Apparently, They’re Insane

Remember when I said this?

Dear FTC:  They provided free samples to anyone that asked.  I asked; they sent.  Although, if Emergency Seed Bank is also afflicted with the insanity malady and wishes to provide me more seeds to expose to extreme peril and certain death for the sake of internet fame and recognition, I’d be happy to oblige.  I’ll disclaim accordingly if such madness transpires.

If not, that’s a big ol’ link that will take you there.

Well…They actually responded with this.

Hi Jennifer,

glad to hear that you liked the swiss chard. I would like to send you out an Emergency Seed Bank. It contains 23 Heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid varieties of garden seed sufficient for a 1-acre emergency garden. You can save the seeds from year to year. You’re welcomed to ask us any questions along the way. What we ask in return is that you write on your blog once a month about your experience with the seeds. And that you grow (or at least make a good effort) at least one plant of every variety.


You really want to risk me killing 23 Heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid varieties of garden seed?

I don’t think they know what they are getting into.  But hey, why not?  You all will enjoy my total noob gardening adventure right?  And I haven’t killed the chard yet.  At least, not all the chard…

So, in anticipation, we increased the garden area from this tiny section you can see bordered by the bricks.

Last year, this little plot contained 2 pear tomato plants, a better boy tomato, a beef steak tomato and an Armenian cucumber.  There was a pot at the end with jalapeños and a habanero plant.  The tomatoes did alright.  Not great, just alright.  The cucumber died a horrible and disappointing death during the drought.  We didn’t get a single cucumber from it.  Cucumber FAIL.

We eliminated the hot tub and expanded the garden to 110 square feet.  Understand that we live in town on about 1/8 of an acre.

And then a box came in the mail.

It came with a book to tell us how to plant and harvest.  And a separate book to tell us how to harvest the seeds.  Yep, these people are insane.  They’ll sell you this box of seeds with instructions on how to never need to buy another one.  And, it all came in a freaking ammo box.  These people have a good idea of their market.

So after careful planning

Complete with full consultation of the book, the Google and a beverage of choice.  We began to plant.

Notice the high end dividers.  Yeah.  That very night, we had a crazy windstorm.  Everything moved.  But that’s alright.  The garden is now random salad!  I found spinach where we hadn’t planted anything.  How’d I know it was spinach?  I ate it.  It tasted like spinach, and I didn’t die.  So either I have a very tasty random weed, or the spinach moved in the wind.

And look!  Radish!  (I’m pretty sure.)

And unidentified sprouts!

I don’t know what they are yet, but I bet they’ll be tasty if I don’t kill them.

And so, you will either be reading about the adventures of noob gardener Jen, or possibly, Farmer Jen, Vegetable Assassin.    Either way, should be interesting, right? So, Thank You, Emergency Seed Bank! As of this point, I highly recommend this to everyone that wants a vegetable garden. I’ve never grown anything from seed before this year. I can kill ivy, just saying. And yet, sprouts. At least one of which is big enough to eat. This is a big deal, I promise.

–Why yes mystery FTC character, they did give me seeds in return for posting.  That’s kind of what this entire post was about.  Therefore, I have nothing to disclaim.  I claim every word.

The Chard! It’s Sprouting!

Pardon me for a moment while I examine my thumbs.
Well they certainly don’t look any less brown. And definitely not green by any stretch.

You see, I’m a plant killer.  Mass murderer actually.  Seriously.  I’ve killed ivy.

/me glances over at yellow leaves on office philodendron

But last year, in a moment of insanity, I ordered a little package of seeds from Emergency Seed Bank.  It was a free sample.  No, they aren’t paying me a dime to write about them, and the sample was not provided in exchange for a post.  I didn’t even know what I was going to get.

So a few days later, I received a little brown envelope that I didn’t even remember ordering because I’m on top of these things.  Inside was a a little silver package that said Swiss Chard on the side.

Um…  What on earth is Swiss Chard???  This, apparently.  Yes, I had to look it up.

Well, okay then.  Still not quite knowing what malady had tripped a random wire in my head to cause me to order seeds, I placed the packet on top of the aquarium.

The same malady also encouraged me to save seeds from some lovely farm grown tomatoes and from our very own backyard habaneros.  So those seeds went into a jar and an old 35mm film* canister, respectively.  And up on top of the aquarium they went.  It’s a large and currently uninhabited aquarium.

And you know what having 3 varieties of seed stored in the dining room leads to?  Google!  So the internet told me that I should start them indoors 6-8 weeks before the last freeze for my area.  I live in Oklahoma.  They don’t know what the weather will do tomorrow.   How am I supposed to know when the last freeze is going to hit?  Google doesn’t even know that!

Now, I’m intimidated.  But a guy at church who knows about these things said it was time.  So I headed to the hardware store for some Jiffy Mix seed starter stuff, because the internet said not to use regular dirt, and some kind of trays to start them in.  The aluminum drip trays from Weber sold in a pack of 10 for $5 so I went with that.  And last Sunday night proceeded to start my seeds.

I learned that it is much easier to label the trays before you get them full of moist seed mix. (Should have been a well duh, but I’m new at this)  Also, seed mix is not like dirt and does not absorb water readily.  There is a lot of mixing and squishing involved.  Oh, and Swiss Chard seeds look a bit like grape nuts and are kind of spiny.  I let them soak in warm water, as per the internet, while I planted 3 tiny trays of tomatoes.

Wet Swiss Chard seeds will stick to your fingers.  Probably would have been smart to drain them rather than use my dirty fingers to pick them out of the water where they were floating.  But I planted them in 2 drip trays of their own.  The internet said none of the seeds would need light until they actually sprouted, but they did need to be kept warm.  And so, into the master bathroom went the five trays along with a space heater and spray bottle so I could keep the whole mess warm.

And this morning!  Swiss Chard sprouts!  OMG!!  I’ve never grown anything from seed before.  And there are several worm looking sprouts coming out of my drip trays!  It only took 4 nights.  Of course, now I’m wondering what have I gotten myself into.  And really, Emergency Seed Bank, trusting me with the care and cultivation of dozens of baby plants?  That’s probably not the wisest thing ever.  I mean, plants in the nursery recoil in horror when I browse.

So, I guess we will see how it goes.  It might be wise to place your bets now on how soon I kill them.  They may not have much time.

It occurs to me that this post would be much better with a picture of said baby worm things, but I saw them before 7 this morning which is also before caffeine.  Thus, no picture.  I’ll take one when I get home.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll have infant tomato plants by then too.  Although, the internet says that will take a few more days.

I’m starting to feel ambitious.  I think I’ll plant the habanero seeds this weekend!  I promise better photo documentation of their planting process.

*kinda like a memory card except that it was one time use only and delete was forever.  And no previews.  Also, you had to completely fill it up before you could look at the pictures which required you send it off to someone that performed special alchemy to transfer the image to paper.  So really, nothing at all like memory cards.

Dear FTC:  They provided free samples to anyone that asked.  I asked; they sent.  Although, if Emergency Seed Bank is also afflicted with the insanity malady and wishes to provide me more seeds to expose to extreme peril and certain death for the sake of internet fame and recognition, I’d be happy to oblige.  I’ll disclaim accordingly if such madness transpires.