Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Seed-starting, take 1

We intended to start a flat of seeds last month but the ground was still covered with snow and spring seemed a LONG way off. Now it's March, Saturday was sunny while Sunday was sunny AND warm with a high of 61ºF. DH could no longer resist the urge to plant.

On Saturday, he planted 72 pods with a combination of seeds including cabbages (red, green and savoy), cauliflower, broccoli, and lavender. On Monday there were tiny cabbage seedlings pushing through and today the flat looks like this. From left to right, the flat shows sprouts of three different cabbages (Ruby Perfection, Early Jersey Wakefield and Savoy Ace), Early Snowball cauliflower, Calabrese and De Cicco broccoli, Parris Island and Jericho lettuces (romaine or cos lettuces), and a couple of bunching onions in the last two fully visible columns. With 72 cells, DH planted 6 of each variety. Nothing on the right side, out of view in this photo, had sprouted as of this morning but the flat's sitting on the landing near the woodstove and according to the thermometer resting beside it, the temp is a constant 75ºF. so the remaining sweet onions and lavender should be coming along soon.

Sunday's warmer temps encouraged him to weed a couple of beds in preparation for the real spring planting to come. Hopefully in another week, this bed will have sugar snap peas planted at the foot of the wire trellis.
He also put covers on any open cold frames. The soil temperature should rise to allow direct planting in there later this week. Some years we leave the covers on all the cold frames but this year's snows (30", 22", 9" and several lesser ones) didn't seem to melt before the next one hit so DH was worried the weight of a big snow might break the glass in the old window sashes we use for covers. Plus with the nightly temps hanging around 0ºF. and sometimes down to -9ºF. the frames weren't as helpful in prolonging the growing season as they've been in more moderate winters.
The only thing we had to winter over in a cold frame was winter rape. Immediately after taking this picture I picked some and added it to the fried rice I made for lunch. We also like it in a green salad or on sandwiches. For some reason I think egg salad sandwiches are a particularly good fit with Hanover salad as it's sometimes called.

The chickens are still pastured on the rear garden plot, planted with potatoes and pumpkins last year. Usually by this time they'd be on the front beds but, again, the snows caused us to deviate from the regular plans and it's on the ground in areas (notice background in photo below). We'll move them to the next section before the week's out and then on to the last garden area before it's time to plant in earnest. Letting them roam over the garden beds has made a huge difference in the amount of bug damage the garden suffers each summer.

No comments: