Now is the time to plant spinach and lettuce OUTSIDE as well as peas if you haven’t already done it. This year I am putting them between the rows of garlic I planted last November as APHIDS DO NOT LIKE GARLIC so I’m hoping the garlic will help keep them away from the greens this year. I took the temperature of the soil in the exposed raised bed with my compost thermometer where I want to plant them and it was 60°F. Lettuce seeds germinate best at soil temperatures of 40° to 80°F so I’m in the right range. This will be mesclun so I spread the seeds over the area as shown on the left side of the picture, then put a fine layer of sand over the seeds as shown in the right side of the picture, I planted ‘Provencal Mix’ from Cook’s Gardens and ‘Rocket Arugula’ ‘Tyee’ spinach (which is slow to bolt), and another lettuce mix with Arugula that I got from the Home Grown New Mexico’s seed swapping event we had a couple of weeks ago.
I did a little experiment. I started my lettuce bowl, putting seeds on the ‘bowl’ and lightly covering with sand. I didn’t have enough room to put the whole bowl on my seed heating mat (I’ve ordered another one) so I put half ON my mat and half OFF the mat as in the picture. The heat comes from the bottom. The temperature of half ON the heat mat was 77°F and the half OFF the mat was much cooler at 70°F. The half on the mat germinated in 3 days while the half off the mat had only a few seeds germinate. Amazing how the temperature affects the germination rate. Lesson here? If you plan to start seeds indoors, get a seed heating mat. Next: Review of my Seed Starting Class last Saturday.
Today is ST. PATRICK’S DAY- TIME TO PLANT PEAS, SPINACH AND ARUGULA. I always plant them right around now and use the holiday as a reminder. I stayed home today to recoup after putting Butch down. Getting my hands in the soil is always grounding for me. Lots of things to do right now regarding gardening. Here are some of the things I did today.
COLDFRAME-I inspected the rabbit damage to see if the spinach seedlings are salvageable. All but one of them are starting to grow back from the crown which were undamaged. I planted seeds of the following in the coldframe:
SPINACH-Bloomsdale-45 days in the other half of the coldframe.
CHARD-I didn’t know (or remember) that chard is a biennial (meaning two years) but spends it’s second year mostly growing to produce seed which is why they never seem to produce as big of leaves the second year. I will pull them and plant more chard seeds-white variety.
OUTSIDE RAISED BED-Checked the outside raised beds by the house. Last fall I I dug some old horse manure into one of them and it looks great. I planted the following seeds and covered them with row cover to keep the rabbits from them:
PEAS-Dwarf Grey peas and Oregon Sugar Pod II-60 days
SPINACH-Bloomsdale-45 days and a giant variety of spinach (there I go again!) called Monstrueux de Viroflay-50 days
BUTTERHEAD LETTUCE-Yugoslavian Red-40 days
MESCLUN-Provencal mix-40 days
CUTTING LETTUCE-a new super red variety of called Sea of Red-40 days
ROMAINE-Paris Island Cos-68 days
IN THE SECOND RAISED BED- Took out the last of the carrots from fall that overwintered. They should be extra sweet! The garlic I bought at SF Farmers Market last fall is coming up in it. Lightly dug in some Yum-Yum Mix in the remainder of the bed as I’m going to plant more carrots, beets and shallots which are heavy feeders and need some extra fertilizer especially if you are putting them back in the same area. I will plant:
CARROTS- Purple Haze and Danvers
BEETS-Detroit Dark Red-60 days, Bulls Red Beet-50 days and Early Wonder beet-48 days
DUTCH SHALLOTS-picked up some Dutch Red Shallots while I wait for the French shallots to arrive. Should be a good taste test at harvest time.
MAIN GARDEN-I hooked up the hose and watered the strawberries and the asparagus. Underneath the layer of dried leaves in the strawberry bed I see new leaves starting to grow from the crowns. The asparagus is either dead from our very cold winter or they haven’t started growing yet, we will see..