Thursday, April 1, 2010

Panic Sets In

This morning I was examining my tomato seedlings and all but 4 of the 60 germinated! (I'll post a comprehensive list of varieties and germination rate soon.) They are starting to get their first set of true leaves and are looking a bit leggy (wish it was me looking leggy instead) so I'll need to repot them this weekend. I only have one grow light, so I hope that the grow light plus some window light will be enough to keep them happy while they're indoors. I'm not quite sure when to start hardening them off - maybe next weekend? Of course, this means that they are growing (which is a good thing), so not only will they need temporary pots, but permanent containers, soil, and tomato cages as well and that means I'll be shelling out a bit more dough. I need to calculate everything I've spent so far, but I'm really hoping the veggies pay for themselves this year!

Also on my mind is the sole raised bed that will be used for squash and melons. I checked planting dates for my zip code this morning, and the recommended dates for summer squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins (the cukes and pumpkins will need containers also) is April 5-12, which means I'll be planting those next weekend. Unfortunately it looks like the mystery seedlings won't have time to grow into much before the squash takes over. The recommended dates for melons are April 12-19, but I'll probably go ahead and plant them on the 11th along with everything else. And while looking at the dates, I realize that I MISSED the optimal planting date for my beans - it was March 29th! I was entirely unaware, but I think they'll be okay for planting next weekend as well. Next year I'll be more intentional about my planting dates.

There is so much to do and it always seems like spring is the busiest time of year (until fall rolls around and then I'll claim that there is absolutely no busier time known to man). Once everything is in its home, gardening will only take a few minutes of my time each day. Unless I get those bumper harvests I'm crossing my fingers for.. Then I'll get to spend more time in the kitchen preserving (which I absolutely love).

Which brings me to another point. I'm looking for a comprehensive day planner. Something to keep track of gardening dates along with all of my other commitments. Month-at-a-glance with a full page per day for tasks that can be replaced every year. Permanent address book and birthday pages. Bonus points if it includes space for menu planning and grocery lists. Plus - it needs to be cute AND fit in my purse. Do you have any suggestions?

7 comments:

Bangchik said...

A planner?.. if you are keen in designing yourself with simple excel and print out the size you need, that will help. Oh, my planner is very much the blog itself....

Annie's Granny said...

My dollar store planner, at 50-cents, was really neat, but you'd need a really large purse ;-) I made up a three year planner that I've never printed out. I forget to enter stuff in it, but the concept is great. Each page is just one day with entries for three different years.

I've been thinking about the mystery seeds. Did you mulch with grass, or do clippings fly over into your garden bed? That first one does look a bit like grass seedlings, but it's hard to tell from the photo.

Caffeinated Mom said...

Bangchik - Thanks for the suggestion! I searched for planner templates and found several free downloads I like.. some are even designed specifically for square foot gardening!

AG - My husband jokes that I need a planner with a decade-at-a-glance page. I bet I could find a template for that!!

We don't mulch with grass, but it's possible that clippings could fly into the bed after mowing.. and the seedlings do resemble grass to me.. Is it possible that I could have grass sprouts, even though the grass has never gone to seed?

And Sow My Garden Grows said...

Wow - Great job! The hard work will all pay off I'm sure. The hardening off process was a lot for me at first - just moving them twice daily and remembering with 2 kids was work. They are so fragile these seedlings! Where do you check planting time by zip code? I'd love to know! I can't wait for planting time here :)

Sylvana said...

Your planting times are a lot sooner than mine! Although last year I did get a lot of things in the ground by the middle of April, most things they recommend waiting until Mem. Day. I like to push boundaries - so that is far too late for me to wait ;)

I never got the hang of hardening-off. My plants end up getting the old do-or-die :)

Erin said...

You had me with the planner thing until you mentioned that you wanted it to fit in your purse, LOL! I just started hardening off my seedlings yesterday. They have been repotted twice and are in their final size before moving to the garden, yay! They are taking over the house!

Caffeinated Mom said...

And Sow My Garden Grows: You can search for planting dates by zip code here: http://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-dates/GA/Atlanta

I'll admit it - I can't promise that my seedlings will get to go outside twice a day.. I'll consider the venture a success if I stay on top of their outdoor time once every day!

Sylvana - This will be my first attempt at hardening off.. I hope I don't fail miserably, although do-or-die is more my style!

Erin - Two pots! Those toms are keeping you busy - and I can imagine that they are taking over your house!! I'll just repot mine once and then I'll move them to their final containers. And by the way - I don't carry a small purse by any stretch of the imagination! Really, I'm looking for something about 8.5 x 5.5...