March 02, 2011

The Promise of Spring

This is what we woke up to!  We started our tomato and pepper seeds in an egg incubator......exactly seven days later.......they sprouted!  Tomato and pepper seeds need between 75 and 85 degrees to sprout and I've never been able to get them to sprout this early before, so I'm very excited.  

We fill styrofoam cups with a dirtless mixture of peat moss, vermeculite, and manure.  Moisten the "dirt" mixture enough to clump, but not enough to drip before it is put into the cups.  Label the cups with the type of seed and date planted.  Be sure you have poked a few holes in the bottom of the cup.  We have learned that watering from the bottom up strengthens the roots by causing them to reach down, while not compromising the plant above the dirt which can get pushed down by watering over the top of them. 

We kept a bit of water in the bottom of the incubator for humidity purposes, not enough to "water" the plants since they will be leaving their happy home as soon as they show themselves.  Take them out of the incubator as soon as they germinate or they will become leggy if you don't. 

After they have germinated, we place the cups in clean cat litter pans that we've picked up at the local dollar store, with a half inch to an inch of water in the bottom.  About 20 cups or so will fit into one pan and it also makes them easy to carry them from the house to the greenhouse when necessary.

Everything we grow are heirloom, open-pollinated, not genetically modified (non-GMO) plants and we are extremely careful to use strict organic practices.  It is something we have had to learn to do, not because it seems to be the latest and greatest way of growing your food, but because one of our children has an auto-immune disorder which does not allow any room for toxins or modified food in any form.  In re-learning how to eat, we had to re-learn how to garden.  All of that to say that we grow, harvest and save our own seeds which allows me to go a bit overboard in the spring with planting.  Today I am looking at transplanting about 400 tomatoes and possibly more than 100 pepper plants!  Thankfully, it won't be in vain due to our warm weather and the blessing of having the greenhouse this spring.  Also, what we don't put in the ground will easily sell at the produce stand and our local Spring Festival. 

The sun is shining bright this morning and I couldn't help but go for an investigative walk around the property to see what might also be celebrating the coming of spring by sprouting!
The oregano has started.....nothing like the smell of fresh herbs to get one motivated for spring!

The rhubarb is peeking out!  This is grown in honor of my Father who comes from northern Minnesota and he dearly loves his strawberry rhubarb pie!  Plus the leaves can be used to create beautiful bird baths.

Lemon Balm.......MMmmmm!  The smell is invigorating and my mouth can almost taste it in my sweet tea!

The chives are starting to fill out and stretch for the roof of the greenhouse.  I never got around to putting them in the ground last year, so I left the pot to over winter in the greenhouse.

The Elderberry is coming along too.  We planted about a dozen as a living fence last year and I can't wait to make Elderberry Jam!  I wasn't sure how they would do through the winter, but it seems they are going to get an early start.

Even the Elm tree is budding out....might be a bit early, but it sure is pretty.  Southern Missouri has a wide variety of beautiful flowering trees that are native to our area such as the Redbud and the Dogwood trees.  You can take a walk through any wild forest and find them growing.  Driving from one little town to another down a back county road, when they are in bloom, is a beautiful sight!  

I found several other things sprouting......the lilys, daffodils, hostas....too many to take pictures of and post, but they all are whispering promises......the wonderful promise of new life......the promise of God, a new day, a new life.......a re-birth.  It's there, just waiting for you!


  1. Wonderful promises from the Father! I really like your photos...and I would never have thought to use an egg incubator... ;0)

  2. Lovely pictures and post. spring is sneaking upon us!

  3. So excited that the incubator worked for you!!!! ;D I was wondering how that would work!! :) I knew it would, but I wondered how soon!! LOVE IT! :D

  4. I don't know how I've missed that you have 2 blogs! I love the baby plants. I will be trying tomato plants from seed this year. I would like to grow more heirloom varieties, so I have the seeds. We got our shipment of fruit and nut trees so tomorrow should be planting day around here! have a great weekend!

  5. The incubator has worked beautifully and I would recommend it to everyone :o)

    Donna, what types of trees did you get? I am hoping to get some apple trees planted soon, but not sure who to order them from...any suggestions?


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