Wednesday, April 18, 2018

It's looking like the growing season has actually begun

and the weather has finally turned a corner, into more normal temperatures for this time of year.  After a dusting of snow and some miserably cold temps on Monday, the ten day forecast looks pretty good.  Today it's 70 F and I'm seeing a lot of trees blooming and the bushes leafing out.  Nature was just biding its time, and now it's full speed ahead.

Yesterday I transplanted about 120 onion seedlings into a bed, also about 10 cole crop seedlings.  I had better success with the onion seedlings this year.  Last year there were problems with a lot of the seedlings, especially tomatoes.   I'm sure it was the potting mix that I used, a name brand from the big box store.  It was also used in the Earthbox to grow lettuce, and that was a bust too.  Most of the onions are Pontiac, a yellow storage variety, along with Ruby Ring and Red Cippolini.   I left about a foot on one side of the bed unplanted.  That area will be planted with cucumbers later.

This year I bought a bag of ProMix for starting seedlings and for the Earthbox.  ProMix is good stuff.  It is compressed into a 2 cubic foot bale, and expands to 4 cubic feet.  It's actually a better deal than the more common name brands.  The only downside is you have to add fertilizer.

There are now 2 sets of brassicas in the bed.  The second set will likely mature shortly after the first set, due to the weather, even though they were started nearly 2 weeks apart.  There's Green Magic and Imperial broccoli, Gonzalez and Point One cabbage, Kolibri kohlrabi and Minuteman cauliflower.   The screened frame keeps out the neighborhood dogs.

The overwintered spinach is very late this year, and much of it was lost last winter.  I've gotten spinach as early as mid-March, and almost always harvest some by early April.  Not this year, but I expect to pick soon.  I seeded some spinach in the empty spaces, which has germinated now, and hope to get more spinach after these heads are picked.  I have never had much success with spring-sown spinach, it usually bolts.

The lettuce in the Earthbox is growing rapidly now, and I expect to pick some very soon.  The next set of lettuce and brassicas has been moved into the coldframe, now that the nights are not so cold.

With more plants moved outdoors, there was room to re-pot the tomato seedlings into large pots (JIffy cups with holes punched in the bottom).  The pepper seedlings were re-potted last week, and okra was seeded directly into the large pots but hasn't germinated yet.  Eggplant hasn't been re-potted yet, and cucumbers don't get seeded for another week or two.  At this point there are 3 trays under the lights, with room for one more.  I don't know if there will be any need for the fluorescent light this year.

I bought 6 more pepper plants from May's greenhouse today, and will re-pot them later, so it looks like I'll need that fourth tray very soon.

The future tomato/pepper/eggplant beds have a developing cover crop of oats and field peas growing through a layer of compost, as does the squash bed.  The cover crop took a long long time to germinate.

The planting schedule calls for potatoes to go in today, but that's not going to happen.  I just picked up the seed potatoes today.  I expect to get the potatoes in early next week, after the soil warms a little more.  Otherwise it seems like things are mostly under control, for the time being.  I am trying to buy the vacant lot adjacent to mine, and split it with my neighbor on the other side of the lot.  If I get the property I intend to expand the garden on the other side of the pond.  More on that later.


Margaret said...

A possible expansion of your property - how exciting! I'm glad that your weather has finally turned - ours is looking to improve this weekend. I'll still need to spend some time hardening off everything that needs to be transplanted, but I'm hoping the soil will warm up enough over the weekend so that I can sow the peas, turnips & favas by Monday.

Phuong said...

You brassica seedlings always looks so good, but that must've been a lot of work planting out all those onions. I'm glad it's been warming up for you. We're still very wet and expecting more rain, so I don't know when we'll be able to get some planting done.

Dave @ HappyAcres said...

It looks like you've been busy! You are ahead of me on planting brassicas, since I'm still waiting for my soil to dry a bit. The raised beds are surely an advantage in that regard. I've been using the Promix bales for several years now. I've also been using their potting mix, which I like better than most I have tried.

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