Saturday, April 17, 2010

Container Garden, the Beginning: Seed to Seedling in 48 Hours

Now that Mother Nature has stopped being such a bitch all winter long, and gone back to acting more like a proper and friendlier lady, I'm pretty excited about getting my container garden growing. The weather has been crazy fantastic here, earlier in the season than is usual for a streak of 80-degree days, the upside of global warming. Yay, greenhouse gases!

So anyhow, last Tuesday I got busy repurposing some of my collection of done-with yogurt cups for starter seeding what (hopefully) will end up good eats later on. I suppose I could have just gone ahead planting them in their final resting places; I've got the containers set up and ready to go, it just seemed overwhelming such tiny seeds in such giant buckets! Also it allows me to bring them in overnight if need be, since the Great Mother still occasionally relapses into being spiteful and frosty this early on.

As it is typical of me, once I got everything seeded I felt let down afterward, with just so many cups-o'-dirt to show for it. No wonder why way back when I used to do the common sort of gardening (the less creative, stuck-straight-in-the-ground kind), I always opted for starter plants over seed whenever I could; I need instant gratification, terrifically impatient about most everything, and all I had there were some throwaways filled up with muck.

It didn't help much that the flipside of the packets said I'd have to wait anywhere from 7 to 14 days for the seeds to germinate. Whatever, par for the course, such a long time to sit tight, twiddling green thumbs. So imagine my surprise when less than 48 hours later, Thursday morning, behold... smidgens of green from the iceberg lettuce, and by early that afternoon, also a couple of cucumber nubbins! By Friday, three days in, the zucchini started taking a stab at daylight.

Of course I am happy about it, actually growing stuff already, but how come so quickly? All I can think to attribute it to is the amazing dirt I dug up for planting, from in the wood behind my home nearby the creek running through it. The regular soil closer to the house is way too clayish; I tried it earlier, and all I managed from that experiment is making too many brick paperweights. I can't afford buying any good stuff, nor even the not-so-good, being literally "dirt poor" for now, but that out back looked so black and rich I figured I'd shovel it up.

I'm supposing it's mostly natural compost, really, what with so many fallen leaves, motley foliage and whole trees, all rotted over umpteen years, plus the cow and horse shit down there, too, nature's smörgåsbord. A bacteria buffet, a fungal feast, a crawler's canteen, and most importantly, free black gold for me! Judging from such pronto results, I can only hope that this bodes well for continued growth and production, but only time will tell. So far, the rest of the fruit and veg hasn't caught on, but I can be more patient with them, now that I've been appeased for awhile with some already sprouted, closer to ready for their big boy buckets!

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