i got really lazy this year. kind of. i made my seed schedule, planned everything out and then got my seeds in a little late. but luckily i planned everything on the early range of planting. example if it said start seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost i planned to plant at 6 weeks. ended up planting at 8 but luckily (or not luckily) the frost date was off by a few weeks so i should be ok.
i planted about 30 flats of mixed vegetables and flowers and out of the 30 about 20 flats popped up or at least had some sort of partial germination. there could be a few factors affecting that.
1.) the seeds that didn’t come up were peppers and eggplant. those seeds were two years old and could have been stored improperly.
2.) the seed trays were placed in an area that was too cold for germination and the seeds rotted before they could sprout.
3.) just plain bad luck.
most of my flowers came up as well as my tomatoes. the weird thing is most of my seeds pop up within a few days or even a week. this year my zinnias and tomatoes took about 3 weeks to even sprout! i was about to just throw them away when i finally saw little greens poking through! i started these in the basement garage where it’s humid and moist and the heat stays pretty regulated in there. once i saw the greens poking up i moved them to the screen room. (joe can we PLEASE build a green house soon).
i am in the process of hardening the seeds off now. every morning i move them out a little earlier in the morning and a little later at night. i’m hoping to get them in the ground by this weekend.
this year i’ve been doing a lot of reading about tomatoes because i have a semi new love for them. i used to hate raw tomatoes. that was before i went to california and had a raw heirloom tomato with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh cracked salt. holy hannah montana. they were amazing. now i can’t wait to grow like…every variety under the sun.
i learned this year from a tomato grower at the farmers market that there are two types of tomatoes. determinate and indeterminate.
determinate tomatoes are a bush variety that stay compact and all of the fruit ripens at the same time and then the plant dies giving you a limited crop. determinate types here.
indeterminate tomatoes are tomato plants that will grow super tall and require staking. they will produce fruit until they are killed by frost. indeterminate types here.
i planted mostly all heirloom/indeterminate varieties because i’m a new tomato hoarder.
i also picked up a few “spares” at the farmers market. i didn’t start any squash seeds, beans, please or eggplants so i picked up a few of those from the farmers market. (BTW both holland and grand rapids are in full swing!)
i have a few seeds i’m going to direct sow this weekend (sun flowers and winter squash varieties) but other than that i’m good to go!
this year i’m doing way more flowers and herbs than vegetables because people seemed to appreciate extra flowers than zucchini but to be fare i planted a crap ton of zucchini last year.
a few parting words about pest prevention. there are two things (maybe three) that i have found to keep deer, squirrels, rabbits and other beasts out of your garden.
1.) marigolds. plant one marigold for every three plants (stick it right in the middle) they HATE the smell of marigolds. especially rabbits.
2.) Dried blood. i know it’s gross but it’s not just that it’s a mixture of spices (garlic, rosemary etc) that once an animal takes a sniff before taking a bite it fills their nose with awful scent and they wont touch your plants. some of the products that actually contain the dried blood will warn animals off and they will stay out of your garden completely.
3.) maybe a fence. i haven’t put one up so i can’t speak to it. but i will say if you cannot afford a garden fence at the moment the other two options have worked for me the past couple of years in both my byron center garden and my allegan garden.
hope this helps!