See(d)ing the Future

tomato plants

I am so excited about our garden this spring. I have such high hopes and anticipation of what it could look like, and the bounty that it could potentially produce. I am most excited about the possibility of sharing with others.

Somewhere in the beginning of the winter season, I got busy making my garden plans. I knew that with organization, patience, a bit of hardwork and determination we’d hopefully exceed last year’s spring harvest. With that being the case, I set out to organize my thoughts by doing some much needed research.

First, I took out our remaining seeds from 2020. I needed to know what we had, and what we still needed. Then, I compiled a list of what we wanted to grow. If I had the seeds, I placed a mark near it. If I didn’t, I left it blank. I then went on a virtual scavenger hunt to figure out when each of these vegetables and fruits needed to be planted. It did not take me long in my search before I realized there was a much easier way to track down the information I was seeking.

When I stumbled upon https://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-calendar, I could not contain my excitement. I know it sounds corny, but I was elated. I couldn’t believe that all of my planting desires and unanswered planting start-date questions were answered in one convenient area. After typing in our area code, I was presented with a list of planting dates. Next to each plant there were three columns: start seeds indoors, plant seedlings or transplants, plant seeds outdoors. Going down my list, I wrote down the new-found information, so that I would easily have it on hand.

Satisfied with my progress, I tabled the newly acquired information choosing to focus on making sure the garden area we envisioned using would be plantable when we were ready to begin. Ready, or not, here we come! Actually…. If it wasn’t ready, we wouldn’t be either… A successful garden hinged on the very foundation of having viable land in which to plant.

After a few phone calls, and a couple of quotes, we had a local tiller come out to our place and ready our 48×50 plot. Nearing the end of the work, he did something we had not asked him to do. He found our water line!

Knowing where it is now is a good thing. Suddenly having that water line spew water out because it’s been cracked by the weight of a large machine is not. Not knowing where the water shut off was, because the water company decided not to put it on our property is also not a good thing. (Rest assured my husband knew where it was.) As more and more water sought refuge outside of its dark PVC home, my nerves followed suit. I had no idea how much water would be lost due to the damage, and saw dollar signs flash before my eyes. My worry was no match for the results, though. They were grossly overestimated.

I was assured the water loss was minimal, so very little unexpected money would “flow” from our pockets. Our contractor went out of his way to not only cap the break, but put in a water pump in that exact spot at no additional cost to us! Not only was he helping out novice homesteaders in their garden attempts, but successfully created a great moment out of a bad situation. God is so good! It’s so amazing the things that He can do! On top of having easy access to a water supply near our garden space, we now know where our line is for future exploits/needs!

Last weekend, my family and I ran to Lowe’s to grab a shelving unit and lights for starting our seeds. Once most of our children were tucked into bed, my husband and I got started on different tasks. He and my son, Landon, built the unit some of our seeds would soon come to know and love while snuggled up in their peat pellet beds.

While those two labored over the detailed instructions to their project, Skylar and I sorted seeds according to type. After sorting, I pulled out my notes on the best planting dates for vegetables. I then proceeded to arrange them into three categories. The first two were placed into labeled bags: Start seeds inside late January/early February, and Start seeds inside late February/early March. The third bag I labeled: Start seeds outdoors Feb-March.

This organization helped so much, because once I sorted the seeds by planting date, I put them in the correct gallon bag. Pulling the January/February bag out, I then proceeded to grab the seeds from this bag that needed to be seeded right away or I would lose our inside window. (If they were not planted soon, they would not have the weeks needed to fully develop before transplanting them outside would be required.) Peppers (both heat and sweet), oregano, rosemary, and tomatoes made the short list.

Using a Burpees 72 Cell Greenhouse Seed Starting Kit, we carefully followed the instructions. Working together, my husband and I seeded the cells and put them under grow lights purchased from Lowe’s for this very purpose. In the days that followed I would find myself checking the growth status multiple times a day, scrutinizing the soil for an emergent color of green, unrealistically searching for a change that would undoubtedly not be there. Too soon. I had to be patient…

It took four days. Four agonizing days. But, we have sprouts! Our little oregano and tomato sprouts did not disappoint! I’m so excited watching our little sprout babies grow! The most exciting thing about planting seeds is watching them develop from seeds to plants WITH my children. They seem just as entertained as my husband and I at the plants’ progress. And it’s great, because we are JUST getting started. The spring planting season has officially begun!

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