Seed Starting and Cold Frames

March is the time to get out all our seed packets that we ordered over the winter months.
If you are lucky enough to have a green house then this makes it even easier! But for those of you (like myself) that start your seeds under grow lights or by a sunny window,it is time to get all your supplies ready for planting. I recently read on organicgardeninfo.com about planting seeds by the moon calendar. It states that planting seeds by the moon will increase the speed and success rate of germination. I am quite curious about this technique and plan to try this. Now, if you log onto the website, with your seeds by your side, you can identify which level of germination your seeds are. For instance, I have Artichoke seeds(I am trying again this year) and they are considered long germination, meaning the seed takes between 8-21 days to germinate. So, I am to plant these seeds on or within 7 days of the full moon, which is March 27th. My pumpkin seeds are considered short germination, taking between 1-7 days to germinate and to start them on or within 7 days of the new moon. I will keep you all posted on my success.

This year my husband promises to build me a cold frame. Cold Frames shelter plants from ice, snow and winter winds and heat up the soil whenever the sun shines. The soil will warm up much faster than open ground and hardy vegetables can germinate in the 50 F range. Traditionally gardeners use cold frames to harden off seedings started indoors(something I am planning on doing this year and posting my results). You can also sow seeds in a cold frame and transplant into the garden. The seeds can be started 6 weeks earlier than in the outdoor garden. You want to place your cold frame on the south side of a garage or dwelling. Motherearthnews.com/garden-with-coldframe has an informative piece on cold frames and also illustrations how to construct one. You can also purchase one already made from Walpole Woodworkers or mainegarden.com.  Best of luck with your seed planting and feel free to email me with any thoughts or questions.

Hello Fellow Gardeners!

Well, our furry friend Punxsutawney Phil lead us to believe that winter would be over! I don’t think I will be very welcoming to his furry little relatives this spring when burrowing into my gardens.

The good news is, the snow does act as an insulator for our plant materials, the bad news-last weeks blizzard with heavy wet snow did damage to alot of our ornamental trees and shrubs. The best advice I have is to leave them alone, do not attempt to go out and brush the snow from the branches. Let our dear friend Mother nature do that. By allowing the snow to melt from the branches and shrubs that are embedded in the snow on its own helps reduce future breakage of the plant. Believe me when I tell you I have to hold myself back from picking my severely bent Limelight Hydrangea tree out of the snow and back to it’s upright position.

And for those of you with chickens… If you are used to letting them free range, unless you shovel out an entire area for them, best to keep them in their pen or coop. Your worry about their feet getting frostbite or their combs. It does make cleaning the coop a daunting process.

I find myself devouring over the seed catalogs and gardening websites, making lists and editing my journal as I sit by the fire, so I guess its good to have some down time now, because soon enough we will be busy little bees. And speaking of bees, don’t forget about the Rhode Island Flower show this week at the Rhode Island Convention Center-I can’t wait to smell the flowers and mulch!

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