Sproutwatch 2010

Sproutwatch 2010!

Sproutwatch 2010!

So you know how they say you should do something every day that scares you? Well I’m doing just that. I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I’m talking life by the horns, I’m carpe diem-ing.

I’m growing plants from seeds.

I know, it’s crazy. What am I thinking? How radical! How dangerous! It’s practically just plain irresponsible of me.

Yes, I’m being facetious. But truthfully I am feeling quite nervous about my little seed experiment. Mum and Dad were kind enough to give me a herb garden seed starter kit and I followed all the instructions and I’m starting to see sprouts from all my little containers. They’re growing along, but I’m just kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop…

In the past I have tried to grow things from seed and have been sadly disappointed by the results. I think that birds or animals have just plain eaten the seeds out the the ground which is why growing them indoors seems like the right plan.

I planted 2 little pots of sunflower seeds in an attempt at my great white whale of gardening, and they are sprouting too, which is very encouraging. Twice I’ve planted sunflower seeds only to be greeted by crushing disappointment. Not this time, Sunflowers. Not this time.

Apparently at some point I’ll have to “harden them off” which sounds unpleasant and a bit daunting. Practically every time I read about how I’m supposed to make these sprouts grow into real plants it seems a bit hopeless: will they have enough light? Are they in the right soil? Is the temperature right? Too much water or not enough? How do I transplant them successfully? When?

Well I guess with all great gardening experiments all I can do is the best I can: plant them green side up and keep my fingers crossed. With any luck I’ll be bringing you all bunches of fresh herbs by early summer!

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Fun with farm equipment

Fun with farm equipment

On the unseasonably beautiful spring weekend we enjoyed over the Eater break us Coverts* were hard at work in Lodi breaking new ground–literally–and raking and digging and planting and hauling.

We worked steadily throughout the long weekend and the record warm temperatures were both encouraging and slightly daunting: I actually got a sunburn working in the garden in April, which seems unlikely. But there’s nothing like getting your farmer tan on the go early in the season.

Here is a partial but mostly complete list of things we accomplished in the garden and grounds at the Home Farm in Lodi:

Potatoes and onions are planted, though there may be some controversy about whether this was actually the right time to plant potatoes. The mad crowd elbowing their way towards the seed potatoes at the Agway sure seemed to think it was about the right time to get them in the ground, but we shall see.

Raspberry bushes removed of dead canes and pruned back in hopes they will produce berries

Cherry tree discovered with evidence of cherry pits on the ground around it, lending one to believe it may indeed produce cherries (note to self: find out more about caring for cherry trees)

Old farm equipment uncovered, righted and turned into garden accessories

Path broken between upper and lower garden areas

Areas in front of two different barn entrances uncovered and cleared for easier access to barn

Many sumac trees felled to shed more light on old garden area in the paddock

More raspberry bushes tamed

Tops of rhubarbs discovered pushing through the ground, much to Dad’s chagrin

All new and old vegetable crops identified by wooden stakes (NEW this year!)

Perennial garden areas tidied up, weeded and dead leaves removed

Garlic tops seen to be sprouting (success! so far…)

Flagstone pathway discovered around the side of the house leading from an old doorway

Mum took some great photos of the progress we made and you can view the album here

We definitely laid all the ground work for putting the rest of the vegetables in on the long weekend in May which is the next time we’ll all be together in Lodi. Let’s just hope the weather stays lovely and that the potatoes don’t rot!

*Ok, not all of us Coverts did all this back-breaking work: Andrew and Dad wielded the pick-axes and shovels like champs, I gravitated to the detail work of clearing the dead leaves from the garden and planting while Mum picked up a chainsaw and hacked down a few trees.