Whether you live in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, or anywhere else in the United States you may be experiencing somewhat unusual ups and downs in the weather this year. I know we have and we have been for the last couple of years. Whether it’s has been unseasonably cold or unusually large amounts of rain this inability to anticipate the weather from day to day makes farming quite difficult.
So for the first time I have been forced to be a little more aggressive with seed starting. Whereas my winter crops are doing quite well, normally by this time of year it’s warm enough to be starting everything by seed outside.
Now I follow several different gardeners on Facebook and on YouTube so I have picked up some tips and tricks about starting your seeds. As you can see I used plastic cups with holes drilled in the bottom that worked quite nicely.
First thing you want to do is to start with a very light planting medium of either peat moss or seed starter mix. You then want to wet it before applying it to your starting containers. This is the method I’ve used this year and gotten an extraordinary germination rate.
The problem with seed starting in a un-nutritious medium like seed starter or peat moss is you have to keep a careful eye on your plants and when they start to yellow or get quite large you’re going to want to up pot them into a mixture with compost and peat moss. I have found have really good luck with a half/half mixture. Any compost works, however I’ve noticed the compost with manure in it needs to sit a year to be really beneficial.
However this year I was unable to get any compost with manure so I got leaf compost due to the fact that the mushroom compost completely sold out by the first week of March. The leaf compost seems to do especially well with my plants without having to sit around for a year so it is something I would definitely recommend using if you don’t want to get your compost a year prior to use.
The most cost-effective way of getting compost for your gardens is by purchasing it by the scoop. However you will need a truck for that. As I said one of my earlier blogs I borrowed my brother’s truck and most people don’t mind giving you an afternoon to use their truck to get some compost with, you’ll just need a good place to dump it that you can source from as you need it.
Last year my mom and I did this with a cheap compost mix that included cow manure. We did try to use it in the gardens, however, our plants struggled which we found to be due to the acidity and concentration of the fresh manure.
But if you’re wise enough to learn from us, get a bunch of cardboard and lay on the ground where you plan to dump your compost the year prior to use, and simply cover it with a tarp and leave it till the following year. Although you may not find this terribly helpful for this year and avoid sourcing compost for your spring garden that needs time before it’s going to be truly beneficial for you.
And as always, building a self-sustaining life is not easy, so I hope you find the inspiration and encouragement you need in this publication to begin your journey to a healthier and more beautiful self-sustaining life.
The Upstate Gardener/Crafter