Rain on the Window Box with Seedlings Started

Seeds Started

Mid-March. Time to start the tomatoes and kale.

This year, we’re on top of it. The garden is up to speed, paths marked out, the soaker hose strategically buried under the sheet mulch. More importantly, for the first time in my life, I actually know the Last Frost Date for my region (it’s April 2nd), and the artichoke starts were started on time.

This is a first. Before this year, I never even knew there was such a thing as a Last Frost Date. Any time I’d read a seed packet, I’d think to myself, “How am I supposed to know when the last frost will be? I’m no prophet.” As if that’s what it took to follow the directions!

This year, I figured there’s probably some kind of chart out there for this kind of thing, which indeed there is.

Starting Seeds

My potting soil is worm castings. About that. The first year we were married, we went to the garden store and bought a bag of potting soil, a bunch of terra cotta pots and some seeds. We lived in a moldy little apartment with hardly any natural light; our outdoor domain was a concrete landing between flights of stairs. That year, what sprouted died, and what lived got dug up by birds. That was the last time I bought potting soil.

Tomato and Kale Started

The next apartment we lived in was bigger, faced south and included a big front porch, technically a common area shared by 12 units. We kept the window open all the time so the cat could go in and out, and I remember that time as airy, peaceful and sunny. It was also stressful and cramped, but the first story is nicer.

That year, I discovered worm bins: found a guy on Craigslist selling them cheap or for barter. I gave him a bottle of wine, some cash and a few egg plants that someone else had given me. I came home with a pound of red wigglers.

Dirty Kitchen

Long story short, this is the first chance I’ve had to use the castings my worms have been producing for the last, four years? Till now they’ve sat in a plastic bag, which we’ve hauled from one place to another. Nothing like packing a heap of dirt with you on a move. Witness above, the selfsame castings all over our kitchen.

Seeds Started

I don’t know if castings make good potting soil or not (too much nitrogen? worm tonic has almost killed several house plants of mine), but that’s what I’m using them for here. I mean, if not potting soil, what do you use them for? We’ll see how it goes.*


* Not great.