Seedling and Garden Update (May 20/22)

Dear Half-Acre Homestead Friends,

What an exciting time of year. The world around me is coming alive in green. The birds are singing. The air is fragrant with the scent of lilacs and honeysuckle. In this post I will share where I am at with my garden preparations and seedling starting.

The photo above is from the beginnings of the first round of seedlings. Many of these were destined for the local community gardens that Half-Acre Homestead supports. Two such shipments have already left the homestead, for a garden in a local village and a new garden at a local retirement home.

The last shipment will be delivered to another local village tomorrow. It is so rewarding to pass along these babies into the hands of dedicated and passionate volunteers who care about food security and good food for all, just as I do. Once the eco-cabin is finished, I plan to expand these efforts.

Here are the lists of the first and second seedling plantings:

First Planting April 17

(mainly for community gardens)

Beefsteak Tomatoes: 10

Early Cabbage: 6

Nasturtiums: 6

Marigold: 10 (for homestead companion planting)

Basil: 4 (for homestead)

Second Planting May 11

(all for homestead, with extras being shared with community gardens or friends and family)

Caraflex Cabbage: 4

Roma Tomato: 4 for homestead, plus 2 extra

Cherry Tomato: 1 for homestead, plus 2 extra

Green Pepper: 2 for homestead, plus 3 extra

Hot Pepper: 2 for homestead, plus 2 extra

Purple Kale: 1 for homestead, plus 2 extra

Curly Kale: 1 for homestead, plus 2 extra

Lacinato kale: 1 for homestead, plus 2 extra (*also called dinosaur kale)

Brussel Sprouts: 2 for homestead, plus 2 extra

 I always have experiments and possible learning points on the go in every season. This planting season, I am comparing two different growing media: a Moisture Mix and a “professional” seed starting mix. I am also comparing some bought seeds on hand to my own saved seeds.

In the photo below, I am sharing how I am tracking and comparing all of this. I use popsicle sticks to mark the seedlings. If the popsicle stick has an orange highlighter on it, it is in the “professional medium.” If the popsicle stick has blue highlighter on it, it indicates my own saved seeds.

So far, I have not seen any significant difference in how the seedlings are growing in the two different media. The moisture mix is cheaper and comes in larger bags, so I am likely to go with that in the future.

Here are a couple of photos of what the May 11 planting of the seedlings look like now. They are split up into two separate groups, each with two grow lights each:

Plants that will go in the Ground soon:

I am giving the varieties in brackets afterwards in case it is helpful to anyone. Many of these varieties have become favourites after trying many many different ones over the years.

Scallions (likely planted later today), Yellow Onion set (1 pound), Garlic (California Soft Neck), Beets (Detroit Dark Red), Carrots (Nantes), Parsnips (Hollow Crown), Magpie Bush Beans*, Purple Queen Beans*, Red Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans, Bush Beans (Jacob’s Cattle Beans)*, Zucchini (Black Beauty), Butternut Squash (Waltham), Decorative Corn (24 plants – I dry it and eat it ground up),  Cucumber (Boston Pickling), Rutabaga (York) will be planted in late June/early July for a storage crop,

*Many thanks to my friend, Sheila, for sharing her incredible collection of heirloom beans with me this year!!!*

I wish you all the best for a healthy and happy Spring. Happy Gardening, whether you are just getting started with a few pots on your balcony, or whether you have a large plot out back on your own homestead. Start wherever you are and aim for enjoyment, rather than perfection.

As you enjoy Spring and plant whatever you are planting, please also remember the seeds that you are planting inside of yourself and others. No one is perfect, but we can strive to plant seeds of happiness and love in all those we meet. As we plant our gardens or do other activities (if you are not gardening), we can also plant seeds of gratitude in our own hearts for what we have.

Wishing everyone the best!

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