A garden is the best alternative therapy.

 

 

 

First-Round Seed Sowing:

 

 

I planted all of the first-round seeds on a partly cloudy afternoon on August 30. I was off from work and it was the first day in awhile that wasn’t in the upper nineties. The night before saw the temperatures dip down into the upper sixties, so I knew the temperatures were ideal for planting.

This is what I planted:

(12) Blue Lake Bush Beans*

(6) Heirloom Yellow Crookneck Squash*

(6) Black Beauty Zucchini Squash*

(5) Straight Eight Cucumbers*

* Certified Organic, obtained from Seeds of Change

I chose organic seeds because I eat organic food almost exclusively and I wanted to be sure to have seeds that have been produced in sustainable ways without introduction of genetically modified seeds.

The Beans
For the beans, I used one of the two foot square boxes I wrote about in my last blog, creating two rows approximately nine inches apart and mounded up so that there are troughs between and on either side of the rows. I dug a small trough in the middle of each raised row to place the beans in. I moistened the ground before placing six bean seeds, two-inches apart, in each trough, then folded dirt from each side of the trough over the beans, covering them with about an inch and a half of dirt. Then I watered the rows with a light mist for a minute or so. (Looking back, it is best to push the bean down into the ground a little to secure it. The subsequent motion of folding dirt over the bin, combined with watering, actually moved the beans a little, so that, by the time they popped up, they were not evenly spaced.) After they grow their first two sets of leaves, I’ll thin them out by cutting them with some scissors just above the ground. The first set of leaves that emerges are not true leaves. They are called cotyledons, which are actually part of the seed embryo and functions to provide the plant with the initial food it needs to grow it’s first true set of leaves.

A simple 2'x2' box, with two raised rows.

A simple 2'x2' box, with two raised rows.

The Cucumbers
I used the other two foot square box for the cucumbers. I decided to use a tomato cage to help my cukes grow up (because of limited space in my garden) as opposed to letting the vines sprawl out everywhere. I mounded a pile of dirt in the center of the box, stuck the tomato cage in, then planted five cucumber seeds about two inches apart in the center of the mound. I placed them an inch deep. I made sure to water the hole before placing the seeds in, then covered them with an inch of dirt and watered them again. I’ll thin them out to the best three after they develop the first two true sets of leaves.

Cucumbers with tomato cage ...

Cucumbers with tomato cage ...

The Squash and Zucchini
I repeated this process for the squash and zucchini. The zucchini doesn’t require trellising, but I did use a small trellis on each side of the squash, hoping to use that to drape the squash vines on and hopefully keep the squash off of the ground as they develop. I planted a total of six zucchini in a mound like the cucumbers and six squash seeds, also in a mound.

Squash on the left.  Zucchini on the right.

Squash on the left. Zucchini on the right.

I made sure to keep the mounds moistened by watering lightly with a fine mist both morning and night. The weather stayed about the same and we enjoyed a couple nice days of partly cloudy weather. Still no rain, though, which is fine. I’d rather water the plants myself at this stage.

It didn’t take long for the first sprouts to emerge …

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