Okay, yes, it’s a terrible pun. Of the seeds I planted a week ago, the arugula was the first to sprout, with several little green faces showing up by yesterday morning. It got close to freezing last night, but never quite got there, which is good, because I did not cover the bed. I wasn’t feeling particularly well yesterday, and decided that if it was only going to take a week to sprout, I’d just replant them if they got nipped. It did rain off and on all night, so I did not have to haul water this morning, so I won’t know how it went last night until I get off work this afternoon.
The cucurbits were planted indoors on Friday, and this morning brought two moldy zucchini peats, two moldy watermelon peats, three cantaloupe sprouts, and the suggestion of sprouts in all the other peats. I’m planning to plant one squash bed in seedlings and one in seeds for each of the cucurbits, then compare the results between the two at the end of the season, to see if I need to bother with starting them early in future years. Cucurbits don’t like to have their roots disturbed, so tend to make poor transplants, but our growing season is so short, and our nights so cool, that careful transplanting might be the only way to get fruit for most varieties.
It’ll be an experiment!
It’s official, there are seeds in the ground. Repeat, there are seeds in the ground.
Yesterday, I pulled all the staples holding down the chicken wire, watered the soil, then raked in two bags of compost to make up for what I took out in produce last year and what settling there was over the winter. Then I ran out of steam.
Tonight, I re-strung my square foot markers, and planted one square each of:
- Onions for greens and sets for next year
- Shallots for the same reason, though some of these might actually get large enough to eat
- Carrots (Paris Market)
- Carrots (Dragon)
- Daikon radishes
- Radishes (Early Scarlet Globe)
- Radishes (French Breakfast)
- Lolla Rossa lettuce
- Bunte Forellenschluss lettuce
- Iceberg lettuce
- Red Romaine lettuce
All of those should be okay even if we get another freeze, and some are supposed to be planted before the last frost, anyway. We’re technically a month away from our average last frost, but the forecast for the next week at least is 70s during the day, and above 40 at night (Fahrenheit, for my non-USian readers). I have plastic milk jugs to cut down for cloches, and I can throw sheets over the bed cover if the weather turns on us again, so I’m pretty confident. This is a little earlier than last year’s first planting, which happened on May 27. I’ll be planting additional squares of most of these after I get the new beds built.
Fortunately, I don’t expect perfection in my garden, because unfortunately, three of my eight Anaheim starter peats and a whopping seven of my eight Pasilla Bajio starter peats went moldy and had to be discarded. In better news, two of the Anaheims are starting to poke up, though I hesitate to call them sprouts until I see some cotyledons.
(Weirdly, last year’s efforts included cucumbers, one of which sprouted cotyledons, which hung about for quite a long time just barely above the soil. When I decided they were never going to become a cucumber plant and pulled them up, there was no evidence of there ever having been roots of any kind!)
Today, in addition to planting four more Pasillas, I started four kinds of tomato, eggplant, two kinds of basil, and some lemon mint.
I succumbed to “just one more” and bought two packets of marigold seeds (Brocade Mix and Petite Mix) and a packet of Yellow Canary Creeper nasturtium from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, who kindly sent me another free packet of Red Romaine lettuce. I’ll be finding someone to give that to, since they already sent me one with my first order of the season.
The only other news for now is that none of the indoor salad has sprouted yet, which is not terribly surprising considering that I did not cover the planters to help warm things up, and I’ve marked out my new beds for the year with little stone cairns, so I can start clearing ground, now that we’re having some occasional warm days. Hopefully my next post will include a picture of some tiny pepper sprouts!
One of the trials of gardening at 7200 feet is the short growing season. We’ve had a couple of shirt-sleeves days, but our last frost date isn’t until June sometime. I, however, have had entirely enough store-bought produce. So along with starting my Anaheim and Pasilla Bajio pepper seeds today, I filled a couple of long planters with mushroom compost left over from last year and planted some assorted lettuces and lettuce-like things, and some chives.
The bottles are to cut down for small pots to put the onions in when they need more space than their tiny starter peats.
I planted iceberg, red romaine, Lollo Rossa, Bunte Forellenschluss, arugula, spinach, mizuna, lovage, and chives. The peppers are in the covered Jiffy starter box. I started the peppers on a Friday, so there would be two days before I see them again, which will hopefully make it feel like less time until the excitement of sprouts.
The onion sprouts are just visible in the front starter box on the left side. They have had a small haircut to keep them from falling over, so I’ve already had my first harvest this season–I put the trimmings on my tuna sandwich for lunch that day! I am hoping they didn’t get so tall due to insufficient light…the table is directly under a skylight, but the angle of the sun puts the most direct light about two feet on the other side of that cubical wall to the right for now. (By midsummer, it will be shining directly onto that table, and I will be considering wearing my sunglasses at my desk.) I guess I’ll have my answer when I see if my pepper plants get all leggy on me or not.
