Mud Pies

My studio is unfinished and unheated, but I went out there today and made a place to fool around with seeds. I’m a kid, using discarded kitchen stuff to make mud pies–oh boy! That old dish drainer is perfect for catching gobs of potting mix. How many years have I been starting seeds in the house? More than ten years. For some crops, it’s the best way to get a jump on gardening. Spring is unpredictable here, and the weather may not settle down till July.

So I gather up all my recycled plastic pots, bags of seed starting mix (peat moss, perlite, vermiculite), an old enamel bowl, a spoon, jug of warm water, seeds, labels, and old towel to wipe hands. First step is to mix up some mud in the bowl. Seedling mix is easier to handle when it’s been moistened with warm water, and I think it’s better for the seeds. Pack it loosely into the pot, smooth out, and place seeds on soil. I planted peppers and tomatoes and poked them into the dirt with the end of a bamboo skewer. Every pot gets a label with the date and seed variety, then it goes into the high-top propagator on top of the heat mat. The other task was to transplant already germinated tomato seedlings into 4″ pots. I do this when they have their first set of real leaves. Planting them deep with just the tops sticking out means that the root system will be more robust. I find it impossible to limit myself to the eight tomato plants that will go into my garden. Before it’s all over, I will have started about fifty. They will all find homes. It’s my way of subverting the dominant ‘Early Girl’ paradigm.

I planted more peppers, and started some clary sage and broadleaf cress. And brussels sprouts. These are all staying on the enclosed porch for now. Henry and I have started our daily routine of outdoor garden tours. He checks the compost and climbs the tree while I poke around in soggy leaves. There are a few snowdrops, and today I found yellow primrose buds. Out in the tunnel, lettuce seeds are germinating.

Speaking of the tunnel, I have started drawing a diagram of my raised beds and plastic tunnel. As soon as I’m finished I’ll post it here so that interested gardening readers can see what I keep talking about.

What’s growing where you are?

One thought on “Mud Pies

  1. Another warm weather season begun… we pine and pine for it, but it’s rather sad to actually begin it because… once begun, the end also, is in sight. But that’s the only down side… the rest of it is glorious… the starting and tending of life, the EATING… oh yeahhhh. Quite coincidentally, I, too, started some seeds today: only one large & heavy brown ceramic dog dish of it.. no drainage needed because it’s soggy soil loving water cress.

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