It’s been a busy few weeks in the garden lately! After a couple weeks of teasing, Mother Nature has gone back to her traditional early spring ways, with cold (often frosty) nights followed by 45-50 degree days. The strawberries are outside, and doing pretty well. They are tough little plants, so there’s little worry there. The other day we had a light snowfall and they shook it right off and continued producing sprouts and even some early flowers. I almost think they are doing better since I put them outside in the colder temperatures than they were in the nursery room window.
We also planted the lettuce last weekend, and since it hasn’t come up yet it’s been protected from the frost nights we’ve had this week. The chard went out last week as well, and even though it’s still very small, the plants are doing okay. Most of the sports were laying over because of the wind, so I stood them up and mounded some soil around them to help hold them up. We always have extra seed if they don’t make it (we were running out of nursery space so they had to go out). I’m hoping that this weekend’s 65 degree days and warmer nights well help the chard settle in and perk up a bit.
The broccoli and romanesco is toughening up already and seems to enjoy the chilly temps. Each has a woodier stem already than when they went out a week ago, and the nearly constant wind we’ve had seems to have toughened them up. One thing about this Sta Green soil is that it seems tough to get really wet at first, so that is something to be aware of if you have any type of “moisture control” mix. You really have to soak it at first, sort of like peat moss when it dries out.
This weekend, we are also started the last round of seeds: cucumbers (straight eight and lemon), squash (zucchini), and beans (mixture of yellow, green, and purple bush type beans). I also couldn’t resist the purple basil seeds I had been eyeing, so those go in the dirt this week as well.
Next year, I am going to just start everything in these larger peat pots to save the time/hassle of transplanting. Picking microscopic little seedlings from their seed starter mix and gingerly planting them into larger pots takes hours, and is nowhere near as fun as it sounds! But the results have been good. It is really amazing how hearty even tiny little seedlings really are.
One plus of the square peat pots is that you can fit 12 of them perfectly inside one dollar store aluminum cake pan, which helps a great deal with watering, as the cake pans can catch any runoff water. I’ve also found that watering the pan itself rather than the small plants allows them to wick it up as needed.
|The square medium-sized peat pots fit perfectly into the dollar store cake pans, making watering a lot easier and a lot less messy! Plus, moving things around is a lot quicker.|
This weekend we also potted up the cilantro and dill (in the big white window box) as well as some other herbs. I have an experimental small pot of each that is hardening off now, so if all goes well with those the big box will go outside soon after. As you can see, it is becoming crowded in the nursery room!
|Seedling table as of 4/15/12|