1 - Beginning

This is the first post in the Garden Series. The series will consist of pictures and explanations that will profile a plant or garden through a period of several months. Some may begin as seeds, seedlings, or spring sprouts from the ground. Others may be of trees that change throughout the growing season.

I encourage everyone to grow something to eat. To coin a phrase, “Grow food, not lawns.” No, I don’t suggest that everyone run out tomorrow and bull-doze their property. (Especially if you rent) However, you can begin subtly by taking a small part of your yard to grow food. Start small and you will not feel overwhelmed. If you start out too big, you may become discouraged when things do not progress as well as you would have liked.

Give yourself time to learn. Any brain takes a while to learn something new. Nevertheless, it will begin to function much more efficiently with each new bit of knowledge you pack away in your brain cells. There is no better teacher than experience, so get out there and gain some experience. With that said, there are many books to help you along. Instead of reading a fiction book, maybe you can take home a non-fiction gardening book for a change. The difference is that the gardening book will stay with you and act like an investment.

Another advantage to gardening is that it saves you money! You might be saying, “No it does not. The grocery store is much cheaper than growing my own.” Well… only on the surface does it look that way. Let’s dig below the surface.

How many of you are overweight? How many of you go to the gym? These are only two of many examples of how gardening will save you money.

If you are overweight, gardening will help to burn it off. It will pull you away from weight-gaining activities like watching TV and video games. How does that save money? You will be healthier. There are millions of articles that have proven that exercise keeps you healthier and being healthier cost less than not being healthy. There will be less medical bills and prescriptions. Furthermore, you may not need that weight-loss diet program that costs you money

Go to the gym? Well, instead of spending money to keep in shape, you can get it for FREE! Yes, simply grab a shovel and start digging. It is that simple. I can assure you that you will feel muscles that you thought had left you years ago, even if you do work out. Gardening muscles are different from those created from machines.

Even if you look at the surface, have you ever REALLY priced out salad greens at the market? Do it! Don’t trust me; learn for yourself. You will quickly see that pre-mixed salad greens cost more than the best cut of beef. (Per pound) That salad you ate this evening may have cost you $11 per pound. Work the numbers.

Still resistant? I thought so. Change is difficult for everyone, even for those that say they love change. It is human nature. However, I am very persistent when it comes to important things and I will not give up on helping others. In addition, if I share knowledge, it will still be there after I die. Otherwise, it dies when I do.

I encourage all of you to share these pages with others. Trapped knowledge does nobody any good. If you like the post, it would be great to give it a "like." You can also post comments. I may or may not have time to answer questions in the comments. With that said, sometimes other people can learn from your comments. Keep the language clean, as this is a family oriented blog. Abusive comments and/or language will be deleted, so don't waste your time with it. Remember, at the end of your day, you will have one less day to make your journey home.

Here we go! …

Even when things look bleak, there is always an opportunity for growth.

Even when things look bleak, there is always an opportunity for growth.

Many plants are dead and the cold continues to kill others. Do not despair. Find a way to continue to grow, even if it is slow and unnoticed by others.

It is February in the picture and things really are growing! If you could turn around in the picture to look behind you, within a few steps you would see flats of honeyberry, mulberry, and onion seedlings. There would also be three Rosemary cuttings that are taking root in another room. Take a look…

Onion seedlings in the upper left and other seedlings that are just beginning to germinate. I will be improving my seed starting environment in 2016. The window no longer provides enough light because of a hemlock tree that now blocks most of the sunlight.

Onion seedlings in the upper left and other seedlings that are just beginning to germinate. I will be improving my seed starting environment in 2016. The window no longer provides enough light because of a hemlock tree that now blocks most of the sunlight.

Why do I start seeds in February? Actually, I do not start all seeds in February. Some are started in January and some are direct planted into the outdoor soil. In-fact, the onions in the picture (that look like grass) are the ones that I start in January.

Some tree seeds are also started in January. You see, there are seeds that need to be stratified before they will germinate. That takes time and we strive to plant our started plants just after the last frost in the spring. They need to already be growing vigorously if you are to get good yields or get them hardened and rooted before winter.

What is stratification? Some seeds need to experience cold for an extended period of time before the seeds will germinate. They also need moisture during this time. If these types of seeds remain damp and warm, then they will rot. The cold gives the moisture time to get through the outer shell of the seed while preserving it. Therefore, the seeds are potted up in a damp medium, placed into a zip lock plastic bag, and then put in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 months. Many fruit seeds need to be stratified.

The onion seeds are different. They do not need to be stratified. However, if one were to plant onion seeds directly into the ground in the spring, the onions would not have enough time to grow to a substantial size to make it worth the effort. (In the northeast USA) Most people go to a garden center and purchase started onion plants in bunches or as onion bulbs (sets) to plant directly into the ground. That works, but it limits the types of onions you can grow and it is not sustainable. Seeds give you much better control to match a variety to your environment and if you save seeds, can be perpetual. That leads me to another topic… plant genetics. We’ll save that for another day.

I will say, however, that I have a project to create my own onion variety and it is already showing good results. It generally takes me 5 years to create a new plant or animal variety. It will ultimately be a very good storing onion and will grow VERY well in my environment. (My yard with the weather and climate I get) You gotta love the power of genetics and seeds!

Don’t forget to “like” this post if you actually liked it and to share with others so they too may learn something interesting or unusual. There is MUCH more to come. It will become very interesting as the series progresses. I will also try to make it educational for those willing to learn.

See you in the next post!