And so it begins…

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the 2011 veggie season has officially begun. This afternoon, we planted our first flat of seedlings.

Step 1: Fill the flat with potting soil

I’ve got to tell you, it made us giddy to get our hands in the dirt again!

Step 2: Spray the soil with enough water to saturate it, but not too much!

We planted 2 kinds of broccoli, 3 kinds of cabbage, and some cauliflower. This family of vegetables (brassicas) have very tiny seeds, so we used my new favourite tool to make sure everything went smoothly!

 

Step 3: Meet the Tiny Tim Seeder, everyone!

And then there’s the absolutely crucial step, before things get too far:

 

Step 4: Label, label, label!

Even before we covered up the seeds with a dusting of potting soil, we had to MacGyver a couple of labels until we can track down where we stashed most of them last year in all the craziness. But with so many different varieties it would be too easy to lose track of what got planted where if we didn’t keep careful records!

Step 5: Move the tray to its heating mat

Putting the dome on the tray is essential to keeping the moisture from evaporating too quickly, but ironically the labels won’t fit anymore. They say farming’s all about doing the best you can with what you’ve got though, right?

Step 6: Program fluorescent light

The seeds need the heat mats to germinate, but they’re going to need light for 14 to 16 hours per day to grow.

Step 7: Admire your work

It’s going to be about a week before we see any sprouts. We’ll transplant them into bigger cells (mini-pots, really) in another few weeks after that, then we’ll start putting them outside on nice days to get used to outside conditions, and finally transplant them out to the garden at the end of April where our row cover will protect them from frosts.

I know they say you shouldn’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, but there’s a part of me that can’t help looking forward to steamed broccoli, cauliflower in cheese sauce, and coleslaw in June! After all,  I was an eater before I was a farmer!


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