Friday, March 6, 2015

Snow and Seeds...Come Hither, Spring

Living in Southern Indiana these past 5 years, we've gotten used to Spring starting early.  By the end of February, our 'cold' winter is usually done and things warm up to the 50s and beyond.  This year, however, we've had 2 sizable snows...the last weeks of February and again on March 4th.  We've had 8 snow days (public school) in the past 3 weeks, which is highly unusual!  So my desire for Spring is getting really strong.  I want to be OUTSIDE!  And I want to start seeing things grow.
For several weeks I've had my eye on a little early gardening project that Kevin of Garden Design shared on his blog.  You'll  find his excellent step by step instructions HERE.  So I saved some empty, clean milk jugs and bought some nice potting mix and a seed starter mix.  As the sun shines bright on this 33 degree Friday, I took the time to make this project come to life.

I prepared my 3 milk jugs per his instructions, leaving a hinge connecting the milk jug top to the bottom, with drainage holes and added about 3 inches of potting mix in the bottom, and an inch of seed starter mix on top.  I don't know if I needed the seed starter mix, so just go with a light, fluffy potting mix if that's all you have.  His tip for heating a Philips head screwdriver for poking holes in the jugs for drainage, worked like a charm.  I just used a lit candle for my heat source.  (Here's hoping hubby doesn't mind his Craftsman screwdriver getting the heat treatment!)  Then I put water over the dirt til it was well moistened and drained.

Next I got out my seeds.  This is a handy little idea for storing your seed packets...just use a small photo album and put a seed packet in each page window.  Works like a charm!

I chose these three seeds to plant, and followed Kevin's instructions.

Lastly, you close your little greenhouse using the hinge you left when you cut the jug.  And add 1-2 strips of duct tape to keep it cold.  Then, no matter how cold it is outside, you take your jugs outside and set them in a place where they will be able to get rain, snow, and sun.  (There's my dog, Gracie, who seems to get in many of my photos when I'm not looking!)  If there is a deluge of rain, you might want to put the caps back on the jugs temporarily.  As the weather warms, you loosen the duct tape and open the jugs for a few hours each day to let the seedlings benefit from the sunshine and cool breezes.  When your plants have sprouted, grown a bit, and it is safe weather-wise to move them into your garden, you cut a flap in the side of the base of the jug, and slide the dirt/plants square out.  Using a knife, cut them like brownies into sections to plant right into the garden.  They will already be 'hardened off' and ready for life in the great outdoors.

I'm hoping that before I even put these into the garden, I can pick a few leaves to put on my sandwich.  That's the best part of gardening...walking out and picking something fresh for a meal, right when you need it.  :)

Ready for Spring?  Got snow and cold?  No problem!  Try this little seed sowing method and let the gardening season begin!


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