I’ve been re-reading Eliot Coleman lately, thinking about the garden, starting seeds under lights. It’s about time to take the dark cover off of the hoop house and turn it into a greenhouse.
Usually, when I am planting up my window boxes, I am pulling out last year’s growth and roots, topping them up with compost. But last fall, I said to one of the minions, take out the plants and throw them off the balcony and haul the boxes to the basement. Instead of pulling the old plants and roots out, he dumped everything off the balcony, soil, rocks for drainage, and all. Multiply that times 70, and he cost me probably $300 in materials and countless hours in labor.
So now, I have 70 completely empty window boxes and much less time. The pigs are due any week now, and our veggie plans are hugely ambitious. But my decks would look so sad without the happy flower boxes. We relax out there so much in the evenings during the warm months. They make me so happy.
I want to come up with a low maintenance and easy starting from seed plan. I want colorful annuals, suitable for a window box, perhaps with some trailing vines and taller grasses. They must be easy to start from seed and need minimal dead heading.
I always cheated and bought plugs from the Jolly Farmers. I don’t have the money to do that this year. What we do have is committed to more needs, not wants.
Help! What flowers meet those requirements?
I’m thinking marigolds, for one. Some pansies. Are zinnias easy to start from seed? Ideally, I’d like to plant directly into the window boxes.
What grass should I try? Maybe blue fescue of some variety?
Things like that totally unexpected $300 lost happened a lot with minions. Equipment left outside to get ruined, tools broken, lost. Lots of good things happened to as well. On balance, I think it was a win. Eliot Coleman suggested taking on interns in six month blocks. The first three months, you provide room and board, but they pay you $100 a week to learn. Then the next three months, you pay them back $100 a week. In all, they get a no-cost internship and you hedge your bets. It makes sense to me. Now to craft some sort of idea of what we are looking for, and what we have to offer.