Friday, February 22, 2013

Winter Sowing

         As previously mentioned, I have just learned about winter sowing and am giving it a try. Today I started some perennials and fruit in milk jug mini-greenhouses, and put them out on the deck. I am going to wait a month or so before starting tomatoes in this way (as advised by Kevin Lee Jacobs) as they can't take the cold and don't need the stratification that the perennials require.
        I ran out of milk jugs so I had to stop. Also, I need more potting soil/seed starter mix. And maybe more perennial seeds. If this works, I can't wait to do more of it. It's so therapeutic to be able to do something garden - related so early in the year. Now we must drink more milk and choose more seeds! 
        I've been listening to Scotland's Garden podcasts while working (on my great new dock machine Anne gave me!) so feel I'm going right through the garden year as I work. And learning as well.
Today I planted delphinium, actaea, shasta daisy ("crazy daisy"), lupins, alpine strawberry ("Temptation"), candytuft, cranesbill, and others I can't remember. But I must write them down, in case the marker washes off outdoors.
      I also started basil and cat grass in pots for the house, and a tray of osteospermum (seeds bought at Veseys this week!).  I am so tempted to try starting some plants both indoors and out, to see which does better. Perhaps I'll do that with the tomatoes later.
     Winter has continued to be a "real, old-fashioned" one, so we have had massive storms every weekend for the whole month of February. This week the 18th was "Islander Day", and it stormed all day - I cooked and sewed and photographed birds at the feeders - altogether an ideal day!

     We have had a lot of American Tree Sparrows at the feeders all winter - they are so cute with their little reddish top-knots. We bought a thistle-seed feeder and the goldfinches *do* use it, but not very often while I'm watching. But the thistle seeds are decreasing in the tube, and there are the tell-tale husks on the ground, so they are enjoying it - just not when I'm around with my camera.  However, I did get this one shot!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Trying to hurry Spring along

I have been out buying seeds, and pots, and today we stopped at Phillips Feeds and bought some chicken grit to put on the top of the pots to keep the seedlings from damping off and to improve drainage. Carol always does it so I'm giving it a try!
I am also going to try starting seeds in mini greenhouses made of milk cartons with drainage holes drilled in them, like Garden Designs here: It is a *bit* late but I'm going to give it a go. The author's in zone 5 as well, so I have high hopes of success.
Veseys had some nice UK-made seed starter trays so I bought some of those, now I'm all set. As soon as I have a day at home I'll get started.