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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Spring seed starting and planting

This is the time of year I start getting really excited about the garden. My first seeds of tomatoes, serrano chiles, leek and others are already sprouting under grow lights and with the help of a seed starting heat pad to help them along. 

Today I planted mesclun, basil and padrone pepper seeds. The space under my one and only grow light is filling up pretty fast, so I'll soon be back at Lowes to buy another one. After lunch I headed out to the garden and planted some red potatoes, escarole and fava beans. It will be interesting to see how the potatoes, in particular, do with the square foot gardening method  in my raised beds.

A few days ago I transplanted onion, lettuce, spinach, kale and arugula in those beds, as well as seeding beets and radishes. Tomorrow I'll plant a square of carrots, then only other things I'll have to plant will be tomatoes, beans, peppers and eggplant as well as a second crop of lettuce.which won't happen for another two months. That will be it for those beds. I have an artichokes and garlic growing in a   large pot, and have to get another one that size for the other artichoke yet to plant.

Last summer I had two 4x8 foot, 2 feet deep beds built; and set them up with the square foot gardening grids. Since they were built late in the season, most of what I planted was cold weather crops - like cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccolini, lettuce, scallions and garlic.

The very cold weather arrived before most of them were ready for harvest, so I covered the beds with heavy grade remay and checked a couple of times during the winter. I harvested lettuce and arugula into January; but it didn't look like the cole crops were going to do anything. So I wrote them off and I figured I'd pull them all out when I started re-planting this spring; but when I went out a several days ago to prep and fertilize some of the squares, lo and behold, there was broccoli ready to pick, and the broccolini was already flowering, and the cabbages were already forming small heads and the brussel sprouts had very tiny fruits already formed.

The few carrots from last year look like they may also be continuing their growth; and there was one lone spinach and some lettuce volunteers from last years plants. I never expected that those plants could suspend ripening all those months, and then  continue to grow the minute the weather started to warm. I don't know if that would have happened without the heavy covering of remay; but I certainly found it to be a very nice surprise.