Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sprout Redux

The seed sprouting has had mixed results. Mark folded five varieties of peppers into damp paper towels, and two sprouted well--purple coffee (in 1 week) and hot lemon (in 10 days). The habaƱeros didn't sprout at all in 10 days, although that may be because they were from the fruits of hybrid peppers we ordered from Burpee last year. We also sprouted two other varieties that didn't really have enough time to sprout before we planted them. Tonight we planted all of our hot peppers, including some purple coffee and hot lemon that weren't sprouted, so we'll see if it makes a difference.

Regardless, we will be sprouting the melon and squash seeds later in the season. This is because they're sown directly in the ground at a time when the soil may still be too cold for them to germinate in a timely fashion. There's a good chance that we can give those plants a head start by sprouting them. Others, like snap peas, we may just soak for a bit to get them ready to go outside.

Not every seed can be sprouted or presoaked, such as seeds that are high in starch. Kate is using this information to attempt to keep Mark's sprouting zeal in check.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


The Seed Savers Yearbook arrived just after our last post, and it's pretty impressive. Basically it's a phone book of every member of the organization who grows unique varieties of seeds and offers to trade or sell them with other members. Some of these folks use the yearbook to advertise their nuttiness, but there are a lot of fascinating people and seeds in there, too, like the guy in Belarus who scours the country for plants that are at risk for extinction after years of war in the region. All in all a good read, even if we don't order many seeds from there.

Friday, February 22, 2008


We ordered all our seeds early from a variety of sources, from Seed Savers to Baker Creek to Southern Exposure to Johnny's. Most of them have already arrived. We just couldn't wait to get started with our planting, so last weekend we planted a few leeks and broccoli. The broccoli germinated in something like 48 hours! The photo represents just five days' growth.

Mark is really into sprouting seeds before planting, especially the peppers that have an extra-long growing season. He does this in damp paper towels (on top of our piano, naturally), and now he wants to do that with everything. I can just imagine damp paper towels spread on every horizontal surface in our house. We've already had one incident in which Kate's mom thought the sprouting seeds were garbage and tried to throw them out.

The office we share has become our war room, with huge printouts of our gardening matrix and map dominating the walls. See them here and here. Now imagine them printed out on a blueprint plotter at 24 x 36". It feels good to put our geekiness to good use.

The 2008 Seed Savers Yearbook still hasn't made it here. Boo.