Sunday, April 5, 2015
Spring is in full swing. The trees are budding, the forsythias are in full bloom, the first of the redbud and dogwood trees are in bloom, the grass is green and the birds are singing. It is a beautiful time of year! The time gardeners look forward to all winter............
This past week, I couldn’t resist planting the seedlings I started in the Aerogarden. Big box stores have lots of cool season vegetables in stock, too. This is the perfect time to get in all your cool season crops like lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, greens, beets, carrots, peas, turnips, most herbs. A little frost doesn't hurt these spring lovers.
Here is what I transplanted to the garden:
9 Star broccoli (a perennial)
Annual broccoli (Apollo, Rudolph,Thompson, Veronica hybrid)
Cabbage (Vertus Savoy and Wakefield)
Belle Island Cress
Lettuce (New Fire, Red Sails, Red Romaine)
Mustard (Golden and Ruby Streaks, Tah Tsai)
Parsley (Curled and Italian)
Blueberry bush (Tophat is a great one for small spaces)
I am excited to see how the perennial broccoli does and how it tastes. This will be my first year growing it. It took quite some time to find a seed company that sells seeds. I ended up getting them from England.
Transplanted 3 weeks ago under a row cover which can be planted right now without covering:
Lettuce (Grand Rapids, Jericho Romaine, Magenta, Red Sails)
I do love sprouting broccoli for salads. Its leaves taste just like the buds and it produces small buds all summer, perfect for adding to salads. When it is super hot in summer, sprouting broccoli is a great tasting and nutritious substitute for lettuce.
With each planting, I dust the roots of the transplant with mycorrhizae. This adds beneficial microbes to the roots of the vegetable which helps the plants absorb much more nutrition from the soil. Gives you bigger plants and bigger harvests! You can also add a handful of compost or worm castings in each hole.
Seeds I directly planted in the ground:
Lettuce, spinach and peas
By planting both lettuce plants and seeds, we will get an extended harvest of leaves. I'll continue to sow more seeds outdoors about every three weeks. Next round I will start sowing the heat tolerant lettuces: Bolt-free summer lettuces
Seeds I am starting indoors in soil and peat pods:
Pole beans-Romano, Scarlett Runner (beautiful red flowers with edible beans), Blauhilde (a beautiful German purple flat bean)
Guyana watermelon seed
For all legumes (beans and peas), be sure to treat the seed with rhizobia inoculant prior to planting. The yields are dramatically more when you inoculate legume seeds. You can get inoculant at any big box store or nursery.
I used a combination of peat pods and 6 pack plastic containers with seed starting soil for the large seeds. I use a heating mat too that you can buy on line, the hardware store, or nurseries. Many of my seeds sprouted in 2 days!
Seeds I started indoors in my Aerogarden (hydroponic seed starting system):
Sweet peppers (Yellow banana, Corno di Toro, Topepo Rosso, Super Red Pimento, Emerald Giant and some red/orange/yellow banana pepper seeds saved from store bought peppers)
Hot peppers (a pepper from Guyana my uncle saved the seed from, Chiltepin, an orange habanero from saved seed, Poinsettia, Ancho/Poblano)
Eggplant (Turkish Orange and Japanese White Egg)
Herbs (Oregano, Marjoram, Rosemary, Stevia, Basil-Blue Spice & Thai Holy Kaprao)
Tomatoes (Cherokee Purple, Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Pear, Glacier, Red October, Black Sea Man, and seeds saved from store tomatoes-a large burgundy and green striped, a large red butterfly shaped, and red grape tomato that stored really well)
Red Leaf Amaranth
When you are thinking about fertilizing this season, here are some pointers by vegetable type. Leafy greens like nitrogen. Root crops like potassium. You can get nitrogen from compost, alfalfa, soybean meal or fish emulsion. Potassium can be gotten from green sand via its potash content. Fish emulsion actually gives not only nitrogen, but also potassium and phosphorous.
For pots, I also water with fish emulsion. Germination of seeds outdoors should take anywhere from 4-15 days, depending on how sunny and warm it is outside. I am sure I will be out there looking for little green shoots daily!