Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Seedlings and Garden Planning

I've been anxious to post photos of our seedlings - this first photo is in our kitchen window (photo taken at night). There's a closer photo of the tomatoes on the top left below. Top right has tomato seedlings started 3 weeks ago as well as some herbs and the tall cool looking plant is nasturtium which is an edible flower. Bottom left has onions started from seed (which I honestly don't recommend, I think I'll stick with onion starts in the future) and Brussels sprouts. There's another photo of the tray on the bottom right below as well.
This tray has mostly herbs and flowers - I can't recall exactly what everything is (we've started soooo many plants!) I do know that there are red poppies, broccoli, calendula, bachelor buttons, and basil... surely I'm missing something. These tomatoes were started about 3 weeks ago. I've transplanted a lot of 2" soil blocks into 3.5" recycled plastic pots because Cam was away in Georgia when the time came to transplant them and I had no idea how to build a 4" blocker. My solution was to buy these pots and trays and they're working out really well.

Here are a variety of tomato plants started from seed about 5 weeks ago. These plants are on the top left in the photo above.So these plants are just the beginning. We have two more shelving units in the dining room with four shelves on each occupied by seedlings. It's quite an endeavor.

Now I do have to mention that the garden planning process has been a challenging one as well. I've mostly used an excel file to create a grid (and this works well since we're doing square foot gardening) but being the visual creature that I am I've really enjoyed a website that my friend Kari introduced me to. It's www.growveg.com The site costs I think $25 per year but you can try it out for 30 days for free without giving any billing information (I'm currently taking advantage of the free trial).

Things I like:
  • The web based application that focuses on organic gardening techniques allows you to easily design your garden and has fun icons to represent the plants you choose to grow including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. It's a drag and drop system which makes it easy for anyone to use.
  • Each icon has an option to look at more detailed information about the plant including plant family, soil type, sowing and planting time, frost tolerance, feeding, notes, harvesting, and companion plants.
  • The design tool includes a plant list of those you have selected to be in your garden with a chart including when to sow indoors, sow outdoors and harvest as well as helpful spacing information.
  • The site includes grow guides such as: crop rotation, starting a new vegetable plot, companion planting, gardening with children, natural pest control, growing from seed, growing in small spaces, permaculture and so much more!
  • The founder of the site also keeps an interesting blog with helpful articles.
What I don't like:
  • not much, it's a pretty cool site but there is just one thing: I wish that I could modify the information for each vegetable to include the specific variety I'm using. I can't currently do that, though could possibly be an upgrade that the site may consider if I ask nicely. After all, I am growing more than a dozen varieties of tomatoes and if I'm planning my garden with this tool I want to be able to plan it quite specifically.
So if you are planning a garden this year, I highly recommend checking out the site. It make garden planning a lot of fun.

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