Oh my. Oh myyyy. People, it’s that time.
The most wonderful time of winter. And I’m not talking about the holidays, because while those are certainly fun, they aren’t nearly as much fun as THAT time.
The time when a few cold hardy, early spring-bearing vegetables can be started indoors.
Does anyone else get this excited about starting seeds indoors?! My glee cannot be contained. If you’re like me at all (and since you’re reading a homesteading blog, I’m pretty sure we’re at least sort of alike), starting seeds is MAJOR! Winter can be rough for me–I’m not a fan of the cold, I really am not a fan of being cooped up inside, and I especially dislike the fact that I can’t grow anything.
Except for a few herbs I brought indoors in the fall, I am a plant-less gardener! While we’re on that topic, though, am I like the only person who can’t grow rosemary?! Seriously. My poor rosemary plant grew great during the summer, outside in one of the raised beds, but it’s really not diggin’ being indoors. One trick I’ve learned, though, is that misting the plant once or twice a week with room temperature water does wonders. Mine has perked up A LOT since I’ve started this practice. This is because rosemary likes to pull moisture in from its’ leaves. My white sage plant has also responded well to this, though I’ve no idea if that’s normal. Check out this article here for an invaluable guide to growing rosemary indoors.
Back to the matter at hand, though!
Gardening is soothing deep down in my soul, man. It’s the bee knees. So you can imagine just how grateful I am to those veggies that prefer a little cold to grow. These plants are almost ready to be harvested when most are just getting established.
So far, I’ve gotten quite a few started from seed:
- Spinach (20)
- Brussels Sprouts (16)
- Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage(8)
- Brunswick Cabbage (8)
- De Louviers Endive(12)
- Batavian Full Heart Endive (12)
I actually have about double the number for each plant listed, as I always sow two seeds in one “pod” in case one/neither come up. I may divide them instead of getting rid of both. I always read to keep the one that is growing better, but why kill off a plant that wants to grow?! If I can divide it without comprising them both, I surely will!
I’ve already asked my Dad if he wants to take some of my starts, because there is literally no way I’ll be able to use them all. Even if half make it to harvesting time, that is A LOT of produce. And I gotta be honest, other than the spinach, I’m not too sure that the rest preserve well. I know cabbage is great for sauerkraut, which I’ll surely whip up. But the rest? NO clue.
That’s how I roll, people. I figure it out as I go along. I’m working on being more organized, I swear! Until then, I will plant approximately 463720203 plants before knowing exactly what I plan to do with them.
If all else fails, I do plan on donating a lot of the produce that can’t be used on the homestead to the local food pantry or a shelter. Even if disaster strikes and I lose a lot (which all gardeners know can and will happen at any time!), I will be donating and giving back to the community in some way. I am totally about that!
So far, my germination rate is great! Pretty much all my seeds have started to sprout. The only real issue I’m having is getting the humidity right. I lost a few to a bit of mold because the soil is retaining too much water. So I’ve been tweaking my technique and I think I have it mostly figured out.
Does anyone else always feel like a total seed starting failure every season? Is it just me? No matter how many I successfully get plants started that thrive, the first week I always feel like a complete novice without a clue as to what I’m doing.
There was also that incident last year when deer got through our fence and decimated an entire garden of plants I’d started myself. I have anxiety issues stemming from it, I think.
Oh well! I shall continue to start plants willy-nilly and harves the fruits if my labor!
Keep it real, y’all!