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To soak or not to soak…that is the question (?)

The ecological relationship between seed and soil is like a symphony; there are natural cues that promote germination.

One of the major cues is moisture level! When the conditions are right, the seed will follow its own instinct and begin to swell. Once the seed coat is soft and moist the new seedling erupts into life.

The germination time for seeds varies greatly depending on the species. Some seeds can take years for germination (peonies) and others germinate in less than three days (cabbage family). We can use a mechanical force to speed the germination time (soaking).

Large seeds with hard coats (sunflowers, honeywort, peas, beans, corn and sweet peas) will appreciate a longer soaking- up to 24 hours.

Larger seeds with softer coats such as pumpkins, squash, chard, beets, nasturtium and cucumber are perfect to soak overnight.

Small seeds like lettuce, radish, carrots and tomatoes can become mushy and sticky if soaked too long (15-30 min) is appropriate.

Find a shallow bowl, place your seeds and top with water. Set away from pets, kids and spouses out of direct sunlight and in a warm location. Warm water is best but any water will do (what would nature do).

Once seeds have soaked and swelled…it is time to plant! Follow your seed packet guidelines for planting depth or reference our write up: https://seedsandsoilorganics.com/…/seed-starting-simply/

When in doubt…ask the question: What would nature do?

Alaska Sown-Alaska Grown

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Give me shelter from the storm

People have basic needs: food, air, shelter and water. The plants that we grow in our gardens and farms also have the same basic requirements.

The beneficial insects and “pests” have these same needs too. When we observe our growing space at the start of the season, we reflect and ask are all their needs being met and if not… how can I meet those needs?

If an issue arises such as an infestation or disease, it is a time to pause and determine if all needs are being met at the proper amounts. An overabundance of water may have some not so desirable results and too much nitrogen can be a detriment to a plant’s system. Too much food and water may inhibit proper growth.

Now is the perfect time to design which elements can be incorporated into our growing spaces to invite life back onto the landscape. Maybe some shallow dishes filled with stones will provide the local pollinators with a drink of water. Another option would to pile rocks with damp leaves so that ground crawlers can seek refuge. Even adding some mulch on top of the soil to reduce evaporation and retain moisture will aid microbial life and provide an opportunity to thrive.

Systems thinking… we become a part of the system in which we grow.

Alaska sown-Alaska grown

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Garden Design Dreams

My dreams started in the garden…

I remember gazing over the blank slate each Spring with a vision of an overflowing edible cottage garden. A place where butterflies, bees and birds congregated to enjoy the landscape together.

It has taken a long time, a lot of labor, many costly inputs and laughable failures to arrive at my dream garden. When sized up to the space in which we grow seed and vegetables for our small farm business- my garden pales in comparison. Yet, I have a piece of refuge that is one of the most valued growing spaces on our landscape.

There are many other attributes to appreciate outside of girth. When I close my eyes in my garden I can hear the hum of life. I can smell the perfume of the flowers and the oils of the herbs. The song of the Pine Siskin echoes in my ears as a gust of the Palmer winds nearly knock me over. This space is a reflection of my spirit and I all the things I wish the world to be.

As we begin to design, outline and prepare for the growing season, I am drawn to my exceptional parterre and the moments of peace I will find there. I reflect on the tenets of garden design, color application and edible landscaping. It is apparent that we have borrowed these themes from the original architect.

The sun is returning and now is the time to observe all the charm that nature has to offer. The components of diversity, structure, shape and color are the details I would like to replicate into my garden.

I am incorporating more local flora to allow this cultivated space to transition seamlessly into the surrounding forest. As a mirror of my life I wish this space to be less structured and more wild and free.

Happy Dreaming!

Alaska sown-Alaska grown

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What seeds are we starting this week?

Celery and Celeriac!

Celery and celeriac have a very long growing period. Seeds should be started 14-16 weeks before temperatures stay above 50F. Celery and celeriac are temperature sensitive!

I soak my seeds overnight prior to starting- I am careful to label them as these two twins are identical.

We start our celery and celeriac in 2″-4″ pots. Although they take months to grow to a transplantable size, I have found that minimizing rehoming is what celery and celeriac prefer.

Sow seeds 1/8″-1/4″ deep setting the containers on a heat mat set at 75F. We use a dome cover or plastic wrap to ensure consistent moisture during this critical germination period.

We keep these beauties under lights, provide air movement and we feed them every 3 weeks or so.

I will be keeping my eye on the calendar come May for consistent temperatures above 50F.

Alaska sown-Alaska grown