Thursday, March 25, 2010

First plantings of the year

Lettuce seedlings from my garden, last year (2009)

Tomorrow night will be that last deep freeze- predicted about 18F. After that, I don't think there will be any more nights colder than 25F degrees or so. So today I got out in the new vegetable garden and began some modest direct seeding of some of the cold weather loving Springs veggies.
I used a garden fork to do some deep soil loosening to a depth of about eight inches, then I sprinkled some organic fertilizer and hoed that in, then made furrows and began to plant a few small rows of this and that. My method will be to practice succession planting of seeds directly in the ground- one or two 3 foot rows of any particular thing, and then planting more short rows as the season progresses. This gives a more constant supply than simply planting one or two main patches at a time, of say beets or carrots. Greens do especially well with seeding small amounts more often.

Today I began with a couple of short 3 foot rows each of:
Chatenay carrots
Winter red Russian kale
White Russian kale
Rouge d'hiver lettuce
Nevada Batavian lettuce
Japanese bunching onions
Springer spinach
Gigante inverno spinach

Later on I'll plant Swiss chard, leeks, chioggia and bull's blood beets, some other lettuces, bok choy, radishes, and purple kohlrabi. Then I'll wait a couple more weeks before planting seeds of veggies that respond better to slightly warmer temperatures.

I learned from experience that I should sprinkle the seeds more carefully and slowly, really one seed at a time along the furrow. Last year I had to thin out way too many seedlings of lettuce, beets, carrots, radishes, was a sad lesson to pinch out those poor adorable extra seedlings and basically waste precious seed. Now I will only plant a few things on any given day, preparing the soil and planting the seed with more care and precision.

This weekend I will also put out my blue orchard mason bee cocoons into the nesting boxes. I can't wait to see if they hatch out in a week or two!

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