Billy is feverishly planting because he senses this is going to be a dry summer. With rain in the forecast, both he and his cub tractor are working overtime. Just yesterday, Billy called to ask, “are you ever gonna get over here and plant your garden?”
Translation: “I need help.”
After clearing my schedule, I grabbed seeds and the tomatoes I had sprouted, then drove to his “little strip of land.”
For those planting seeds directly into the earth, please know that seeds will sprout (on average) two days sooner if you soak them before planting. While Billy cranked the tiller and made a row, I poured seeds into a cup of water knowing that the added moisture aids germination. Some seeds seem to require soaking: okra, beans, and peas for example.
Soaking beans is not necessary, just a gardening hint.
Sprouting Seeds: I am also still sprouting seeds indoors. If you haven’t visited the website of Botanical Interests and purchased seeds for your garden, there is still time. I highly recommend Cherokee Purple and Black Krimm tomatoes.
Don’t let me find you in a big box store with a basket full of seeds. Trust me, please. Do the right thing and plant seeds from a family-owned company.
Regular readers know that I adore watching plants grow and develop. Some also know that I love cucumber sandwiches (almost as much as fried bologna). For that reason, I stagger the growing season and purpose to grow cukes up until the first breath of frost. Sprouting seeds is not rocket science. Remember the secret: a heating pad.
I have found clear plastic containers more effective than the leftover flamingo party cups pictured here. I think this is because heat distributes evenly and sunlight permeates clear containers. Add potting soil, push seeds into the soil, water lightly, cover with a piece of glass (or plastic wrap) then wait. Placing the container on a heating pad (set on high) warms the soil and triggers an awakening.
Because cukes germinate speedy quick, (the pic is of a plant two days old), I will plant these seeds immediately. Whether you are a veteran gardener or first-time clod buster enjoy your time in the garden and remember to keep those hands dirty.
Renea Winchester is an award-winning author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. The book is traditionally published and available from independent bookstores and online as well as personally autographed (by author and Billy) through Renea’s website. Follow Billy’s farm on Facebook.