Friday, December 28, 2012

Planting in January

     When I chose seeds in the past years, I made the same mistake many disappointed gardeners make.  I read the back of the package as if the back of the package knew something about me.  

     I could see the packet read time to maturity, 90 days (or more, depending on the seed).  What it should have said is, Hey, Carol!  These seeds will start and grow and you can transplant them in 6 to seven weeks, so why wait until the ground is warm when you can start them indoors and place them in a cold frame in a month then, transplant them into the garden or container two to three weeks later? huh? Why wait, Carol?  Also, since you live in Florida, why wait until it's too hot to grow anything anyway?

     Last summer, I was in a battle between sunlight and enough heat to cook an egg on the driveway when it dawned on me, it doesn't snow in Florida often enough to fret over it.  I could start plants from seed much sooner!  I could adjust the plants to get the proper sun, while they are still lightweight enough to move around and then place them in their harvest home when others are just buying their seeds.

     Of course the farther north you live, the longer your tender plants may be in cold frame or the later you might start the seeds, say in February.  Still, why wait until spring?  
examiner.comJanuary garden guide for Central Florida
     I have been to my local agriculture extension website and I find they too sug-gest the planting of seeds in the ground.  For a farmer, direct sewing makes sense, but for me, it is not necessary.  I have limited space and nosy neighbors.  I want the most bang for my buck and to be sure I don't lose tender plants to a sudden cold snap, I will start seeds indoors.  

     I have a window in a room that gets the afternoon sun through the bare branches of the trees that block the sun all summer.  This will give me a six to eight week window of sun.  It is not in the main traffic area and there is room to build a simple shelf or two to hold the seed starter trays.  I will use "L" brackets and two 1' x 10" planks.  I could start enough seeds to get into trouble with the H.O.A. when they go outdoors!  I can move the seedlings to a cold frame in a month, pull down the drapes and use the shelves for other projects till next year.
  Meanwhile, I have a potato and tomato project already started.  So, stay tuned, Potato and Tomato experiments to be posted soon and more information on the 'cold frame'.  Until then, look at this post from another blogspot, it's a well established blog on gardening. Mine will be smaller, but the experience and knowledge gained this year will be enormous!

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