Monday, September 21, 2009

First Frost and Starting Seeds

I am still awaiting a shipment of seeds that should be getting here in the next couple days. In the meantime though, I bought some discount seeds($0.25 per packet) from the local hardware store just so that I could have something that was starting to grow. Fall starts tomorrow, so at least a couple of my plants are now getting their chance before the end of summer!

Tonight we put the following seeds in a starting tray: sweet marjoram, common chives, garlic chives, viola, chamomile, coleus, and lavender. These are plants that we'll probably be using in the solarium. I have some other herbs on the way, but didn't order these kinds for whatever reason.

On a side note, we had our first light frost out here in Montana this morning. It is a bit crazy to think of how excited I am getting for a garden that won't even get going before the first frost this year. Not surprisingly, I started researching various heating options for the greenhouse this winter. The girls at work were reminiscing about -30 degree temperatures today, and it seems like maybe having a heater to use during those cold snaps might be a good idea.....

Only a couple more days till we get to move in. Closing is on Friday at 2:30!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Avoid Heirloom Acres Seed Company

Well I'm off to a rough start with the garden so far! I had ordered about 25 different seed varieties from Heirloom Acres Seed Company 2 weeks ago. I was hoping to have seeds germinated and just about ready to stick in the beds in the greenhouse by the time we moved in. I never received any information from Heirloom Acres about shipping dates and times, it just says on their website that orders rarely take longer than 2 weeks to be received. I've e-mailed them a few times with no response and left phone messages that go un-returned. Unfortunately, it looks like I was fooled by a slick looking website. Further investigation reveals that many people have filed complaints with the BBB over Heirloom Acres, have received no product and no refund despite many calls and e-mails.

For my next order of seeds, I've done some research and found a company with great reviews - Victory Seeds. Live and learn I guess..... While shopping on the internet is fairly common place now a days, this serves as a reminder to me to do some background research before purchasing a product through an unfamiliar company.


Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm starting this blog as a gardening journal for me to organize my thoughts, track my progress and try to get motivated to complete all of the projects that are floating around in my head. I've also learned a great deal from reading other people's gardening blogs, and am hoping that I have some success with my garden that other people might learn from.

In about a week, my husband and I will move into our first house. We were lucky to find the house of our dreams that is loaded with gardening potential. It has a 2-story solarium that provides some passive/solar heating to the house, a large green-house, and an acre of rough land that needs to be developed.

Over the past 6 or so years as I've completed school, my husband and I have been chomping at the bit to get to this point in our lives. We both believe strongly in leading a sustainable and low-impact life-style to the greatest extent possible. Growing and storing our own food from the garden will be a big piece of that. We also plan to raise chickens for meat and eggs, and raise bees to start with.

On the horizon for our first projects, include some experiments with indoor gardening as fall and winter are approaching. I've ordered a variety of cold-hardy vegetable seeds that we plan to start in the solarium and then move to the beds in the greenhouse. We are dreaming of harvesting things like arugula and radishes while it's snowing outside. We don't yet know if this is just wishful thinking or if it is a definite possibility in the greenhouse. At this point, we do not plan to heat the greenhouse, but may incorporate some type of heating in the future. In the solarium, we will also be growing some indoor trees: meyer lemon, kumquat, kaffir lime and possibly mango. I expect that the short Montana days will have a significant effect on the flowering and fruiting of these trees, but we've got to at least try.

On the outdoor front, we plan to get started preparing the soil for the raised bed and row garden that we are already planning for next spring and summer. This involves removing an invasive weed, digging up some grass, removing rocks, and amending the soil. We've talked about trying to grow a short cover crop as green manure, but we might not have enough time to do that before the cold weather hits us up here.

Below are some pictures of the house that we'll be moving into soon!