In the Netherlands I started growing my own vegetables as soon as I got my first own place. Living at an apartment I kept a few plants at the balcony. At the first house with a garden, I increased the amount of self-sown vegetables and since we live in Germany, we have a small green-house and my husband created a vegetable garden for me.
I’m going to take you with me this year again and show how I (hopefully) also this season conjure vegetables and herbs from my garden and greenhouse.
I write consciously ‘conjure’, after all it is just magical how you can get your own food from a tiny seed 😉
During the winter months, I always check my seeds and decide at that period of time what I want to sow the upcoming year. Seeds that I do not have in stock, I order online. In an old floppy disk tray (who remembers them?), I save the seeds in the monthly order of time to sow.
You can already sow indoors in January, February and March.
I always wait until the last week of February before I start sowing. By the time the young plants can go outside, they are strong enough and by then, the weather conditions have improved. In February and March you can even sow some seeds outside in the garden, but -again- weather conditions over here usually makes me decide to wait a bit longer.
As soon as the time has come to start sowing the first batch of seeds, I make sure I have a notebook by hand. I select the seeds, which can be sowed in February indoors, in small ‘greenhouses’. At the little packages you can find instructions how to handle the seeds. I collect this information in my notebook, which later on I add into an excel-sheet at my laptop. Since I do this for more than two decades by now; for me it’s just a little check, if I still have all the information I need.
I use small greenhouses indoors, however you can also use a plastic bucket and pull foil over it. You can get seeding soil at most garden centers. Before you start sowing the seeds, first you moist the soil.
At the packaging (or search the Internet),of your seeds you can read, what the best method to sow for that particular seed is. Seeds that have not “expired” (expire date), almost always germinate. You should make as many holes in the soil, as the number of seeds (thus plants) that you want to grow.
Seeds “expired” may still germinate. However, the germinate capacity will become less and less, so the probability is increasing that not all seeds will germinate.
In this case I sow more seeds together in small gullies. A gully is actually a straight slit in the ground/soil; the sticks I added here just for clarification purpose:
Next, you gently close the holes or gullies with some soil. If the instruction at the package tells you, you should sow the seeds in a seedbed, sow more seeds at the same time on top of the soil. In that case, you don’t cover the seeds.
As soon as I sowed everything, I add all information written down in my notebook to a list in Excel. Throughout the season, I also update this file with information about the location of the seeds and later on were my plants are: small greenhouse, jar filled with soil (potting soil), seedbed (outside), in soil/earth outside or in larger pots, large greenhouse, vegetable garden.
At the same time I also keep track which seeds I need to order again next season and like I mentioned earlier, I copy the description from the packaging of the seeds: does a plant need full sun, lots of water, at what distance the young plants should be planted out, etc.
The only thing I have to do, until the germinated plants can be transferred in small pots or directly into the soil/earth outside, is to monitor whether the soil is sufficiently moist. Every night after dinner, I spray the sown seeds with a spray-water-bottle, so I don’t wet the soil too much. To much water; the seeds grow moldy .
At the same time…Watch every day, if I can already spot any germination 😉