Sunday, March 9, 2008

Starting seeds; honeybees

We only have 4 weeks until our last frost date, so today I started some herb and vegetable seeds indoors.  If all goes well they will be ready to go when the soil warms.  The photo shows a pepper seed being lightly pressed into a small hole I punched into the peat pot.   I planted Juliet tomato (grape type), Brandywine heirloom tomato, Genovese basil, Italian dark green flat leaf parsley, Joes long cayenne peppers, hot ancho chili peppers, and french marigolds.  I grew the Juliet tomato last year, and it produced an amazing yield over a very long time.  Of course this year may have different results!  I am trying the heirloom variety in an effort to find a really good tasting tomato, but I know I am risking lots of disease issues.  
I will leave the newly seeded pots in the warm kitchen until the seeds germinate, then I'll move them to the cooler attic, where I have a light fixture set up with two florescent bulbs (one cool and one warm type bulb).  I will keep the seedlings under the lights for most of the day, each day, until time to move them outdoors.  By keeping the light suspended just above the seedlings, and only moving it up as they grow taller, I hope to keep the seedlings short and strong.  Things are growing outdoors too: the peas are up in the garden, as are the lettuces (3 types).  I got them in a bit late, so they are tiny now, but still should have a pretty good harvest before it gets too warm.  
The bees are feasting on all the spring weeds and trees that are in full flower.  If you look closely at the photo, you can see one hovering near the door with huge loads of pollen in her baskets. Still no eggs from the hens, but they seem very happy, and their combs are starting to grow a little.  I take that as a sign they are maturing, so I will keep checking the nest daily.