angling them to make X shapes.

After firmly tamping the dirt along the base of the sticks, I planted a row of peas along one side. I will plant the other side in week or three, after the first row has started growing. This will give us a continual supply of tasty pods. I scattered some kale seeds as well. I finished by encircling the raised bed with chicken wire. Hopefully, this last step will keep out chickens and other critters.

I have not yet finalized the entire plan for the 2020 Food It Yourself garden. I have a little time, though, as most of our crops can not be planted until late May. We are still in a time of unprecedented anxiety and uncertainty. I find comfort in planning for the future, even if only the future of six to eight weeks from now.

What are you getting ready to grow this year? Share in the comments!