Spring has sprung! (well almost)

lettuce_greenhouse germinating

This lettuce is from Johnny’s called All-Star Gourmet Lettuce mix coming in the greenhouse.

In celebration of my FIRST CROPS coming up in the greenhouse, I’ve changed the background color on my blog back to green from winter blue. In my mind, winter is over although not officially – that won’t take place till the first day of spring on Spring Equinox on March 20 and of course we can still (will) get snow. No matter. I’m ready! I’m moving on and planting stuff (in the greenhouse). What kind of stuff? Read on to find out!

bok choy_yellow green

These are a golden yellow pak choi (shakushina) from Kitazawa. They’re already a great yellow-green color and will make a wonderful contrast to the tatsoi.

These first crops took about 12 days to germinate-they actually came up on March 1 so they were planted on Feb 17th. They are all still tiny but coming up nicely. The top picture is a lettuce mix from Johnny’s called All Star Lettuce Mix that’s suppose to grow out evenly. The second picture is a golden-yellow pak choi (shakushina) from Kitazawa. Also from Kitazawa are Pak Choi rosette (tatsoi) and white stem dwarf pak choi (both not shown). These were all recommended in Elliot Coleman’s book, Four Season Harvest (except the golden-yellow pak choi which I couldn’t resist because of the color). According to Elliot Coleman they all do well in cold greenhouses.   I have winter weight row cover over them now to protect them at night. I also planted Winter Bloomsdale spinach from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange at the same time and it’s coming up way slower but the first 2 seedlings broke ground yesterday, on March 3.

Ah, spring has sprung-and we got rain this week! What could be better?! I’m also going to plant transplants this week to see how they do in comparison to the seedlings. I’ll get pics later on that one.

Starting Seeds Inside

Pea seeds starting to sprout after being treated with ascorbic acid.

Last Saturday I taught a seed starting class at the Railyard classroom. I want to share the information sheets I provided in class with anyone who might be interested.

STARTING SEEDS INSIDE will help anyone who wants to get a head start on how to start seeds inside.

One of the tricks with peas (especially if they are older) is to soak them in a water/ascorbic acid mix. To read how, go to PRESPOUTING SEEDS. I soaked them for 2 days and then put them in damp paper towels and in a plastic baggie. The little seed germinates the root right away. Then plant each pea root down in a little pot being careful not to break the root and wait for them to come up. My goal is to plant the pea PLANTS by March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day) instead of planting the SEEDS that day.

DIRECT SEEDING: TRANSPLANTING covers planting seeds for warm season crops directly in the soil AFTER the danger of frost has passed.

COOL-WARM SEASON CROPS is a list of plants you can grow by season. We are right now in the beginning of our growing seasons which is COLD SPRING/FALL meaning we can plant those plants in early spring and again in fall. The next group we can plant on the list (generally in April) is called COOL WEATHER crops and then of course we go into the WARM SEASON crops which is after the last frost freeze date (our area May 15th) and for those cold hardy people there is a list of WINTER crops.

Four Season Harvest by Eric Coleman

I suggest you read Eliot Coleman’s Four-Season Harvest book which is a great resource for all seasons.

SEED STARTING DATE CALCULATOR from Johnny’s Seeds does all the work for us as to when to start seeds inside and when to plant them in the ground (that also means when to put in transplants if you choose to buy them instead). I just plugged in the last frost free date and it does the rest. Now all we have to do is get a calendar out and write down when we should start the seeds for the plants we want to grow this year. A terrific resource. Johnny’s has some other great tools on their main page in the left hand column under GROWING GUIDES called Interactive Tools. Be sure to check them out.