The Canadian Geese have landed! This time every year they come and hang out in my back yard. Their very distinctive ‘honks’ herald in the beginning of spring in my parts of the Pacific Northwest, along with the blooming crocus and the pushing tulips and daffodils. Everything is waking up and it’s thyme to get growing!
Let me start by first introducing my garden. We moved into this home in the middle of summer of 2010, an odd time to get planting but I was determined to get something growing so I turned a patch of dirt into a vegi garden.
This little building was the former home to dozens of pigeons by the previous owner. It’ll make a great greenhouse some day don’t you think? Anyway, being that I double dug this patch in the middle of summer, I had no idea how bad the drainage was on the property until the next spring.
It rained and rained and rained that spring. The clay soil was so wet and heavy my shovel would suction into the ground every time it went in and the weeds were impossible to pull loose from the sticky mud. It took months to get it back and a lot of hard work. But I did manage to have a great garden that year and I plan to have an even better one this year.
As you can see the soil looks fantastic for January. I dug up the last of the turnips and carrots from winter (which we had on Christmas Day!) and threw on a good layer of finished compost ( a 101 tutorial on that in a future post). Now it’s time to get to work.
Above is my seed selection for my vegi garden this year. After discussing my plans with my employer, Potter’s Nursery, they generously offered to supply the seeds for my garden blogging. We have an amazing selection of seeds to choose from and don’t even get me started on the bulbs!
It can be over whelming to stand in front of seed display, there are so many enticing little packets to choose from never mind trying to decide on which varieties to grow. I suggest that you make a list of what your family will definitely eat and then maybe throw in one or two new things you’d like to try. Gardening is fun, but make no mistake it is a labor of love so choose only vegetables you will enjoy.
My criteria for seed selecting this year was simple. It had to be organic, an heirloom or preferably both to make my list. I also chose to go with a seed company that has taken the “Safe Seed Pledge”. That is to say that they do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. This year I chose to go with West Coast Seeds and I will provide a full list of all my choices down the road.
Okay, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this post . Sowing seeds is very easy. Seeds that need to be started earlier can be done indoors in a matter of different ways. But since my garden blogging will be based on this theme “The Beginners Guide to a West Coast Vegi Garden”, we’ll start with one of the easier methods available.
These kits are available in several sizes where you get the plastic tray, pellets and dome all in one package. You can also buy all of these things separately once you build up your supplies. All you do is add water to the reservoir and the flat hard round pellets begin to take up the water and swell. Once they are about an 1 1/2″-2″ tall they can be gently massaged to loosen the peat. Now it’s time to plant.
I have had this dibble for years ( i recently found it in my compost heap, it must have fallen out my pocket last fall, ha ha). It’s a great little tool, but certainly a chopstick or even a pencil will do. Use it to gently open up the small hole in each pellet. The moisture on the end of the dibble will easily pick up small seeds from your packet which will transfer to the wet soil when you place them.
Place a minimum of 2 seeds per pellet, I did 3. You will thin out the weakest plants later but the reason you start several in one pellet is because germination rates vary from plant to plant. To ensure better results plant more not less. After they are in, gently close the hole, put the dome on top and your done!
Continue to keep them moist, but not wet. If you see the pellets starting to turn light brown, they are getting dry. Simply add more water to the reservoir and let the pellets take it up. I bought Orgunique Bio-Fish Fertilizer for my feed, they have several products approved by the OMRI who governs what is considered organic products allowed to be used in organic gardening. I will use a diluted solution daily on the seedlings once they begin to grow. I also like to use their organic fertilizers for my vegi garden but I will explain more about that later. It should be noted that neither Orgunique or West Coast Seeds have any involvement with this project other than they are my personal choices for it. All materials, except for the seeds of my choosing that were provided by Potters, were purchased by me.
Here is what you should be planting in March:
Start indoors- Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Fennel, Leeks, Lettuce, Parsley, Peppers, Tomatoes
Direct Sow outdoors- Broad Beans, Garlic, Kale, Pac Choi, Peas
We are just getting started and if you want to know what’s next be sure to check back. I have a lot of material to cover this season, from basket making and compost, to sowing and harvesting. This is an exciting time of the year for a gardener, the possibilities are endless!
Please feel free to comment or ask questions and if you are lucky enough to live close to a Potters location, be sure to come in and chat with our knowledgable staff and we will help you get growing!