A friend of mine sent me the address for a very interesting gardening idea. I checked it out this weekend. The concept is so simple that it's brilliant. This gal, like me, started seeds indoors, and like me she had no good space, no good light and couldn't afford the gro-lights or heat mats. Her "Eureka!" moment was when she realized that even some of the tender annuals would harbor over seeds and she would get volunteers the next year. With some old seeds and some carry out food containers, she created an experiment. She set up some starter trays. Put them out in the garden while still winter. Almost everything came up. Everything was already hardened off by the process. She had no damping off. All she had to do was transplant from the container to the prepared location in the garden when the soil was workable.
The details are on her site. I can't remember if her address was .com or .org. Sorry about that. So, you will need to do a search for wintersown. All the information is there and she also has a tomato seed exchange that puts most seed catalogs to shame.
After reading through this web site I grabbed my coffee can where I save my garden seed. Seeds tend to lose about 10% germination viability for each year saved. At least, thats the rule of thumb. I keep my unused seeds in a sealed container for two years and after that I pitch them. My can was full! I had four different kinds of green beans. Three kinds of peas. Three kinds of carrots. Kale, pumpkin, corn, cucumbers, beets and lettuce mix. Now I just need some containers with lids. My normal seed starting trays won't work. They are just made too cheaply. I have a couple of milk cartons. A couple of clear soda cups from the convenience store. Of course I just cleaned out the kitchen a couple of days ago and threw away a bunch of stuff!!! I still have some styrofoam cups that I can put clear sandwich bags over. I have two barrels half full of well broken down compost.
THIS IS SO EXCITING!!!! I know, I know... I obviously don't get out much. But, it's exciting for me. I'll get a start on it this afternoon and let you know how things go. That reminds me..... the cutting experiment. It went extremely well. Almost everything rooted. Then when the plants were potted into soil, everything took off growing. It was looking so good! After about a week and a half a couple of things died. Suddenly about a third of the plants died. Then the rest bit the dust also. It is down to one of two things. Not enough light or toxic potting soil. I had heard from several sources that the government allows a certain amount of industrial waste to be put into products like bagged plant soil, fertilizers, etc. I know of one green house owner that will no longer buy american made soil or starting medium. She gets hers from Canada. It used to be that everything I planted grew. I would have most of the kitchen, the dining room table and the top of the fridge covered with seedlings. Now .... nothing grows for me. With that in mind I will start my winter sown project in my own compost and topsoil. Kind of sad.... I had one tomato from the cuttings that was over a foot tall. Oh well... we learn from our mistakes.
I keep telling myself that if i were a pioneer, I'd be dead now. I would have starved! Maybe my happy thought for the day should be that I'm not a pioneer.