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Seeds of Change

Posted by kevinwolz on April 5, 2010

I tried maximizing usage of the space I have available.

My growing season has officially started! Tonight I planted the first seeds of my summer garden! It feels great to finally get this started and see my long-planned ideas begin to materialize. On my return from spring break, I brought back a suitcase full of the containers and soil I needed to start. The only problem? No seeds. The seeds were long overdue, so I called Seed Savers over break to see what the problem was. Apparently, there was some kind of problem processing the order and it hadn’t shipped yet! Ah! In the end, they said there were two possibilities: I receive no order or I receive two orders. Really now!? I’ve heard nothing but good things about Seed Savers, but they really sucked at their first impression this time around. Regardless, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and a second chance, as my seeds showed up early last week with everything as ordered.

My dorm room desk/greenhouse. The shelf is ~4.5 feet long.

I would have started seeds right away, but I didn’t want to leave them over the weekend for the three consecutive days directly following planting. SO, I waited until tonight, and now have all my Brassicas ready to go. Brassica is a genus of plants in the Brassicaceae family and are also known as mustards, cabbages, cruciferous plants, or cole crops. My crops include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. The crazy thing is that these four plants are actually the same species! Not just the same family, not just the same genus, but the same species! The remarkable difference between cultivars has arisen over many centuries of cultivation and selection by humans. Awesome! But I digress…

I planted two seeds per container (8 total in the big rectangle ones) to double my chances of healthy germination and will thin these out to one per container later. Also, it’s hard to see, but I have two heat mats underneath the containers (originally made to heat body parts). I have no idea how these will work out, but the goal is to warm the soil for speedier germination. The mats are pretty hot to the touch, but I’m not sure how well that will get through all the plastic…I need a good thermometer. The Brassicas got started before everything else (a few weeks earlier would have been optimal) because they are cool season crops and I hope to get them in the ground as soon as possible in May. But NOW comes the hardest part: waiting! Germination (the seeds sprouting) could take anywhere from 0.5-2 weeks…but I’ve created the ideal conditions…right? Cross your fingers!

Dicentra cucullaria (Duthman's Breeches)

I raced my second steeplechase Friday night…or at least most of it. I was having an amazing race, on PR pace, and then with only 2.5 laps to go, my right (trail leg) knee smashed into a barrier (it’s really hard to see, but you can definitely hear it). As much as I tried to keep going, I just couldn’t put any weight on my right leg and had to stop. It was utterly demoralizing. I have never dropped out of a race…for any reason. I was super depressed all weekend and took Saturday off just to be safe. The knee is still pretty sore to the touch, but it’s fine to walk/run on, and I got in a good 9 miler today with my man Nate. Just to prove that I can make a barrier, here’s the first one of the race, which looks much better. I enjoyed the rest of the weekend with family and finally got into the woods to catch the spring ephemerals! The highlight of the walk, Dutchman’s Breeches, is one of my favorite flowers. Zoom in on the flowers to better understand the funny name.


5 Responses to “Seeds of Change”

  1. Roger said

    Kevin,I’m glad you have your seed started, and that you have healed from your accident ( Ah youth ). Remember your cabbage family plants are cool weather plants and may not like that heat to much. And don’t over water the seeds or the plants that will cause rot or disease, so let them dry out a little between watering. When you put them outside put them in dappled shade first, they need to gradually get use to the sun. You may know all this stuff but I’d rather say it then say later I wish I had said that. Rog

  2. Joan said

    Enjoyed seeing your race. Couldn’t
    tell that you hit the barrier.

    Good to see that your seeds all arrived and are now planted.


  3. rickdavey said

    Hey Kev,

    I like your dorm set up. Pretty cool! I wish I could do something like that, but I would have no place for the plants after school got out. Anyway, two new cool developments. My mom finally decided to take down the buckthorn (it was a male plant so at least there were no seeds) in our backyard in order to construct a vegetable garden so you will have to help us with your expertise! Also, my uncles brother is the Director of Restoration Ecology at the Chicago Botanic Gardens (somehow just found his position out), so I am going to get him to give us a tour or something.


    • kwolz said

      Buckthorn to victory garden is quite the upgrade! Can’t wait to check it out. How did you just find out about that connection!?!? He’s giving us a tour all right…and whatever other experiences we can pry out of him. I was at the CBG over the winter…green houses were nice, but I didn’t get to see any of the native stuff, which I hear is really awesome. Field Trip. (btw, wouldn’t your uncle’s brother be your uncle too? or your father? haha)

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