Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm Getting a Slow Start

Maybe I am misled by the warm spring we have had so far, but I seem to be behind in my "regular" gardening. Working on building cold frames and trying to get some greens started early in cold frames I have been late in starting seeds for the garden. As a result I have peppers that are just beginning to form their first true leaves and tomatoes that certainly don't look like they will be big enough to set out later this month.

I am concerned about the potting soil I used. It retains a lot of moisture so that some of the seedlings that I set out were sitting in dripping potting soil. But they certainly have roots. I am mostly concerned about the growth of the seedlings. Several days ago I planted out the smallest lettuce seedlings ever. But, knowing that lettuce is pretty hardy (and that I have bunches more still in their little containers), I set out about 60 tiny seedlings. I put them in the frame that I used for the winter lettuce and, later, the early Asian greens and covered the frame with row cover material to protect them from too much sunlight. Hopefully the slugs won't find them immediately.

I have also set out celeriac - although this may be too early as I have read that they will bolt in the warm weather. Anyone with experience with celeriac, let me know. The parsley is in - now that it is large enough so that I can distinguish it from the cutting celery. [I didn't label the containers.] I have planted potatoes and set out more leeks yesterday. I planted the leeks by dropping them into holes made with a dowel. Usually I dig trenches and plant them in the bottom and then pull the extra soil over them as they grow. I'll see how this method works because it is certainly easier and allows more leeks in the same space since there isn't soil piled up along the sides.

We may now be where we are producing enough of our own greens that we don't need to buy them at the grocery store. The Asian greens (Chinese cabbages, komatsuna, and pak choi) have grown well and are ready to eat. We have been working on the lettuces that I planted out in the cold frames earlier. [The winter lettuce have been gone for some time - how long will 22 lettuce plants last?] We have been eating last year's kale and scallions and have started on this year's zen and spinach.

Now, since I am already late, I need to start some basil, more kale and squash inside, and fava beans and scallions outside. From the limited way in which scallions have germinated inside this year I suspect that the seeds have lost much of their viability.

And, just as I finish this my wife spotted a nice fat groundhog in the back yard with something nice and green in its mouth. Guess we didn't get them all last year.

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