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Garden Report v2.6 - Spring!

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[cross-posted at transmogrifiedearth.blogspot.com - go there for the pics.]

The forsythia is blooming! Which, as near as I can tell according to the folklore, means either that spring is here, or we have three more snows yet. In western New York, that's probably the same thing. From what I understand, the essence of those beliefs comes from the fact that the forsythia start blooming due to a general increase in the overall soil temperature. That's a good sign for me, since the seeds I planted a couple weeks ago don't seem to be doing much. Only the mesclun mix has really come up. Hopefully the increase in soil temperature will allow the other seeds to get going. Read across the fold for the garden update, inside and out, and more pictures.

We've reliably had rain here every day for the past few weeks. I think I remember one day where it wasn't at least partially cloudy and sprinkling. As a result, everything in the garden is still pretty sodden. Do I write this every week or what? Finally I just gave up on trying to get the lettuce more hardening off time. If they die, they die. It's far more important to me that I get the tomatoes and peppers out of the tiny seed starting cells and into better pots. So this past week I took my 24 lettuce seedlings, which were actually doing quite well inside, and threw them out to the cold and wet of the garden. Things got a little muddy, as you can see from the picture. I did get all of the lettuce out there, but this was in the middle of a storm warning, and high wind warning. I think a lot of them got pretty blown around overnight the first night, so there's a bit of leaf damage. Hopefully they'll persist. Interestingly, I didn't do successive plantings in order to have lettuce at varied times, but due to vagaries of lighting/water availability/quality of soil/genetics/who knows in the basement growing setup, they're fairly varied in terms of size and maturity anyway. They were all planted at the same time, but it's doubtful they will all be ready to harvest at the same time, so my laziness (in not planning successive plantings) kind of paid off in the end.

One thing to note as far as the soil goes... it was simply teeming (crawling?) with earth worms. Every time I made a hole, there were probably 8-10 worms of various sizes in that specific hole. See the picture. And the pic doesn't really even do the situation justice, since some of the small ones had crawled away by the time I got my gloves off and the camera out. So I think this is a pretty positive sign that the beds are improving (even though you can easily tell from the picture how much of my soil is really clay). It can't hurt to have the roots from last year decomposing in the beds.

Other than simply getting the lettuce in the ground, not much else is going on in the outside gardening world. I did manage to get all of the tomatoes, and most of the peppers, into larger pots. Then I ran out of soil. Otherwise I did start my cucumbers (Green Slam) and two types of summer squash (Sunburst pattypan and Black Beauty zucchini). Completely forgot to pick up new nasturtium seeds for this year, so that goes on the shopping list, along with mint, which I somehow keep forgetting to get. Have I posted this before too? In any event, I'll sign off with a couple flower pics. The first should look familiar, but it's actually a current pic this time, instead of wistful thinking. The "wild" tulips are starting to bloom in the front beds. The second is that mystery hyacinth from last time. For those playing at home, the three mystery picks from v2.4 were, in order, common mullen, chickweed, and hyacinth. Thanks for playing!

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Gardening

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