|The "pretty" version of my garden. Nothing like real life...|
|We are using tomato plants to start|
So what does a person in Wisconsin do eight weeks before you can get into the actual garden? We pretend we have little gardens in the house. The initial challenge is deciding what you would like to plant, and how many. For this post, I am doing paste tomatoes. In the lower right quadrant of my plan, you can see some sideways words "Heinz" along with dots. I plan to grow 20 in my patch, and one of the three gals who garden with me is also growing a block of 10. My seed tray has 36 spots, my seed pack 70+ seeds. This way I start both of our tomatoes, allowing for a few that may not germinate, and have enough left in the pack for next year. The stick helps me push the seeds into place, and the grow sheet or dome help hold in moisture and warmth which tomatoes love.
|In goes the dirt|
|Pressing it down using another set of cells|
There is a method of starting seeds that involve something called soil blocking. It eliminates the need for plastic or peat pots and uses a mixture of peat, lime, sand, soil and compost that are formed into, well, soil blocks... The blocks stand on their own in a tray until they are placed in your garden. The mixture helps them hold their shape on the tray and the roots actually help strengthen the whole structure. When a plants roots encounter air, they stop growing that direction, so there is not worries about plants attaching to each other. Pretty cool, huh?
Territorial Seed company out of Cottage Grove OR. Their catalogs are some of my favorite winter reading. These beauties will be diced, sauced, salsa-ed, juiced and catsuped next fall as each plant has a ton!
|One little tomato to be...|
|Now, we wait, don't mind the blinding snow in the background|
This brings me to one of my favorite topics on gardening. The cost. That package of seeds was $3.55, the dirt, of which I used a fourth of the bag, was $3.44. I am splitting the seed cost with another girl and based on the size of our gardens, she pays 1/3 of the cost. Keep in mind also, that we are only using 1/2 of that pack this year. So for those of you who are keeping track..
My seeds $1.17
Total for tomatoes this year $2.03
That is for 20 organic paste tomato plants. This means my cost per plant this year is $0.10. I can't even tell you what each jar of diced, sauced, salsa-ed, juiced and catsuped tomato product will cost, because my brain can't do that type of tiny math. Kinda makes you want to get in the dirt, huh?