Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Starting the 2015 garden

I know, seems like an over abundance of optimism on my part to be starting the garden in mid January,

but the fact is, we've been feeding off of last fall's Nevada Lettuce all winter. They're getting a little ragged now, mostly because we've been pulling leaves off to the point where some of the plants are more stem than anything else, but they held up well.

We also had some Simpson Lettuce growing along side but they insisted on bolting between Thanksgiving and Christmas no mater how aggressive I was on topping off the flower stems. Once bolted the leaves of the Simpson got pretty bitter but I did leave two of them growing to see if I could get any seed out of them, (Not so far.) and both lettuces sailed through the several freezes we've had with only a few layers of floating row cover for protection.

Just for grins, late in the fall I direct planted a few Early Green Broccoli seeds in an empty spot. (For those that just turned their noses up, and you know who your are, we eat a lot of broccoli at our house. Like pretty much every day!) It was quite late in the season and a bit cold for proper germination, but this plant, which hasn't set any florets yet, sprouted then thrived despite the cold.

So I maybe got a little impatient the other day but I ended up planting a flat with radishes, a couple more broccoli, and some Nevada lettuce and set it on a heat pad under the grow light out in the barn. Within two days the lettuce had sprouted and by the next day everybody was up and growing.

So I started a second flat with Dwarf Blue Kale, Brandywine Tomatoes, and just for grins, a couple Contender Bush Beans. A few days later everybody is up.

In our zone (8) the lettuce, kale, broccoli and radishes are all considered cool weather plants which means by mid to late May they will be done, so starting them now isn't that far off the mark. The tomatoes will take a little nursing to get them through to planting time but they too suffer in the heat so a good head start will hopefully improve yield.

The beans?? Well this photo was taken one day after the first of the two beans sprouted (The other one sprouted last night.) and it's that tall plant over on the left. As you can see it has some pretty well developed true leaves on it just one day after sprouting! I'll be transplanting them into larger pots later today but I may have jumped the gun a bit on the beans!!

In a couple weeks I'll probably repeat the plantings. This way if I've been too early with some of these initial plantings all is not lost, and if I wasn't too early we will have an extended harvest to look forward to.

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