SEED STARTING

Seeds in Hand
Pouring the Pellets
Peat Pellets
Heirloom Seed Packs
Seeds in Pots
Seeds in Peat Pots
Oh boy, is this ever overdue. Although not that overdue, because I definitely dilly-dallied on starting my seeds. Like, three weeks of dilly-dallying. What can I say, except that I've been finishing up the school term?

Anyhow. 

I took yet another sustainability course this term (can't get enough of 'em), and for my final project I needed to pick an area of my life to make more sustainable. It could be anything from an eco-trip to making my home or workplace sustainable. I, along with a bunch of other folks, chose to garden. Of course I did! Food? Sustainable food? Anytime I get to read/write/talk about sustainable food for pages/hours on end is fine by me. It was interesting to see how everyone's projects differed even thought they were on more or less the same topic. I knew exactly what my project would be right after going over the course outline on the first day of class, but me-being-me, I left the actual book reading until March.

For as long as I can remember, there has always been a vegetable garden in our family backyard. One of the only perks of growing up in suburban Calgary is that we have a large backyard with ample room to grow. While I'm sure that my brother and I were excited to see the plants grow, our participation was only dropping seeds into the soil one day and returning to the plot a few weeks later to see that it had manifested into something tangible. Although through generations my family have been gardeners, up until last year it was never a hobby that interested me. Last summer, I once again took on sowing the seeds and left the handiwork to my mother. I did, however, take great care of herbs and tomatoes.

I can't believe that I haven't talked about it here yet, but I went to a talk given by Joel Salatin in March. JOEL FREAKING SALATIN, PEOPLE. It was a sold-out show, which I found super surprising. It's not often that I think of Calgary being sustainable in regards to the food system, so it was kind of amazing to see just how many people really are interested. Salatin talked about the disconnect between society and the food system, and made some wonderful points that really resonated with me. A point that he made was about the self-actualization of todays youth being more centralized on working technology than working the land. I can relate to this, in that growing up, most all the food I ate came from the supermarket and I had little to no idea about a seasonal, moving diet. While at uVic, I took a life-changing environmental studies class and things have absolutely not been the same since. At the beginning of that term, my professor asked the class if we would grow our own food and work on a farm if we had the opportunity to. My answer was a strong "NO," and that I was fine with picking up my goods from the farmers market. Well, well, less than two years later all that I can do is look back on that moment and laugh.

The deal this year is that I'll be fully responsible for the vegetable garden and containers. Yup, zero to hero in one season, my friends. The plan is to "reclaim my food system," in one of the final ways possible. Well, maybe the final way possible. I'll be getting my hands dirty all summer long by sowing, thinning, weeding and watering. I'm excited.

Since Calgary's growing season is so stupidly short (hey, hey seven months of winter), seed starting is a beneficial way to extend the season and obtain higher yields. The last frost date isn't until the end of May, so prior to that no planting can be done outdoors. Early in March, my aunt + uncle came over to do some winter sowing, a process in which you make greenhouses out of milk cartons and keep the greenhouses outdoors. I missed the process due to work, so I'm not all too sure of the logistics. There are milk jug greenhouses hanging out in my backyard right now, and come to think of it, I should probably check on them to see if anything has happened. I have learnt so much about gardening over the span of two months, but up until recently it's all just been theoretical. What I've recently done is indoor seed starting. I used peat pellets to sow the seeds in, as they can be planted directly in the soil once they've matured. This diminishes the amount of root disruption, which is ideal. So far, I've started some broccoli, a mesclun mix, two varieties of lettuce and arugula. In a couple weeks, I'll start some more greens, so that we have a steady supply for the early weeks of summer. The rest of the veg (the list is extensive) will be planted directly into the soil once the last frost has passed. My seed starting set-up is chilling on a heating mat with the lid on until the seeds germinate, and then they'll be placed under lights for around sixteen hours per day. 

I'm excited! There is something truly magical about making something out of nothing, or um, a teeny tiny little seed turning into a plant that will eventually FEED you. It's kind of amazing.

1 comments:

  1. This so lovely :) Ben have a garden at home where his family plant everything from scratch. A baby plant and now they are a huge tree!!! X

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