Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Planting time

We've been having some amazing weather here the last few days. The temperatures have been in the lower 60sF, which is about 20ºF warmer than average. In fact, the whole of spring from the beginning of March has been warmer than the last few years.

Of course, that gives me the gardening itch : ) I was tempted to plant in the cold frames at the beginning of March, but knew better than that. But, this weekend I couldn't resist (and it's about time anyway). I planted peas, radishes, and spinach seeds in the cold frames. And I transplanted 36 small heads of Romaine lettuce from the basement into two frames.

I had planted them back in February in a 4 foot section of rain gutter filled with potting soil. I also planted radishes and spinach about the same time. The spinach get real leggy and tough—it just won't grow well for me under lights. That's my second year attempting it and I'm giving up. But the radishes and lettuce did OK. We've been eating fresh radishes from the basement for about 2–3 weeks now. They aren't as bit as from outside, but at least they exist : )

Anyway, back to the lettuce...I tried it last year with poor success. It didn't germinate well and got too leggy. This year, I had newer seed and I made sure to keep the lights very close. The results were much better. The heads are shorter and tighter. And now that they are outside, they should do well. In a few weeks we'll be eating fresh Romaine from the garden. Even if it gets cold and snows, it should do OK; I always use a Winter Density version to resist the cold. In Indiana, I had it growing most all winter in the hoop house, so a few cold blasts won't harm it.

We had a few Romaine plants left after transplanting, so we ate them. Not much of a meal, but were they ever tender—and tasty! So much better than the store-bought stuff, even the organic, locally-raised stuff...

In other gardening news, I've got pepper, tomato, broccoli, cabbage, leek, and onion seedlings growing under lights in the basement. They are doing well and should be ready to go out under row cover by the middle of May.

I'm also experimenting with a few broccoli plants in self-watering containers down there. I was hoping to get fresh broccoli over the winter, but I delayed in planting them too long. But they do appear to be doing ok. We'll see what they produce...

We also started cleaning up the cabins, getting ready for the new season. We don't open until May 8, but it doesn't hurt to be ready early. I'm starting to replace the bathroom floor in Birch. I'm hoping it isn't too bad, but I won't know until I get the tile up. Last year, what we thought would be an easy repair ended up being a large section of rotted subfloor once we got the tile up...at least this year it's above freezing : )

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