Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Weatherman Who Cried Wolf

For the second time in as many weeks, the weathermen around here have been completely giddy about the impending doom coming towards us in the form of snow. Two weeks ago, we were supposed to get a half inch of the stuff. It didn't even rain. Yesterday, they predicted an inch of sleet, ice, and snow. It rained all day, the temperature hovering around 37. This morning, the clouds are screaming past trying to make way for the sunshine they claim we'll see this afternoon. It's 34 degrees. Walking in the yard is like walking over a septic field. There's actually standing water in the front yard. I've never seen that in the two and a half years I've lived here. The rain gauge collected an inch of the wet stuff.

In the basement, the last fire has been built in the tiny wood heater. My parents are on their way. If all goes well, the house will be warm and toasty this evening. I've got plans to split more firewood this afternoon.

Before work yesterday, I finished 100 containers for wintersowing.

Because I'm cheap, I buy broken bags of dirt from the store at half price. The rules are about to change, I'm told. Instead of a small hole, the bags will have to be nearly torn open in order to get that sort of discount in the coming year. We'll see. The soil I bought is $1.29/bag at regular price. I sifted it using the method I've shown before.

Straight from the bag.

The Leftovers.

Perlite added for drainage.

Each container is filled with roughly 3-4" of the sifted soil. When moist, it's the consistency of a gooey chocolate brownie. mmmm, brownies.

On Monday, I'll sow my seeds. Until my parents arrive, I'm going to package up some of the 50 kinds of seeds I'm sending out to one lucky winner over at the GardenWeb wintersowing forum. If they email me with the correct answers to the questions I've asked, their names will be placed in a recycled milk jug. I'll pull one name from the jug and send all 50 packs of seeds to the winner. I've got way too many seeds. Trudi, the woman who started this wintersowing idea, gave me her blessing. All the answers can be found at I've got 12 names in the jug right now. The contest ends Monday night. The seeds will be shipped out on Tuesday. If you're a member of gardenweb, feel free to enter. If you're not, sign up for a free account. It's a great forum to discuss anything garden related.

I can see blue skies. I'm going to get another cup of coffee.


Jimmy said...

Tom, your new profile just caught my eye. You are wrong! You could never be useless. I have a feeling that no matter what you did, you would bring interest and a smile to those around you. Who else could take my sarcastic humor?

Darla said...

I am loving your blog and appreciate the time you take to answer all of my questions, it's like having a personal gardening coach, the fee is pretty reasonable too!!

compost in my shoe said...

We had two more inches of rain yesterday. What a mess. I love your frugality with the soiless mixes. I just hate all that junk in those mixes. Will have to look at straining them you you do.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Jim, I suspect you know that it's from a Marine Corps song. I saw something the other day that made me want to redo my profile. So I put that in there. I never realized you were being humorous. ;)

Darla, I figure if people are kind enough to follow along with my scattered brain and rambling hands, I can at least try to explain how I do it. Sometimes, a few pictures do more than a thousand words. Be sure to come back on Monday, Dec 21. That's winter solstice and the official start of the wintersowing season.

Randy Emmitt said...

The weather hit the nail on the head here. We got 2 1/2 inches of snow before midnight with some sleet mixed in. So right now there is 1 inch of slushy ice covered with 1 inch of semi crunchy snow. The birds are having an hay day at the feeders.

I found that "top soil" is not worth planting seeds in they tend to do poorly in it. Broke down and bought the expensive pre mixed stuff last year after my seedlings waned for weeks.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Compost/Randy, I use that mix because with wintersowing, you plant out tiny little seedlings with their first true set of leaves. You don't keep them in the containers very long. And I don't fertilize. I leaves that for the beds I've built.

That's the best part of wintersowing. You get naturally tough seedlings that perform much better than pampered ones that need to be hardened off later.

Tiffany@NOH said...

What do you plant for wintersowing? or did I not read far enough yet? Love your blog. And I am a complete seed junkie myself. I cannot help myself. This year planning to start an big herb garden too..ah seeds :)

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Welcome Tiffany. At this time of year, perennials. Anything that needs cold stratification should also be planted. Annuals and summer veggies will be sown in late march using my hoophouse.

Seed junkie - I completely understand. So much potential in those little bits of dried matter.