Update on our status. First of all, March 15th seems SO far away! That's the earliest date for planting maize outside in our zone. It's very important to know your zone so you can determine when and what to plant. We reside in zone 7a here in Durham (but our friends in neighboring Raleigh are in zone 7b, so it's very important to check!) Find out what zone you live in here.
We have sourced all the materials for our container garden. For our Three Sisters container we are using a large oak half-barrel which contained bourbon in a previous life. It smelled so strongly that even several days after unloading it, the CR-V still smelled like whiskey! We also bought a couple bags of pebbles to place in the bottom for drainage, several bags of topsoil and a bag of peat moss. For the olla, we chose a 10" terra-cotta flower pot and saucer, and we picked up Gorilla Glue, caulk, and a bit of oil-based paint. We also got an 84" wrought-iron double shepherd's crook planter hanger for the 2 inverted nightshade planters. After building the olla (procedure forthcoming on the olla page) and drilling some drainage holes, we were able to put everything together and now we're ready to plant maize on the 15th! I'll post a procedure for the container soon as well. We'll have to wait until we have seedlings to put the nightshade planters together.
We also got seed. We purchased seed for tomatoes, pinto beans, spaghetti squash, and, on a lark, some cilantro seeds. We hadn't really planned to do cilantro but we have a spare planter sitting around and we use a lot of both cilantro and coriander (the same plant: it's an herb until it bolts and then becomes a spice!). We didn't buy any maize seed; instead I pulled about 40 kernels out of the popcorn jar and wrapped them in a moist paper towel to see if they were any good. After just 3 days over 70% of the kernels had germinated, and so we went ahead and planted the most promising ones in some peat pellets. As of today five out of six have sprouted up through the peat moss
And here are the young shoots, just showing their faces:
A couple notes:
Normally, you would plant multiple seeds in each of the peat pellets, then thin out the weaker ones leaving the strongest plant, but we had a lot more of the pellets than we needed and we knew all 6 seeds were good so I decided to sacrifice some pellets to be sure we pick the strongest individuals for use in our garden.
Also, it's still too early for our maize seedlings to be outdoors overnight, we just took them outdoors for better light to take the picture.