Monday, March 9, 2009

Spring Is Sprung - Almost

Yesterday I was enjoying weeding my tiny Indoor Farm. This year I mean tiny. And yes I recall writing in my book, Preparedness Principles that you should not have weeds in an indoor farm. Ah yes, and the next sentence said that would happen IF you used potting soil. Well, this year I didn't have enough potting soil to go around on the day I was planting, so part of the 'Farm Dirt" was garden soil. Yep, you can guess the rest. Real, live weeds grow well indoors. :-)

I have had a good crop of spinach, and several tiny "circulars" of green onions. No, no, not rows. I had to plant the onions around the edge of the flower pot, thus "circulars". My parsley grew well. And now that spring is coming the broccoli is starting to grow. Yes, there are challenges in being a "farmer".

But it is heads up time. Spring has sprung. Spring fever is attacking everyone - well most every one. The seed racks are appearing in the stores. The prices this year are already higher than last year. But we have been told they would be, so go figure. However, I would suggest that this year you plan some of your budget to go toward seeds.

This time of year to me is the time to plant the seeds in the peat pots and start the garden in doors. Yes it means the card table goes up in front of the window with dirt and water and a whole lot of watching. I can't wait for those teeny, tiny leaves to pop through the dirt. Then the challenge is to keep them alive until they can be transplanted. And no, the decor of dirt, peat pots and puddles most likely will never make the cover of a magazine edited by anyone named Martha, but what can I say?

Many people have suggested that you "store" sufficient seeds for an entire garden. That may be well and good if you understand a few points. First, you must have garden space and if you are planning to rely on a harvest from stored seeds, you must allow for a good four to six months of growing time for a "total crop." Storing seeds for a large harvest IS a positive and good thing to do, as long as your planning and understanding takes into account all of the factors, including time, climate, weather, energy, space and the whole nine yards that a "real garden" entails. Especially if you have not previously been a "regular vegetable gardener".

Now before you start sending hate emails, I'm not saying you should not do this. I agree, I think you should IF you can. If not then I have a few suggestions to fill in the gaps.

First, since we - the people - are being threatened with higher prices and more shortages, it could prove to be an intelligent thing to find seeds for those veggies you know you will use.

It also would be a prudent thing to have a sufficient supply of Indoor Farm seeds on hand so that if the economy gets tough in your area of the world you can get along by growing some of your own greens and salad veggies in pots, if you need to. And if winter comes around again, you will have salad seeds on hand, also to grow in pots - indoors.

Keep in mind that if you plan on growing your own greens it will take more than one package of the same seed, since you will constantly be sowing more than one crop. This is true whether you will be planting be in rows or "circulars". The more you plan on relying on your own greens, the more seed you will need to have on hand.

Another point for those of you who live in Condos, apartments, mobile homes or any home with exceedingly small "yard space" is a lot of veggies will grow UP. You can plant cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, tiny pumpkins, etc., etc. in pots and train them to grow up on twine, poles, trellises, railings, fences, etc. Your harvest will be just as good as it would be in a glorious flat, regular garden. You must pay attention to feeding and watering for containers not acreage.

My words of enocuragement for today is to pay attention as the seeds come into the market in your neighborhood. Start planning on paper now where and how you will and can plant what. Be creative in your assessment if you have never planted a "garden" of any size before and you will be relying on "this one" for a harvest. Now while there is room for trial and error is the time to start.

Radishes are easy. Green onions are easy. Zuccinni is supposed to be easy, but it may have a mind of its own. Spinach, chard and roamine are easy. Chives and parsley are easy.

Oh yes, my chocolate mint is doing well. I'm still working on a harvest of chocolate covered peanuts. You do know, don't you, that peanuts are a legume and very good for you (sans allergies). Therefore, just think of the benefits of chocolate covered peanuts in your own garden. I'm working on it.