As the days pass us by, it just gets one day closer to gardening season. Boy oh boy, we can’t wait to garden again! Last year was our first time ever gardening, and like I have said before, we have learned a lot along the way. We had many plants kick the bucket on us in our first year, but that is because we did not really know what in the heck we were doing. We just stuck those little plants into the ground, watered them, and hoped for the best.
This year, things are starting off differently. We know that a grow light should not be on 24/7, and we corrected this immediately this year. We give our little plants light during the day, and shut off the grow lights at night. We have learned that plants need to sleep too. We have also learned that once you transplant your seedlings into bigger peat pots after they have outgrown the seed tray, that they cannot be placed too close together. Air needs to circulate around the peat pots so mold does not grow on the pots. If mold does start to grow on the peat pots, it can damage your plant, and also spread to the others. Not a good thing.
When it came time for us to transplant our seedlings into bigger pots, we did use peat pots, but then I remembered that we had a lot of nice plastic pots saved in the garage from the prior year when we bought plants for the garden. I did start most of our little plants into the peat pots, but then decided to change a lot of them into these nice plastic pots. Now, I have noticed that by using these larger plastic pots, that no mold has grown on any pots, but I have also spaced them out nicely on the table so air can still circulate around them. All in all, it is a learning process and we are so glad that what we have learned along the way, is now paying off. Our plants are much healthier this year, than last year.
To our amazement we noticed yesterday that a couple of our Flat Dutch cabbage plants are getting huge leaves on them. We went “WOW” when I headed down to check on them in the morning. I started laughing and said that the next time I check on them, that a little cabbage head will probably be on them! Not really, but by the way they are getting bigger, it would not surprise me.
We still have a month to go to keep these plants growing until we plant them into the garden. We need to watch for when our last frost day is, then we will be able to take the plants outside for a few minutes each day to get them used to the sun. Another huge lesson we learned. We did not do this last year, and it killed our plants, not all of them, but nonetheless, it killed quite a few. The plants went into shock and died on us.
Plants need to take a few days to a week to get used to the sun and different temps. Each day, you take all the plants outside for just a few minutes at a time (about 15 minutes on the first day, then increase the time outside each day), until you have done this for about a week. After that, you can plant your nice veggies into the garden. I know what you are thinking… that is a lot of work! It most definitely is, but hardening off your plants is a must do in order for them to succeed in the garden. Just for our tomato plants alone, we have about 18 plants! I am going to have to get a large try to carry all of these outside for sure!
We also have many green and red pepper plants too and they are coming along nicely. By the time it is ready to plant them in the garden, they will be nice and big and have a better chance of survival. I can’t wait to pick home grown peppers, because we use red peppers in our dinners almost every night. And, this year I will be able to make some awesome stuffed green peppers for dinner too! I know that Roy is real happy that I know how to cook, as he enjoys all of my creations! For example, the other night I marinated some chicken split breasts in Marzetti’s Balsamic Vinegar and sprinkled some oregano on them. They marinated for a few hours before they headed into the oven, and boy oh boy did they turn out awesome. I think Roy has a new favorite dinner now! Marinating your chicken does make the world of difference in the taste of your meal!
Gardening is a lot of work, but once you start reaping what you sow, it all makes everything worth it! I am dreaming of the day this summer when I do my first post on my homemade salsa! I am sure that it will not last long, as I am a salsa junkie! With the amount of tomato plants that we have, there will be a good chance of an over-abundance of salsa this year for sure! And, if you live anywhere near us, you could also benefit from our garden crop this year, as we love to share!