Getting Started

A few weeks ago, a fellow blogger asked if I’d started on the spring garden as yet, which given our cold, gray skies, hadn’t even been given a thought.  The organic gardening stores hadn’t started hawking their wares yet – normally my cue to get started.  Then my neighbor awesomely presented me with a massive amount of seeds for my birthday, which I am now obligated to successfully bring to fruition.

I know a few folks that start their seeds indoors in the late winter but all the information ever shared with me on the subject indicates a rather tedious, involved, and expensive process requiring lots of space.  There are discussions about grow lights, essential-nutrients, grow cells, and basements have been remodelled into growing facilities.  It’s enough trying to find space to over-winter my non-hardy plants so I just figured, “forget that – leave that to the professionals and just buy the seedlings!  There’s no space to house all that and I’m not investing in grow lights!”

So how am I going to successfully bring those gifted seeds to fruition?   By applying small scale processes.  First, I layed out a plan of what our spring garden and summer garden should provide, re-read my books on Square Foot Gardening (SFG) and adapted my plan to available space based on the plants we’d like to have and how much growing time we’re likely to be blessed with (i.e. the amount of weeks between the last and first frost dates).  Some of the plants will be direct sown into their spots (i.e. carrots, radishes, peas) while others will be started indoors and then transplanted based on the last frost date (i.e. leafy greens, tomatoes, zucchini); some will be succession planted and others will be fixed.

SFG principles eradicate the need to start dozens of one plant and requiring a huge amount of space to house them until their ready for transfer.  I simply look up how much can be planted in a square foot (i.e. 16 carrots, 8 pea plants, 1 tomato plant), determine the amount of plants required based on production level and then I double the amount of seeds I start to allow for choosing the strongest for transplanting.  So we’d only need one each of a massive producers like cucumber or zucchini; thus, I’ll plant two seeds of each and only transplant the healthiest later.  Also, since I’m staggering the planting dates, all of the seeds aren’t being planted the same time requiring a basement laboratory.

All that having been said – I’m late!  Last frost date for my area is March 11 – 20 and my Sweet Chocolate Paprika (sweet pepper) should’ve been started 7 weeks prior as it needs 19 weeks til harvest.  Oh well, we’ll do the best we can.

If you’ve been playing around with the idea of starting a garden or getting an allotment, I would love to encourage you to do so – it’s SOOOO much fun and is one of the best parts of my day!  Pam (another fellow blogger) posted a great 5 step checklist on the subject; maybe it’ll help in your decision-making process!

About A Bahamian In Austria

I am a Bahamian woman, married to an Austrian man, who's been freshly transplanted to Vienna. I started writing this blog when a dear friend insisted that I had to write down my experiences. At best it'll update my buddies on my crazy-going-ons and at least, it'll keep me from stalking them online (LOL). I hope you enjoy :D
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11 Responses to Getting Started

  1. Roni says:

    Great post! Your garden looks off to a great start. Jealous of your orchid. Mines dying 😦

  2. Hi!
    Oh no, I’m sorry to hear about your orchid. My first died as well; this is the second and I conducted quite a bit of research (including Youtube: MissOrchidGirl is a good one) to figure out their needs.
    I’m really happy with the current state of the garden although there’s still a bit of work to be done and I’m super excited about this season! Hope your weather clears up soon – have you started your seeds yet?

  3. I so need to get started. We were gifted a whole bunch of seeds and I can’t wait to get going. It is warming up here in Minnesota but we never plant out side till May. Still going to try some hoop covers again this year so that made I can move them earlier.

    • Hey there! So nice to hear from you again.
      I’d love to get hoop covers as well. It should be effective for keeping the cats out of the highbed, the caterpillars off my greens, and protect the young plants from surprise frost – I think. Haven’t conviced the Hubster to build one yet though…I’m working on it, lol.

      • I have been training as a dog groomer and now have started my own business. It is fun, but lots of work. Haven’t done anything like it before.

        So what is your weather there? When can you plant outside?

      • Congratulations on your new career! Our weather currently wavers between sunny, cool Spring days and overcast bitter late-Winter days – perfect for Spinach & Chard to stand unprotected in the highbed, not so great for young Lettuce plants. Mar 11-20 is our reported Last Frost and it seems Winter is determined to hold out until the very end of his season. I think I might wait until April to put the seedlings out, just to be sure.

      • So you are about a month ahead of us. We are having unusually warm weather right now but I wouldn’t trust it. We could still have major snow storm. Our last frost date is mid May.

      • Wow, that’s late! Where are you?!

      • Southern Minnesota USA. We are zone 4b…do you have planting zones there? We have very long days in the summer so we are able to make a crop of most veggies.

      • Not that I’m aware of; finding the last Frost Date is difficult enough. I try to compare to American zones based on placement but there are so many other factors to consider (variant airflow, temps, and structures…ie. mountains, forests, rivers, etc). I can only try, observe, and adjust.

  4. Pingback: Spring, where art thou? | mimie's microcosmos

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