Day 1: Sowing the seeds, or “throwing the seeds”

13 Sep

North facing planters

North facing planters

It’s Sunday September 13th, and I’m driving to Home Depot with vegetable seeds in mind. “Where do I get vegetable seeds in September?” If you’re a real gardener, you are likely face palming yourself already at anyone trying to find seeds in September. And you’re right to be concerned because surprise, surprise, Home Depot had no seeds. In fact, when I asked the garden centre guy for seeds, he said, “Seeds?!”.

Ok woah, back the garden truck up Vanessa! I guess, I should back up and tell you a little bit about where I am and all that geographic information vital to gardening before I jump into the seeds. Read on…

Vancouver, BC

I live in the gorgeous west coast of Vancouver BC, Canada. We have temperate temperatures, ocean and mountain vistas on most all sides, and beaches lining our rocky coasts. Winter is about two months long with temperatures rarely dropping below -10 degrees C. Rain however is heavy and long, with literally hundreds of days of rain, though our summers are glorious and dry with temperatures always hovering between a comfortable 20-26 degrees C. Like many west coast cities, we have great weather for growing stuff in general (minus the fact that I could probably kill it). From what I hear, vegetables can be grown almost all year round because of our mild weather. (More on Vancouver climate stats)

Back to the Seeds

So after an unsuccessful hunt for seeds at Home Depot, I attempted a more boutique garden shop in my neighborhood, Figaro’s Garden. To my delight, they carried a whole wall of West Coast seeds. West Coast seeds specializes in varieties that are suitable for our rainy and temperate climate. My choices were based mostly on what I like to eat and thought would be easiest to grow in my backyard. I toted home these certified organic varieties:

  • Carrots – Yaya Pelleted

    West Coast Seed Packets

  • Carrots – Amstrong
  • Mescluns Salad Greens
  • Chinese Greens – Mibuna Green Spray
  • Butterhead/Bib Lettuce
  • Olympia Spinach
  • Rhubarb Swiss Chard
  • Rainbow Tuscan Kale
  • Lacinato (Black Tuscan) Kale
  • Red Ace Beets

The lady at the garden shop told me that most of these varieties (especially any salad, kale and chard varietals) would be great for sowing in the fall. I heard hardy and easy to grow and I was sold. Carrots and beets, she said, would likely not grow to maturity since the first frost would come too early. This only meant that we’d have to eat them young! No complaints, since baby carrots are more tender and sweet when young. Mmm… baby carrots! Again, sold.

So home bound I went with my little baby seeds.

Preparing the garden

South facing planter

South facing planter

My backyard is made up of mostly 2 large raised planters, about 6×20 ft large each. They initially had flowers in them, but guess what, I killed them! So they were plucked and left empty for months. A third of one planter is already filled with summer tomatoes. We have about 4 varieties of cherry tomatoes (varieties of which I do not know), and a plant that surprised us with large almost beefsteak like tomatoes.

The planters have been newly fertilized with manure about a month ago, so the soil has had time to mix and get friendly with the new organic matter. I assume this is probably good for vegetables?!

First thing I did was loosen up the soil with my trusty little hoe. I then dug little troughs about a feet wide. Yes, I used my own size 7 foot as a measure! 🙂

Sowing the seeds, or “throwing the seeds”

Mesculan Salad Greens

Mesculan Salad Greens

Up to this point you’re thinking, hey she sounds like she knows what she’s doing. I play a good part, yes, but the test is in the planting.

Like many novices, I’m impatient. But I do like to read instructions! Reading instruction quickly though is a problem, especially when I really don’t know what I’m doing.

Most of the packages said the following:

Sow seeds 2cm (1″) apart in show rows 45cm (18″) apart. Cover lightly. Space plants 30-40cm (12-16″) apart.

I interpreted this as “put seeds 45cm apart and cover lightly”. So I threw 5-6 seeds into hole about 45cm apart from each other. Woops, wrong!

Husband came out and asked “what are you doing?”.

I replied, “sowing seeds”.

“You mean throwing seeds, right?”

Apparently, randomly throwing seeds into a pit is not the correct way to grow vegetables! Husband explained that the instructions meant to place a single seed about 2cm apart in a row 45cm long. Essentially a long line of seeds.

Hey a novice mistake, right?!

I remedied the situation by putting a line of seeds down, though my cluster in pits were already covered by soil, so I shall see how my lettuce mosh pit will grow.

After correctly sowing all my seeds in rows as per instructions, I lightly misted the soil to keep them moist.

By now it was dark out and the germination process was to begin. My first day of vegetable gardening complete!

Now, the waiting game… grow my babies, grow!


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