Our 2021 Garden: preparing to start shallot seeds

With our bulb onions already starting to show sprouts (so quickly!) I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about getting the shallot seed started, too. With how dry the loose peat in the K-cups are in the middles, this time I wanted to make sure the peat was thoroughly saturated before putting them into the planting trays.

After looking at what we had available that is cat proof, I settled on reusing a container from cheese balls that we would sometimes get at Costco. I’ve been keeping the containers like these, in various sizes, to cut open and use as cloche in the garden in the spring, but they are coming in very handy in other ways! We don’t actually buy these treats very often, which means that at this rate, I’m using them up pretty fast!

At least for this, I don’t have to cut it apart, so it will still be usable when it’s done. Because the peat is so very dry and fluffy, I made sure to scoop quite a bit into the container, filling it to just under half full.

Then it was time to add water. The arrow in the above image is the water line! The peat just floated on top.

It took a while to mix the water into the peat. Even when I thought I was done I’d uncover another dry clump of peat!

Then it was time to cover it, to keep the cats out.

They were very interested in the process. It the few seconds it took me to put the mixing spoon down and pop the lid on the containers, Saffron was pulling at the spoon, trying to drag it away!

Once it was set aside to sit for a while, before we can see if it needs more water or not, I checked the space I had in the big aquarium. How many egg flats would I be able to fit inside? One, for sure, but would I be able to fit two?

Yes!!! Each tray holds 30 eggs, so I’ll have close to the same number of potential seedlings as the seed tray the bulb onion seeds are in.

The next question was, what to put under them to support them when they need to be moved?

Handily, I had a piece of leftover rigid insulation that was large enough to fit both trays. So I cut it in half, and we’ll be able to move them around independently, even after the cardboard has started to get soft.

I don’t have anything I can use as a drain tray that will fit, unfortunately. If I did, I would be keeping them watered from below. Ah, well. We’ll manage!

Since I was checking sizes, anyhow, I checked to see if these would fit in the 20 gallon, for when we start the bunching onions. One tray does fit, but it’s a bit too snug. We would not be able to lift it out again later, without problems.

But that’s okay. When my brother and his wife picked up groceries for us, there were no flats of eggs available, so they got us 2 packs of 18 eggs. Those will fit, plus I have long, narrow scraps of the rigid insulation I can put under them, to support the bottoms when it’s time to lift them out of the aquarium.

This is going to work out rather well!

Also, that magnificent tail in the above photo is Fenrir, sitting on the light fixture. She did not approve of my activities! 😀

For now, it looks like I’ll need to add more water to the peat, so I will probably leave it to continue soaking overnight, and plant the shallots tomorrow.

What a fun and cheerful thing to do, to keep us thinking of summer on a cold, cold day! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

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