Navigation Bar

 photo Jane Richmond_zpsux4wawxl.png

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In the Garden // Sprouts


 I've started my first round of seeds indoors. Last year I sowed way too many seeds of each variety (I seem to do that every year), only to realize on transplant day that there is only so much room in the vegetable garden, I only need a few of each variety, and I don't live on a farm :) By the end of last years growing season I was bound and determined to be way more organized this year. So from the seed catalogue I also I ordered labels and a special wax pencil, I've made extensive spreadsheets to keep me on track and I've filed all of my seed packets in accordance to sowing times. 

...I've also planted only a few seeds for each variety.


After growing everything my heart desired last year many things proved to be not worth my time, not well suited to our plot, or problematic (our entire Brassica crop got mites and had to be pulled up and disposed of). This year I've decided to be really picky about what I grow with a major focus on tomatoes. I really like West Coast seeds because they are fairly local to us which means they share a similar climate to ours. They also offer varieties that are proven winners for coastal gardens, because it's a challenge that not every gardener faces I am really thankful for region specific varities :) I don't even want to talk about how sad the tomatoes were last year :( 


Elsie and I planted an entire row of peas mid February only to have every last sprout cleared by slugs! Argh, pests! I would love, love, love to hear how you keep your veggies safe from slugs! Anyone have useful tips?

20 comments:

  1. you are so unbelievably organized! i'm a little jealous! your garden is going to be lovely, i just know it! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will be lovely, especially if I have good friends to dig in the dirt with!

      Delete
  2. I planted my first round of seeds on Saturday! I use West Coast Seeds and Renee's Garden (her garden candy cherry tomatoes are so amazing! Also the little persian cucumbers.) As soon as it stops trying to snow (yes, it tried to snow in Vancouver this morning) I'll put in peas and spinach in the garden. I have slowly collected copper wire from Lee Valley (I have it on my Christmas list every year) that I wrap around these crops to try to discourage the slugs, and it works fairly well (though not 100%.) Make sure you don't have a lot of things nearby that the slugs can hide under ... eggs shells are also supposed to work but I have have limited success with them. I also think soil conditions factor ... we turned half our garden last year - a BIG turn ... dig down three feet sort of turn ... mix in manure and compost, and it was noticeable the difference it made - the plants were bigger and there were less slugs on that Side of the garden. We'll do the other half this year and see if that helps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Meghan! I really appreciate all of your tips. We didn't turn the soil last year because we wanted to see if it letting it be was beneficial. I will definitely turn the garden this year and see if it helps!!! I guess I should source some copper wire too, last year I couldn't even get the lettuce to grow because the slugs would eat the sprouts instantly, so annoying!!!

      It snowed here yesterday :) nothing major and not enough to stick to the ground but boy was it ever cold!

      Delete
  3. I'll be planting my first seeds since childhood any day now! Very excited. We only have a balcony, so I also need to be careful not to plant too many! Is that vermiculite on top of the compost? Do you recommend it? Can't find it in garden shop here in Germany, and don't want to order from the UK, but I think I can get it from a pet shop because it's used for reptiles. Hopefully it will be sterile enough. Do you use a special propagating compost mix or just normal? Also, (sorry, lots of questions!) do you put some pebbles / gravel for drainage in the bottom of the trays?

    Sorry for all the questions - I've never really done this before and I'm keen for it to go well. Sadly, all the bulbs I planted in containers on the balcony didn't survive the extreme cold spell we had here :(.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't use anything fancy for my sprouts, just a basic seed starting mix that you should be able to find at any gardening center. It's finer that potting soil and has everything that they need to get started.

      I start them off in trays with inserts and clear plastic domes over the top just until they sprout. I don't use anything in the bottom for drainage but the inserts have holes in the bottom and the trays are double layered (one tray with slits cut in the bottom sits in an identical tray with no holes so the plants are never sitting in stale water). I use a spray bottle set to a fine mist to water the seeds so that the soil doesn't get compacted.

      I've never done bulbs before but would love to one day grow garlic :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks! Me too on the garlic. Love to have it fresh rather than old stuff from supermarket. These were just snowdrops, daffs, crocuses and tulips. Only the tulips survived :(

      Delete
  4. You'll die when you hear this, but we have a resident garden snake. He leaves us alone, we leave him alone and we don't have slugs (or snails).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh, I would kill for a garden snake, it sounds like a great relationship!

      Delete
  5. I've always been inspired by your garden posts. I started my first garden this year, complete with indoor sprouts and seeds sown outdoors and made the same mistake of sowing way too many seeds (we too live in a small, rented space). I use beer to attract slugs (shallow dishes of whatever is cheapest set out here and there amongst the rows of lettuce, etc) and it cuts down on the damage, but is pretty gross clean up. I also put my egg shells around the plants like Meghan suggested, and coffee/tea dregs from the french press. I've had great success deterring them so far. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Either the slugs don't like the beer I buy or my traps are not to spec because I have had no luck with beer traps! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong because it's certainly the easiest and cheapest solution.

      Tell me more about the coffee/tea dregs? Do you mean you circle your crop with them and the slugs stay out?

      Delete
  6. We water the leftover grounds and tea leaves down so we can pour them right around the plants, as close as you can get. If you have seeds sowed, you can pour them right on top of where you planted. The slugs apparently don't like crawling on the sharp little grounds and stems (same idea as the eggshells) so it creates a pretty good barrier, but does take a few mornings' worth of drinking to get the whole garden covered. The grounds themselves stick around for quite a while, so once we put them down, we don't have to add more for a couple of weeks. I also recently heard from my mother that she uses the coffee grounds this way instead of fertilizer, so it will be beneficial to your soil if it doesn't keep the slugs away! Hope it helps. That's crazy about your beer traps, I always get way more slugs than I can handle :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your blog is really amazing with all the bits and pieces of information I can share with my friends and followers. Thanks and more power!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Get a Gardens Alive catalog! Their motto is: Environmentally responsible products that work. They have a product called Escar-Go! Nothing worse than putting such time, effort and money into a garden only to have pests clean it out! ~Jan

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow. You have no idea how incredibly jealous I am right now. Ohhh to live in BC. I won't be able to start my seeds until, like, June!! NL weather's the worst... :)

    Lesley
    http://byporchlight.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. If you want a ton of coffee grounds fast, stop by Starbucks. We have 5lb bags of used grinds available free for customers, although they're usually espresso grounds instead of brewed coffee grounds so they're a bit finer (not sure if the slugs would care, but who knows). The silver bags have 'for your garden' stickers on them - just ask if you don't see a bucket of them anywhere and they'll give you what they have on hand! People like to adjust the pH of their gardens with them, as well as deter slugs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohhhh, this is useful information since I am a regular at SB and I haven't been saving up my grounds. Thank you Amy!

      Delete
  11. Saw this today on pinterest and thought of you, more slug ideas:

    http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/thirty-five-pest-disease-remedies.aspx?utm_source=email&utm_medium=eletter&utm_content=20110704-remedies&utm_campaign=fine-gardening

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sounds like you are well organized. Definitely way ahead of me!
    Regarding your slugs, I have read that their... slime, for lack of a better word, reacts weird with copper and they don't like it. So I have put a simple circle of copper around my tomatoes and peppers to keep out the slugs. I don't know if it works, but I've never had a slug on those plants. I also planted my lettuce in a big pot last year to keep those plants, with all their layers, off the ground, and I did not have any slug problems there either. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete