Saturday, May 1, 2010

Herbal Gardening, Part 3

Herbal Gardening, Part 3

We planted seeds today.

It was a beautifully warm, mild day, I really wasn't planning on starting our indoor garden today...I was hoping to write and relax. But I had carelessly spilled water on a couple of our packets of seeds, completely sopping them, and I knew I needed to do something before they started to germinate or rot.

The first step was filling our 26 biodegradable starter pots with planting mix.

We used Jiffy-Pots, made of peat moss, distributed in the USA by Ferry-Morse Seed Company. They are about two-inches in diameter, about three-inches high. The manufacturer's instructions seemed straight forward:

  1. Place Jiffy-Pots into a Jiffy plant tray.
  2. Fill with Premium Seed Starting Jiffy-Mix.
  3. Water thoroughly - enough to saturate walls of the pot.
  4. Plant seeds according to directions on seed packet.
  5. To transplant, plant "pot and all" making sure peat pot is completely covered by garden soil.
  6. Water thoroughly.

We didn't use the official Premium Seed Starting Jiffy-Mix. We used what we had left over from last year.

Our planting mix was made by Rexius Forest By-Products, Inc. It seemed to have all the right ingredients:

  • Forest humus
  • Compost
  • Pummice
  • Perlite
  • Sand
  • Peat moss

It had no fertilizer components. We'll have to add some sort of fertilizer when the seeds sprout.

I found our planting mix to be very hard to moisten. I first filled each pot to the brim with the dry mix and then sprinkled with water. Only the top surface of the filled pot became inch below the surface, the mix remained dry, even after forcibly pressing the running water hose into the mix for several seconds.

Finally, I removed the mix out of each pot, dumping it all into a small pail. Then I added water as I stirred and mashed with my hand, much like mixing water into dry pancake mix. When it was all saturated, I filled each pot once again with the wet planting mix.

The Master Gardeners (MG) recommended only one seed per plant. Several of the seed packets described putting two or more seeds into each pot. We followed the written instructions on each packet of seeds, generally two to three seeds per pot.

We planted 15 different crops, using 15 starter pots. Adding the two tomato seedlings the MG gave us, we have now 17 pots on our small desk, placed near our south-facing double-glass door. We'll water daily and wait for the sprouts.

Grow, seedlings, grow!