Grow Your Garden from Seeds
Whether flowers or vegetables, keeping alive your favorite plants and letting them refresh in the new year is always an option. It’s not too late to start with some seeds. Some key rules and tips will help your seed adventure end in success.
Starting seeds can be easy from the comfort of inside, under the right conditions. Chances are, you have the perfect conditions set inside for your comfort, now to utilize that for your seeds. Depends on what you are growing from seed, you likely will start with more seeds than you will anticipate to plant outside, or if you are super adventurous, you might hope to end up with lots of seedlings for not only your garden but a neighbors as well.
Recycling containers to start your seeds is not only super convenient, especially if you have the specific one you want on-hand, but also very environmentally and fiscally friendly. Egg containers, yogurt cups, paper cups or even some food trays (think vegetable/fruit packaging not meats), anything that gives you 2-3 inches minimum of depth for your dirt will work. You can also purchase specialty containers from various garden outlets as well. If you are using your own, preparation for seeds includes 2 simple steps. First, thoroughly clean; secondly; make sure you add drainage holes to the bottom.
Next, let’s talk soil. Best scenario is to use fresh seedling mixture, not to re-use from other elsewhere. If you are working with very finicky seeds, you may want to follow the seed directions for specific soil blends. In a separate large container, dampen your soil and mix it thoroughly, before putting 2-3 inches in the container. Make sure the soil is still crumbly and not sopping wet. This step will help ensure you have a consistent water level throughout to help your seeds to germinate.
Know your seeds, some like to be shallow and some deeper. Some like to have more room to grow and others more crowded, this is essentially to know how many to place per container/space. Once you have nestled the seeds in place, moisten the top with a mister. To help speed up germination, cover with a seedling cover or plastic wrap. As soon as you see germination, remove and get rid of the cover.
Next steps are simply on repeat. Water and let dry. Repeat. Make sure you give your seedlings lots of light. A set up near a window is ideal, rotating if you think you aren’t getting even light. If you don’t have good light and want to use an artificial light, use a timer and set for 15 hours of light, close enough to maximize growth, but far enough away to not burn your seedlings, think a few inches. If you really want a boost, you can use a liquid fertilizer after a couple of weeks.
The most successful transplantation includes a gradual process. The shift from inside to outside is not to be underestimated. The easiest way to transition, is to take your seedlings on field trips outside every day. Start by bringing them into a protected part of your garden, protected by wind and sun. Gradually increase the amount of time your seedlings spend outside, and slowly acclimate it to the sun most favored by the plant (i.e. if it like morning sun, let it get morning sun).
After a week or so of field trips, your seedlings are ready to be transferred full time to their forever home, in your garden. Be mindful of spacing guides and root depths. Don’t forget to continue to care for your seedlings with regular water and fertilizers and recommended based on their variety.
Define Your Luck
Good Luck, Luck of the Irish, Lucky Duck, Beginners Luck, Luck of the Draw, Dumb Luck, Lucky Break – the list goes on. Numerous phrases containing the work luck are used on a regular basis. Is luck really just ‘the success or failure brough by chance rather than one’s actions’ or is there something other than chance involved. Everyone knows of some situation where a streak of luck seemed to attract even more good luck; and at some point that luck probably ran out.
Can we make or at least influence our luck? Is everything predestined or determined by the patterns of the moon and planetary alignments. Do we perceive the combination of talent, hard-work and opportunity to be luck. Even the science community has delved into this topic and how statistics defines luck in an article Scientific American - of Role Luck.
We’ve all heard the saying “like attracts like” which can be used for happiness, sadness, and even luck. Can our mindset and awareness help create good, or even bad luck? If we told ourselves today was going to be a lucky day, would that increase the luck we had? Numerology can help us identify the lucky days of the month and even specifically what days are lucky for each of us, based on our birthdate. Tracking the moon’s position and using that to determine the generic lucky days of each month, is a long time tool coveted by MacDonald’s Farmers Almanac users.
Everyone has a different definition of what they consider to be lucky, and unlucky. My idea of luck is missing the rain while I’m out running errands; or being in the right place at the right time to avoid an accident; or finding rhubarb at the grocery. My dad considers himself to have good luck, as evidenced by his winning ratio of lottery tickets and radio contests. My friend knows she’ll have good luck when she finds a four-leaved clover. Luck, similar to beauty, is in the eye of the beholder; all about perspective.
While the formula for determining lucky and unlucky days is very easy; the key lies in the interpretations and influences of free will. Taking into consideration, what you believe is lucky or unlucky, can help put you in the right mindset on the days of the month you determine to be lucky/ unlucky. One could even use interpretative knowledge to combine the lucky days and what luck might be brought based on the planetary and astrological influences of that day.
For example, in May the full moon occurs on the 26th; there are 5 days remaining until the end of the month and a total of 31 days; resulting in the number 155. This is determined as the 5th and 15th being the lucky days. The 5th is in Pisces, ruling the feet; so my interpretation to maximize benefit on this day would be to get a pedicure (pampering of my feet equals happiness and lucky evening for me!). The 15th is in Cancer, ruling the heart; an interpretation might be pay attention to what makes my heart flutter and continue to make that happen. The opposite, the unlucky days of the month are calculated to be the 8th in Aries, ruled by the head; and the 25th in Scorpio. I will avoid horseback and bicycle riding on the 25th for sure.
Whether you believe in lucky objects, being lucky or just chance; combining numerology with astrology can guide you to improving your luck, and even avoiding the dreaded back luck. Be smart and make the moon and planets work for you!
Question: What do I plant in an area that gets morning shade and late afternoon sun?
All partial shade spaces are not created equal. The scenario that can be the most difficult is partial shade, specifically morning shade with mid-late afternoon sun. Morning sun is typically considered less harsh, afternoon sun requires a higher water usage, making drought tolerant plants a must in this scenario.
From ground creepers, to bushes, to pops or color and even vegetables; there are plenty of options for this shady space. With every planting recommendation, be sure to buy local and check the specifics for your zone. Don’t forget, if the plant just isn’t working in that space, move it somewhere else to give it a second chance.
For your vegetable garden with only late afternoon sun try a mix of underground and vines to maximize your space. Carrots and celery will do well in the ground. Set up a trellis to grow cucumbers or climbing peas. Planting these above-ground yielding veggies will yield an abundance when planted during the increase of the moon in the signs of Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces.
A variety of flowering plants and bushes will also do well with late-afternoon sun. For all flowering plants, best to plant when the moon is increasing or full, especially when in Libra. Lots of colorful options in varying heights and blooming times. Bonus feature of colorful foliage with the Purple Heart/Spiderwort (Tradescantia pallida) and Bluestar (Amsonia).
Ground coverage plants yield many options. Numerous varieties of beautiful foliage can be found with the easy to care for Hosta. Yellows, pinks, purples, oranges, and all shades of color in between can be found with Touch-me-nots (Impatiens), Purslanes (Portulaca), Wax Begonia (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum) and Mexican Petunia (Ruellia).
Bushes and clustering plants also can make a great addition for your morning shade areas. Zinnias (Zinnia elegans) come in a variety of colors including green; Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) and Egyptian star (Pentas lanceolata) are commonly white and pink. Don’t forget summer’s favorite flower to cut and bring indoors, the Peony available in over 30 different varieties.
Don’t forget the tall flowering beauties in this space, many purple and white varieties, most of which are a great attractant of butterflies and bees, essential insects for your enjoyment of a beautiful garden. Wild indigo (Baptisia), Wild Sage (Salvia), Daylilies (Hemerocallis), and Coneflowers (Echinacea) will grow up to 5 feet.