The Garden Seedling Project, an Update

Some time ago I started seeds in damp paper towels ( http://lifeintheitalianhills.com/february-the-shortest-and-longest-month-of-the-year/) on the kitchen counter.

Overall a success, I’ve planted many of the tiny plants directly in the garden, but a cold front a couple of weeks ago killed my cucumbers and okra. Good thing I didn’t plant them all! Some seeds just didn’t germinate at all. No tomatillos this year, boo hoo.

tomato-seedlings-in-greenhouse

2 weeks ago I transferred tomatoes and peppers to larger pots, and they are now strong enough to plant in the garden, I am so excited! I’m now starting new seeds in the kitchen in an effort at succession planting.

re-potted-tomato-plants

Yesterday I gave all 8 varieties of our heirloom tomato plants to Giuseppe and his family. Giuseppe owns a plant nursery and this year he’s growing enough tomatoes for his family and all his employees too in a strip of land along the river. I’ve got plenty more tomatoes to give to various other gardeners…I think that’s half the fun of starting your own seeds.

greenhouse

greenhouse-exterior

What did not do well in this experiment are the carrots, strawberries and the peas. Honestly, every year I fail at carrots. If I sow them directly, either the ants carry off the seeds, or the tiny roots just can’t make it through our clay soil. I continue to add organic matter into the soil, so maybe in a few years I’ll have a bed that’s soft enough for carrots. The radishes are popping out of the earth; I’m pretty sure it’s because our clay soil is just too hard for them.

Any suggestions?

radishes

Now the really big experiment this year is growing potatoes in bags. I saw a British YouTube video on this and was intrigued. Then, at dinner with our friends Richard and Gaby who live outside of London when I mentioned this idea their response was “we’ve been doing this for years, it works”

potatoes-growing-in-bags

So, we’ve got potatoes growing in whatever bags we can find.

Here’s the system:

Place the chitted potatoes in some soil in a bag (punch holes in the bag if it’s plastic) cover with soil, water. When the green shoots come up, keep covering with soil. The idea is that then the shoots will send off side runners that should in theory at least grow more potatoes on them.

A space saving idea that makes the potatoes easy to harvest. In theory at least.

I will keep you posted.

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