This morning, when checking the soaking carrot seeds, I FINALLY spotted some roots!
For those who are new to following this blog (welcome!), this video shows the technique I am trying.
The first thing I needed to do was make the conrstarch gel. I noticed in the comments that people found the ratio in the video made too thick a gel, so I used 2tsp cornstarch to 1 cup of water. I made more than I needed, since I figured if it worked well for the carrots, I would use it for other things with very small seeds.
It took a while to cook the mixture down to gel state, and I think if I do it again, I would increase the cornstarch a little bit more.
Once the gel was cooked and cooling down, we started getting the new garden bed ready.
I had already raked the soil to even it out, and we gave it a thorough soaking. Then I added a bit of peat to each section and raked it out evenly. After the above photo was taken, it was given another thorough watering.
The gel took a while to cool down so, in between getting things ready outside, I put some of the gel into slide lock bags to cool down after. Then put them in the fridge, and finally putting them in the freezer. They didn’t have to get cold, but they at least had to be cool enough not to harm the seeds.
I prepped 4 bags. One for each variety of carrots, plus one for the parsley.
The instructions for the parsley said to let the seeds soak for a half hour, so that was done while I worked on the carrots. I used a measuring cup to hold the bag of gel up.
Also, the cats somehow managed to knock one of the dishes of carrot seeds upside down. 😦 It was the deep purple variety. I was able to salvage most of the seeds, but there was a fair bit of seed loss, too. 😦
Once the seeds were added, I squeezed out as much air as I could, then smooshed the package around to evenly distribute the seeds in the gel.
When it came time to plant the seeds, a corner was snipped off, to make like an icing bag, and the seeds were squeezed into the prepared soil in short rows. By the time that was all ready, the parsley had soaked long enough and those were planted, too.
I’m using a combination of techniques, and one of them is based on square foot gardening. Rather than long rows, they’re being planted in squares. I’ve got the carrots planted in alternating sections, and the parsley is in the middle of the group of three.
I found a roll of plastic in the basement (I think it’s for roofing), so we used some of that to cover and protect the seeds. Those will be removed as soon as sprouts can be seen.
The squares seem very close together, but there really is a fair bit of space in between the plantings.
Also, my daughter is a sweetheart.
She trimmed some branches and made labels for me. 🙂
The way things are looking, and using the square foot gardening method, we might be able to plant more here than originally planned. The three varieties of beets will go here, plus I ended up buying some kohl rabi. I don’t know if we’ll have much success with the fennel transplants; there really isn’t much improvement there. What few have sprouted can fit here. The parsley and fennel was originally going to be planted in the old kitchen garden, but I think we’ll continue to build up the soil in there and save that for next year.
Today turned out to be surprisingly hot, so we didn’t stay out for too long. We were forecast to hit 22C (71F) this afternoon, but we ended up reading 26C (78F). We will continue planting tomorrow. I think it is safe for us to start planting things that are supposed to wait until after the frost date. Looking at the long range forecast, we seem to have passed that point early.
Which reminds me. I was hoping to use the fire pit and burn barrel in the next while, so I checked the municipal website to see what the burn bad status was at. We are now on a total burn ban, which means no fire pits or burn barrels, either. That sure didn’t take long! And we still have standing water in the ditches and ponds. Ah, well.
The next few days are going to be very busy ones, as we get more things out into the gardens! I’m looking forward to using that soil auger to prep where we will be planting our giant sunflowers. 🙂 My mother also gave us some pumpkin seeds that were being given away for free at her local grocery store. They had tiny little envelopes, each with 3 seeds in them, and I had grabbed one, not realizing my mother had already included 2 packets in with a bag of stuff she’d prepared for me to take home. I don’t know what variety they are, but my mom tells me her town has annual pumpkin growing contests, so these might be a giant variety.
I think we’ll just plant them and see what we get! 😀
It should be interesting to see how our first year of gardening since we moved here will turn out. 🙂