Baby Peas

A while back, we stopped at the Urban Farm Store to pick up a special pitchfork. I’ve always called it a sifting fork, because it’s the style we used to sift the shavings while cleaning horse stalls (which is like cleaning a cat box, only much bigger).  Online they seem to be called manure forks or stall forks.  They’re fantastic for picking up straw, leaves, etc. Anyway, none of that is really important. What’s important, is that Rex picked out a packet of seeds.

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After spending an inordinate amount of time communing with the chicks, he insisted on a packet of Super Sugar Snap Peas from Territorial Seed. Who was I to argue?  We planted his seeds (or, as he calls them, his baby peas) on February 20th. Six days later, they sprouted!  As Liisa says, peas are nearly instant gratification and perfect for kids.

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Four days later, they looked like this.

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Soon, his peas were climbing up the window, in search of tendril holds.  I staked them with BBQ skewers, but they soon surpassed those in height (image below is from March 9th) and we knew it was time for transplanting.  (They should have been transplanted prior to being so tall, but life got in the way a bit.)

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Finally, we moved them to their proper home.  The soil is a mix of local compost and organic potting soil.  I’ve given them a tomato cage to climb and Rex watered them with his new watering can.

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I’m excited to see his reaction when his baby peas grow up and sprout pods.

As a little aside… I used clothespins written on with a Sharpie pen for planting markers this year. They are working great! They clip on to the sides of the little starter pods and then are easily moved when the plants are transplanted. I found the idea online from a variety of sources. I marked mine with the name on one side and the seed ID code on the other. In the fourth image, you can see I’ve used them to mark the tomato starts next to the peas.

Peas and Light

I don’t know about you, but I’m already dreaming of spring, sunshine, and the gardening that comes with it.  The seed catalog is dog-eared and marked up, there are gardening books littered around the living room, and I’m spending way too much time on the Pinterest gardening boards.

I took a seed inventory a few weeks ago and visited nearly every gardening/urban farm store in town. (Two of them had chickens, one had shop cats, one had a shop dog.  Rex had a great time.)   I held myself back and only purchased a few packs of seeds to add to my collection.  Some of those seeds happened to be the ones I could plant first: peas! (I know, I know.  I’m a little early for my growing zone.  But I just couldn’t help myself. And yes, I know I could just direct seed them when the time comes, but I like starts so much more.)

I planted on January 19th and BEHOLD!  It’s alive! MUHAHAHHAHAHAHA!

wpid-IMG_20140126_114414.jpgCascadia Snap Peas (Uprising Seeds)

wpid-IMG_20140126_114407.jpgMaestro Shelling Peas (Territorial Seed Co.)

Want to check out my super fancy seed setup?

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I spared no expense with my dollar store bins, newspaper pots (I used this tutorial on YouTube), and recycled lamp that was destined for the Goodwill. I purchased some “natural spectrum” CFLs ($12 for a 2-pack) to give my little green babies some happy light and keep my power bill down. (Seedlings need at least 12 hours of light a day, and there’s no way we’re getting that yet.  Plus, all of my well-lit windows are not plant friendly, aka dog, cat, and kid accessible).

What are you growing this year?

Pining for Spring

Today was a dreary day, but we spent most of it inside, enjoying a nice Saturday together.  Now that the sun has set and I’m left to my own brain, I find myself feeling restless.  I’m ready to be outside.  To be going and doing and seeing.  I’ve already planned a road trip in my mind.  But this post isn’t about road trips.  It’s about looking forward to spring.

It’s about gardening.

(Don’t faint.)

Seeing as we are now one week into the new year, I thought it prudent to pull out my trusty (but not nearly used enough) garden guide.

This month it says to plan the garden.  Well, alrighty then.

I’ve already got garlic and onions planted and possibly sprouting.  (Is it too early?  Are those weeds?) But now I need to plan the rest of our food for the year.  As always there will be tomatoes and cucumbers.  I’m also planning to try for potatoes again.  Shelling peas are generally successful, but snap peas and green beans are yummier.  Lettuce always does well, but I forget to harvest it.  (I have been eating a lot more salad lately, so I think I’ll plant it anyway.)  Carrots are definitely in and I think I’ll try for some zucchini as well. Basil will happen indoors as well as maybe some dill and cilantro.

I think that will be the extent of my small garden.  I lost two beds last year and gained one, so my garden size is a bit diminished.  I think if I go any crazier, we’ll have to plant the garden in the lawn.

Things I wont be growing this year:

  • Corn – It requires too much room and I can get it from a local farm on the cheap.
  • Melons – When they’re in season are buy one, get one at the local farm stand.
  • Strawberries – The stand down the road picks them out back and sells them up front.
  • Peppers – I give up.  I’ll buy them from the farmers market.

What do you think?  Too ambitious?

(Now what did I do with my seeds from last year…?)