May 13, 2010
Hello! I hope this finds you well and getting geared up for some gardening time this weekend. Things here in the Ladybug world are in a bit of a kerfuffle (scientific term) – we had a neighbor dump debris on top of one of our new veggie garden beds and contaminate the soil with sawdust. It was not malicious – he thought he was doing us a favor – and we had to explain that the chemicals from pressure treated wood are not something we want to amend the soil with. But to make lemonade out of lemons I’ve decided to give strawbale gardening a try…
Images from Erica Mulherin
I spent a good chunk of today sourcing some straw, and I’ll get going on building and conditioning the garden once the rain stops. I’m looking forward to seeing how these work for me – I have some really poor soil in areas of my garden, but I want lots of fresh veggies! I’ll keep you guys posted as to my progress!
Now it is time for me to let you know one of my deep dark secrets….I am the world’s worst seed starter. Yes, yes, I know how much money I could save by starting seeds, and I can imagine how fulfilling the process must be, but not for me. I prefer to direct sow seeds into the ground – morning glory, parsley, cosmos, sunflowers, nasturtiums…all of these I grow from seed. And I put on a grand facade of being happy to buy my seedlings from local organic growers, and I am, of course, but for once I would like to successfully start my tomatoes from seed. This year, however, was not the year. Spring hit us early and my business needed me more than my seeds did. So I started late and have, so far, had zero germination. I have friends with wonderful luck with seeds, and I follow their advice, but I think I need to simply come to terms with the fact that I have a seed black thumb!!
However, what would an organic gardening blog be without seed starting advice, even late in the season. And what would I be without lots of resources to share with you! First of all I suggest you ask around in your circle of friends. See if you can group together to buy and start seeds – sometimes you end up with way more seedlings than one garden can deal with and it is nice to share the bounty.
Below is the basic idea of seed starting:
Here are some great places to visit for more in depth information on seed starting:
Fine Gardening Magazine – they have several articles and videos about seed starting
Vegetable Gardener - a new find for me…I’m having fun checking out their tips and ideas
A Way to Garden – Margaret Roach is one of my favorite people and a wonderfully generous gardener.
Organic Gardening – Great resource, with a nice slide show showing the thinning out of seeds
Cornell University – Cornell is a constant resource in my gardening life…from apple tree advice to seed varieties and descriptions…do visit them & see for yourself
Do you have any seed starting tips or hints to share? Did you overcome your fears of seed starting and now it is old news? Share with me your secrets, dear readers! It is not too late for me to start some mid season veggies and I promise I will take any advice you can give!!
And now, for the requisite bit of Brit in our weekly chat. This is becoming a habit I will have to break, before it truly becomes “a thing” I’ll have to keep up with every week…if only Black Adder gardened…then I would never run out of Brit content to post….
Last week I promised you a project…and so in the spirit of seed starting, I would like to introduce you to Guerrilla Gardening and seed bombs. I’m an active guerrilla gardener – and while I don’t make seed bombs often anymore, I have recently been re-inspired and have ordered the ingredients to make a whole bunch of them this weekend.
I use native seeds, and this year I will be focusing on native milkweeds to feed the monarch butterflies.
The primary thing to remember when making seed bombs is the ratio of five parts clay to one part seed and one part compost. Mix these together in a large bowl, slowly and carefully add water to combine them, then start to shape the mixture into balls. After about a day of drying they are ready to be thrown into abandoned lots or larger areas of land that has gone to the “weeds”!
Photos Gina Ferazzi/LA Times
I hope this will inspire you to think about areas in your neighborhood you can seed bomb. It really is a fun way to interact with your environment, and as long as the plants you are bombing are natives, you won’t be doing any harm!
Have you ever guerrilla gardened? Is there an area in your community that could use some attention? Let’s meet in the comments and see if we can’t beautify the world, one seed bomb at a time!
Next week I have a fun project to share with you all! Until then, happy gardening!!!
Caroline Finnegan owns Ladybug Landscaping, a full service organic landscaping company. based in CT. She is a NOFA accredited landcare professional and when not designing gardens can be found rearranging her furniture or out at a flea market finding new goodies. She almost always has dirt under her nails.