let it go, let it go

No matter how long you’ve been gardening, there’s always a twinge of worry when you first place your infant seedlings at the mercies of nature. Even when you’ve done the same thing year after year and you know they’ll probably be just fine, there’s still a little voice saying ‘Maybe they should have been hardened off a few more days’ or ‘Maybe that cold night coming up will be too much’.

Or maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, the onion seedlings went out yesterday. There’s a 30° F night coming up this week, something they’ve never experienced. But I guess it’s like raising hundreds of little green smelly kids. You have to let them face life eventually. You use your best judgement and hope your guess is right.

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Last year for the first time I covered my freshly planted carrot seeds with a board before they sprouted. The theory is that the darkness keeps most weeds from sprouting and the board keeps the seeds moist. It’s a method that requires close attention; you need to remove the board immediately when the carrots sprout. But it worked great for me.

I had a junk piece of plywood left over from building the chicken coop that was exactly the same size as my carrot bed, so here’s hoping…

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thanks and an update

You did it. Thank you for all of your great comments and suggestions about getting chickens. I guess I didn’t really expect anyone to say ‘Don’t do it’, but still it’s nice to hear encouragement. Baby chicks will be making their way to my little corner of southeastern Michigan.

I keep thinking of stuff that I’d overlooked regarding the coop and run construction, but that will work itself out. I’ll probably shoot to have everything ready for them by early April, so there’s plenty of time to rearrange things a million times.

Again, I do appreciate your knowledge, encouragement and help.
And on another note, here’s what onion seedlings look like at just over a week old…

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Yellow of Parma

I’m embarrassed with how MANY things I haven’t done or tried in my gardening life yet. Now that I’m semi-retired, working from home (very occasionally), I’ve started to realize how much is yet to be learned.

But that’s good, very good. Unlike many interests I’ve pursued, gardening has never staled, and I can’t picture it ever getting old. Simply because there always is and always will be more to learn.

The bitter-cold winter’s moving in. The wind’s slamming against the house outside. I’m engrossed and happy by the wood stove, planning for and writing about the garden.

I ordered some ‘Yellow of Parma’ onion seeds. What a name, eh? A long-day storage heirloom variety. Never heard of them before yesterday, and never tried starting onions from seed indoors. Not sure, but I think they signal a change.

I feel like a novice in so many ways. Last year I saved seed from four or five of my heirloom tomatoes, but people have been saving all kinds of seed forever. Why have I never even considered saving my own beans, peas, cucumbers, sunflowers, melons, peppers? I guess I enjoyed picking out the safe hybrids that were bigger or more disease-resistant from the websites and catalogues with those great descriptions and pictures. Or maybe it seemed like too much effort. I don’t know.

But I think that changes this year.

Those onions, the ‘Yellow of Parma’, will be the first I’ve tried from seed, and they’re not hybrids. So with luck and maybe a little skill, there’ll be a few to leave in the ground to produce my own onion seeds the year after this. I hope they represent a new direction.

A big chunk of the seeds I order this year will be open-pollinated. And then maybe I’ll have Grandveggies! Life is good.