So it begins...

Remember last year's garden saga?  (refresher)  Well, here I go again.

This year N is taking a more active role.  For starters, he was throughly disappointed that we didn't grow anything tall last year, so this year he wanted his own plot (there were plenty to spare last year) to grow sunflowers and corn.  Have at it, mi amor.  But, I decided that as long as we're growing tall things, we might as well go for pole beans.  And then once we have corn and beans, we might as well get all three-sisters-y and add some squash.  But as long as we're doing mounds, we might as well do melon.

So the plan: corn, sunflowers, beans, squash, and melon in one plot.  The other plot: tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, eggplant, peas, basil, cilantro, parsley, lettuce, cabbage, and swiss chard.  Whew!  I opted not to do root veggies since none of them turned out well last year, not even before the rabbits ate off their tops--they were all really tiny.  Oh, and this year I bought my seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange, which means that if I want to save my seeds, I can.  (We'll see how things go.)

Around here, mothers' day is gardener's benchmark for last day of frost.  So, today I planted my seeds that should be sewn 8 weeks before the last day of frost.  This included the eggplant, bell peppers, poblano peppers, and cabbage.  Technically, the cabbage should be started 6-8 weeks before the last frost, but I'm anticipating a warm spring because we had a mild winter.  In another two weeks, I'll start my 6-week-ers (the tomatoes).

Now, you might ask: where are you going to keep these seedling now that you're in a much smaller apartment than you were last year?  And then, if you've ever been in our new apartment, you might also ask, how are your poor seedlings going to get enough light given your two tiny north facing windows?  Never fear!  Compact florence is here!  It's not the most eco-friendly option, but at least it's pocketbook friendly since electricity is included in our rent.  I rigged up the lights under our dining table, so now we have this strange glow in our living room.

I'm also using proper seed starting trays and seed starting soil this year.  The trays were super cheap--about two dollars for both the tray and the 72-division insert.  Seed starting soil is a lot lighter than either potting soil or typical gardening mulch.  The guy at the garden center was telling me all about the differences (I asked), and what makes soils a certain way.  I wish I had my notebook out because he was throwing out all sorts terms that were alien to me.  I'd like to mix my own soil one day, so maybe I'll go pick his brains again.  Or maybe I'll just use the internet.  Anyway, seed starting soil is lighter so the roots have room to develop.  It's really nice to work with too; I was able to just dump a bunch of it on top of the starting trays and brush it into the holes quite easily.

The 8-week-ers took three trays, and the 6-week-ers should take another three trays, so it'll be busy under our table for a while.  Here's to hoping it'll be a good year!

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