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Daily Archives: February 23, 2012

Starting Seeds and Dreaming of Summer

I went through my seed packets today to prioritize what will go where in the garden this year. Last year was the second year I started heirloom tomatoes from seed. They did OK, but the rain made them not ribbon worthy at the Fair. My herbs did better getting me a ribbon. This year I want to do some heirloom herbs as well as the tomatoes. The Howard County Fair heirloom tomato category has grown like crazy. the first year I entered there were six entries. The second year, there were ten. This past year there were 29 entries. Competition is fierce, and you need more exotic heirlooms to get a ribbon. I have one ribbon for tomatoes from a previous year.

My herbs last year were stevia, lemon basil and sage.

Putting out the garden is always interesting. The deer fence seems to do well except that little bunnies can squeeze through it. The black material to cut down on weeds worked well in the tomato sections, but I can’t use it where I put in rows of lettuces or chard. The tomatoes really did better because that material kept the soil warmer.

I had the heirloom tomatoes in with some cucumbers and they did well there. This year I will be planting peppers and chard in that section, and a few zucchini. Rotating the plants in each of the three fenced sections and adding compost every year has kept our soil in pretty decent shape. We had it tested last year and it came back with no requirements to add anything. We are lucky that our yard was once a horse pasture, all that manure must have really broken down that clay that seems to prevail every where else we lived around here.

I do herbs all over the place including in pots on the patio. The mint as usual was out of control.

The tomatoes did come in well. This is a big rainbow, the largest heirloom I grew. It would not have won a ribbon at the fair though because that wasn’t large enough for the largest tomato competition.

This year I am starting microgreens from seed that I am now getting ready to transplant into a small “cold frame”, really just a container with a cover. They will be moved outside soon. The heirloom garlic chives and swiss chard seeds will go out sometime next month.

The greens are looking good, getting crowded and I started moving them to bigger pots last week. Growing veggies and herbs is one of those simple pleasures that make me glad to live here.

I just hope our little furry friends stay out of my gardens.