We are not ready for spring. Very simply put: this is crunch time. We have seeds to order, potting soil to mix, bird netting to find, row covers to locate, and kitchen windows to clear for a landing. Of course, the prep work for the garden is great fun! A seemingly simple question like, “What sort of tomatoes do we want to plant?” sparks a passionate discussion about the mistakes we made in the garden last year, articles in Grit, Victory Gardens, salsa ingredients, and the joys of yellow tomatoes. By the time we tire of talking, we may not have even made a decision. Ahh… but it is fun to think about. Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out soon and then flood this blog with pictures of seedlings. Until then, here is some money-saving advice on starting seeds that needs no debate:
- Pick varieties of plants/seeds that will actually succeed in your area. Find a sunny spot (or use artificial light) where your new babies will not be disturbed and where the temperature stays between 65 and 70 degrees.
You can start seeds in all sorts of containers (yogurt cups, etc). Simply disinfect them, poke a few little holes in the bottom, and fill them with potting soil.
Make your own potting soil by mixing one part perlite, four parts vermiculite, and four parts peat moss.
While I’m chatting away about excitement… you just haven’t seen excitement until you’ve greeted chickens with a plate of homemade suet. Our Gabor sisters crowd the doorway to the coop (they are still cooped up because we only just got them and we want them to know that the coop is where they bed down at night once we let them free-range). The girls gracefully walk the edge of the nesting boxes like runway models and then dive for the suet. Here’s how I make my suet:
- 1 cup chunky peanut butter (could use smooth)1/4 cup lard or bacon grease
1 cup wild game bird feed or chicken feed
1/4 cup rolled oats
a few tablespoons of corn meal
Mix all the ingredients together, scoop the mixture into a container, and then freeze it until I want to give the birds a treat. I use old store-bought suet containers but you could use muffin tins lined with wax paper. Serve suet to your birds once it is nice and firm.