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Garden Report v2.3 - Peeking Out

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Not to much to report visually this week, so no photos. Mostly just planted some more seeds. Each type of seed, understandably, has different instructions to follow if you hope for good results. For example, some like to be planted directly outside after the last frost or if the soil temp is high enough, some can be started inside. For the inside varieties, you can't just plant everything at once, and let it all grow together. Since they all grow at different rates, the seeds have to be staggered so that they are of just the right size when the danger of frost has past, and they can be transplanted outdoors. Too small and they won't have enough time in the season to produce; too big and the transplant shock might prevent a decent harvest anyway. And it's likely they don't have enough room in the little pots you started them in.

The way I deal with it, and probably many other people do as well, is to write in my probable last frost date on a calendar. Then I count back and label each week with the number of how many weeks it is to last frost date. Seed packets, and garden books and guides usually tell you how many weeks before frost specific seeds should be started. Mid-winter I establish what I want to plant for the year, and then map out on graph paper where everything will go, paying attention to how much space I need between plants. Once I have a list of plants, it's pretty easy to fill in on the calendar what needs to happen each week. So, each week, I look at the calendar and plant what it tells me to plant.

This week tomatoes went into the seed-starting flats. 4 cells each of "Sweet Treats" cherry variety, "Cordova" a roma-type sauce variety, and "Burbank" an heirloom slicing variety. It's overkill for how many plants will fit in the garden, but I'm planning to give a few away to friends. The celery and peppers from 3 and 2 weeks ago respectively are coming up nicely. I'm extremely happy with my germination percentage this year, since for the most part I'm using the same seed I used last year. So far I haven't had a cell come up blank. I'm probably close to 100% (each cell gets 2 or 3 seeds, so it's hard to know exactly). You know last week when I said this year was going to be a back to basics year? Go with what worked? No experiments? Yeah, I lied. I was at the store yesterday looking for some thyme seeds (which I thought were a common enough herb, but nobody has them!) and saw both beet seeds and okra. So... yeah, my experiment plants this year are beets and okra. Both are planted outside directly, so nothing to do yet except try and find them a little space in my crowded plots. However, I did also get some flower seeds, and I started 12 cells each of marigold, petunia, and pansy. They'll add some color to the new beds created by redoing our driveway last fall.

Also inside, I ended up transplanting the rest of the lettuce to larger pots. I think I completely destroyed the root system on two of them, but the ones I transplanted last week were doing so much better than the ones I didn't, I thought it was really time to go ahead with all. Also, the onions got their first haircut this week. Even though I'm treating them identically, for some reason the white onions are doing way better than the red. Funny, because it was exactly the opposite last year.

Outside, things are still incredibly mushy. I have pretty bad soil as far as draining goes. Pretty much solid clay about 2 feet down. So water tends to sit, and sit, and sit. The sage/oregano corner of the one bed is really waterlogged. Hope they're not drowning. The chives are actually coming out quite nicely. Still no progress for the asparagus, but that will come as the soil warms up. Air temp is still in the low 30s F during the day here (-1 to 2 C or so). However, I'm very happy to report that a cursory examination of the garlic area shows shoots poking up about an inch in all four rows. I planted 48 cloves, and it appears as though most of them are coming up. I didn't count precisely, but things are looking good. The strawberries live, but need to have some debris (leaves and such) cleared out. Too wet to do right now, but as soon as I can, I'll get out there to clean things up for them a bit. Around the house, I'm also starting to see the daylilies and wild tulips peek out. I leave you with a pic of the tulips from early last year.

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Well, that's what's going on in the garden this week.

On tap for next week: The soil temperature game: Time to plant peas?

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