Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Some Early Mistakes

The gardening year is young but I have already discovered a few things I do that need to be changed:
(1) In early March (the 14th to be exact) I seeded the area within a wooden frame that has a glass cover with various kinds of lettuce, some Swiss chard, and some other greens. While they all germinated germination and growth was very slow. I did much better with seed that I started indoors and transplanted outside later. Having this frame in one of my beds also interfered with my ability to follow my garden plan because lettuce wasn't scheduled for that space. When I did remove the frame it fell apart so that will help not repeat this mistake.
(2) I still have a habit of using more seed than I need to. For example I may put four or five tomato seeds in a little pot. Generally they all germinate and I am loath to thin them out. But I only use as many pots as I want plants, so two seeds would be enough. But I am learning to snip off extra seedlings (or, at least, some of them). Outside I also tend to overseed. This all goes back to Jim Crockett saying something to the effect that if you are stingy with your pea seeds your peas will be stingy with you. Maybe that is true for peas in the early Spring but it doesn't seem to be necessary for all vegetables.
(3) I still set out seedlings too soon. Nice weather just doesn't mean that the soil is warm enough for little seedlings to flourish. And often I have not hardened them off long enough. So I am putting seedlings that are too small and not properly prepared into the garden before the soil (and sometimes the air) is warm enough. While they try hard to please me they would do better if I waited a couple of weeks more.

So that I don't feel totally full of mistakes, I am happy to say that I have actually begun using the row cover material that I bought last year. That year I put it over an area where I had just planted pak choi and Chinese cabbages seeds. (Flea beetles seem to love these plants.) But with the row cover there I did not water the seeds and germination was poor or many of the emerging seedlings dried up, but the number of plants was very small. And, they also had flea beetles anyway. This year I started the plants indoors and put the row cover over them immediately after planting, making sure that it was pretty well secured around the edges. They seem to be doing very well and we may be eating some of them in the next few days. So that looks like one success.

May there be more.

1 comment:

  1. Have you planted anything that Ian can eat when he gets there in June? He likes melons and broccoli . . .