Moving forward

As usual, when I haven't written in a while it's almost always difficult.  I feel the panic rise as I think "OH MY where do I begin?"
So, where do I begin?

Three weeks ago we started our first sets of seeds.  These ones were the ones we already had on hand and also the ones we knew would be the more difficult to start.  Several types of bell peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes and eggplant.
Yes, we started early but each year, like many other gardeners out there, we strive to learn from our mistakes.  Previous years we started seeds in the wrong places, we started seeds too late, and we did not provide enough light for the poor little things to flourish and grow.
So this year we decided to start them a bit early and this time we also tried one other new tactic. Newspaper  pots!  We've tried plastic cups with holes in the bottom, buying the pots at Home Depot or Lowes, and we've even saved some of the seedling trays we've gotten when we've bought seedlings.
So far so good. The only negative I can report is the tendency for the pots to become rather moldy.  This is most likely because we were simply watering too much.
I have heard others say they like these because they break down in the soil.  One other plus to this is they are just a bit bigger which is nice.  This will allow our seedlings to grow for a while in these without the stress of transplanting. A benefit for both the plant and I!
January 21, 2013
  Not many here as we didn't have all our seeds yet.  The seed pots holding up well.

February 8, 2013
A few weeks  later right after we installed our new grow light that we purchased from Walmart.  $10.99
I had the clever idea this year to use popsicle sticks that were given to me and plastic wrap to encourage a bit more warmth for the seedlings.  At this point we were hitting a 80% germination rate.  The homemade newspaper seed pots were sprouting some sort of weird brown mold or fungus. Odd. 
February 16,, 2013 
As of now the following plants have germinated and are doing exceedingly well:
Tomatoes: Black Cherry, Rutger, Japanese Black Trifele, Christmas Grapes, Brandywine.
Purple Tomatillos
Pinata Mix Sweet Peppers
Jalapeno both hot and mild
Sweet Chocolate Bell Peppers
Bhut Jolokia
Eggplant: La Traviata, Purple Stripe Edirne, Brazalian Oval Orange
Watermelon Cream of Sasketchewan (Yes, I know! Very early for this. I will be "babying" this plant.  Every year my established plant is killed in all manner of ways. I want to try at least one of its fruits!)
Cauliflower, Purple of Sicily

The only ones that have not germinated are one of the Hot Jalepeno peppers, the Chocolate Habanero (both pots. Germination time 20-30 days! HOLY COW!), and one lonely pot with a Eggplant Purple Stripe Edirne.  
Soon I will be starting my sons Virginia peanuts which will take the normal place of our okra and some flower seeds as our goal this year is to get almost our entire garden started from home grown seedlings and not store bought.  

Many people here have followed my blog so they know our history.  For those who don't I will fill you in.
We are a US Military family.
We moved from Alaska to Maryland with about a five month notice.  
We hit numerous financial hardships as we arrived here to Maryland which prompted us to learn how to provide for ourselves as much as possible. Hunger is a great motivator to learn new skills.  And seeing your child have to go hungry, even if it is for one meal or just one snack is even a greater one.
I had always grown a herb garden during the summer.  Maybe a lone tomato plant.  A small cucumber plant.  Nothing to the scale we grow now though.  
Now there is the question that will most assuredly come up each year.  What will we try now? What will we grow now?  We've been bit by the homesteading bug/gardening bug it would seem.
I've been seriously wanting honeybees.  My husband wants to raise tilapia and rabbits.  My son wants chickens. 
Due to the fact that we live in military housing however, we are stuck with a simple fruit and vegetable garden.
Still that might just change.  
Because in less than a year, my friends, our life will be a'changin once again. It will be time for us to move, once again.
And as usual in the military way, we do not know where we are going or exactly when.  The military is great for teaching one patience.  Our life will go one of two ways, and unfortunately, that will not be revealed to us for another month or two.  
So for this year we give our all, as usual, to our garden so that we may see it give us its all. 
In between a camping trip every other weekend that is.  
I will be sad to say goodbye to our garden here but look forward to the challenges of a new one.  Maybe one with honeybees, tilapia and rabbits, and chickens.

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