I’m starting the second year of my garden. (I’ll get some more photos of last year’s harvests posted eventually.) The plans for this year include adding more space in a 4×16 foot bed and some assorted “hills” for some plants that will need more room to spread out. This year, I’m ordering all heirloom varieties, so I can try to save seed from the plants that do the best in my climate. Some plants are biennials, so I’ll need to over-winter some and see if they survive to produce seed in their second year. I ordered my first round of seeds on March 2, so I could get some plants started indoors, and I ordered the rest of my seeds on March 14, after making some final decisions. This year, I’m trying the Jiffy “greenhouses” with the peat pellets, and if they do well, I’ll make my own starter pots next year with more sustainable coir.
From Seed Savers Exchange, I ordered:
- Blacktail Mountain Watermelon (developed in northern Idaho, where the overnight temperatures are similar to our cool nights)
- Cheyenne Bush Pumpkin (developed in SE Wyoming)
- Italian Heirloom Tomato (a red slicing tomato)
- Opalka Tomato (a red paste tomato)
- Mexico Midget Tomato (red cherry tomato)
- Beam’s Yellow Pear Tomato (cherry-sized)
- Zebrune Shallot
- Blue Jade Corn (a dwarf sweet corn – I ordered two packets, since this only comes with 25 seeds per packet)
- Dragon Carrot (bright red skin, I couldn’t resist)
- Paris Market Carrot (a really thick carrot that I’m thinking will be an excellent roaster)
- Bountiful Snap Bean (long straight green beans)
- Sultan’s Golden Crescent Bean (a rare yellow curved bean)
- Titan Sunflowers (these have a short growing season but grow to enormous size, up to two feet across in ideal climate)
- Lemon Mint (to feed the bees)
- Triple Curled Parsley
- Prize Choy (a dwarf bok choy)
- Bunte Forellenschluss (a butterhead version of the Forellenschluss I selected last year by virtue of it having freckles)
From Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, I ordered:
- Dwarf Siberian Kale
- Yellow of Parma Onion
- Charentais Melon (a true cantaloupe)
- Anaheim Chile Pepper
- Pasilla Bajio Chile Pepper
- Miyashage Daikon (a Japanese radish that Mr. Teaspoon requested)
- Henderson’s Bush Lima Bean
- Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach
- Black Beauty Zucchini
- Lolla Rossa Lettuce (red leaf)
- Genovese Basil (traditional Italian basil)
- Lime Basil (basil with a citrus note)
- Common Chives
- Bouquet Dill
- Dwarf Jewel Mix Nasturtiums (smaller than the aggressively vining varieties, these edible flowers will also feed bees)
- Half Long Guernsey Parnsip (my true long shot for the season, as parsnips usually require a long season)
- Early Scarlet Globe Radish
- French Breakfast Radish
- Arugula (or “rocket” for my British pals, a mildly bitter green that is excellent in salads when young and can be used like spinach in cooking when older)
- Mizuna (a Japanese green similar to mustard greens)
- Lovage (somewhat like celery, if it just grew leaves instead of long stalks, used similarly)
- Early White Vienna Kohlrabi (a cabbage relative grown for its bulbous stem)
- Rossa di Treviso Radicchio (also by Mr. Teaspoon’s specific request)
- Purple Top White Globe Turnips (they did so well last year)
- Iceberg Lettuce (for crunch in the salads)
I planted my onion seeds indoors on March 12, and today, I had sprouts!
These eager onions sprouted in only three and a half days.
Today brought a few more sprouts! Two more radishes (one of the German Giant variety, to go with all the French Breakfast sprouts), a second spinach, three more beets, and I’m pretty sure a cucumber all arrived since last night. I wasn’t able to get a great picture of the cuke, so hopefully it will be unfolded tomorrow, and I can confirm it was actually a sprout, and not some random bit of detritus posing as a sprout.
Radish. Radish. Radish. Radish. (French Breakfast)
Radish. (German Giant)
And the poor bedraggled $300 turnip is still there, still bedraggled, and I still don’t know if it will recover from being snacked on.
Turnip? Or my first contribution to compost?
It seems that the radishes weren’t the only ones to get a little competitive once the newcomers were in the ground. After watering tonight, I noticed a brand new beet seedling and a shy spinach seedling peeking out.
I’m a beet!
I’m a spinach!
Sadly, it appears that someone munched the $300 turnip. I don’t know whether the poor wee thing will recover or not, but there are plenty more turnip seeds to be had. I think I was a bit too close when I snapped this:
Sad turnip is sad.