Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I can almost feel the snow melting

Rain, rain,
come today,
Come and take
this snow away...!

I can't believe i'm about 80% ready to plant. Just waiting for time now. That last 20% is waiting until the last frost date is closer, getting in the final order of my seeds and starting some of them.
I may have already written this down somewhere, but i decided that i'm starting peppers and eggplant indoors under lights and will be wintersowing the broccoli, bok chois and kales outside in the mini greenhouse.
Not sure what i'll do with the tomatoes yet.  In the past i have started them so early that they have gone leggy and i have had to bury about 8 inches of stem. Last year i wintersowed them in cell packs but got caught by frost  March 11th. (See this entry appropriately titled "Ouch").  Had i read my Old Farmer's Almanac  email newsletter for that week i might have been more cautious.
Newsletter for May 11, 2010
So whatever i do with the tomatoes, i'll not take the chance and will bring them indoors on such nights.
The main reason i start seeds in cell packs at all is because if i sow them direct in the garden, i'd be scared to weed around them until they are recognizable size. After how many years doing this, and i still forget every spring what most seedlings look like?  So planting a leafy, 3 inch seedling is easier for me to do than direct sowing.  I don't think either give me an advantage on harvest date- a day or two at most.  But maybe a bit against the weeds.
Of course our ancestors didn't grow their kitchen gardens with plastic trays under fluorescent lights. Its hard for me to imagine my great-grandfather mucking about with plastic cell packs and shoplights...  but i'm sure he used sod strips, cold frames and manure-heated hot beds. I have read a bit about those in some old and free ebooks that offers and in other places. I have never used a classic cold frame, i suppose my mini greenhouse could be considered one. I don't have a source for fresh manure to run a hotbed- although Molly does produce an awful lot of waste for a dog that eats once a day....but let's not go there.  My mini greenhouse does make hardening-off so much easier and it keeps the seedlings in the sun- i don't have enough suitable windows for this even if i jettisoned all my houseplants.

So, at any rate, i'll keep re-reading my garden books, probably revise my planting plan a hundred times from now and then get started with the seeds. Pinetree is on a 10 day backlog so i'll be patient.  I have my pepper and eggplant seeds form Johnny's so they may get started by the end of the week.

No comments: