Homegrown e-zine published by Steve Biggs is a handy resource for gardeners.
To subscribe go to: http://www.the-locavores-garden.com/vegetable-gardening-e-zine.html
For all those getting anxious about the upcoming gardening season. This is what he says we should be thinking about for February:
In the last issue I advised requesting seed catalogues. Now’s the time to order your seeds so you have them early enough to make a late-February start with ones that take a long time (e.g. celery, leeks, eggplant, and peppers).
I have placed my seed orders. New for me this year are a couple of leafy vegetables, orach and amaranth—along with bitter melon. I still have no clue about how to prepare bitter melon…but hope to give updates in my summer issues.
GET SEEDING SUPPLIES
Now is the time to line up seeding supplies. Some supplies you can make yourself or save:
labels (consider wooden tongue depressors from a medical supply store, or waxed milk cartons cut into strips)
seeding containers (yogurt and margarine tubs and plastic and styrooam trays work if they are deep enough—at least 2 inches deep—and have drainage holes)
Here’s a supply I recommend you buy: seeding mix. (And I don’t recommend skimping on potting and seeding mix…you get what you pay for)
TIP: SANITIZE SEEDING CONTAINERS
I’m a big fan of reusing plastic pots, trays, and cell packs: it saves money and means less waste. But…the danger of reusing containers and trays is that they might be contaminated with “damping off” disease. Damping off disease isn’t actually one disease, but a few diseases with similar symptoms, causing affected seedlings to be girdled and topple over. The solution is simple: good hygiene. In most cases, damping off comes from contaminated containers and work surfaces.
Sanitize as follows:
Use a brush to scrub off any old soil clinging to trays and containers;
Mix 1 part bleach with 9 parts water;
Soak trays and containers in solution for 15 minutes;
Allow to air dry.
With Seedy Sunday on February 13th this is also a great time to plan your planting strategy. If you are a new gardener a question you might want to consider is what will i actually use. (i.e. what do i want to harvest and eat?) Will it be a ratatouille garden with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, a salad and herb garden, or do you want to
concentrate on pumpkins, squash, with maybe a melon? Or which plants grow upright and which trail and need lots of space? Which need more light than
others. Also, which plants are compatible?
Another decision you are going to have to consider is whether you you want to sow the seeds indoors and nurture them as seedlings, then take
them to the plot when they are strong enough, or plant them directly into the soil. Any opinions about that? Last year I pursued the former strategy, and found
that gardeners who had planted direct actually fared better than my seedlings! Also – enthusiasm for the incredible variety of seeds available at the above event may result in purchasing way more than you need! Remember you can always barter and share!
SEEDY SUNDAY, HART HOUSE, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, 12.30 PM – 6.00 PM FEBRUARY 13TH
WINTER SUNFLOWER (SKETCH PLOT)