Saturday, March 9, 2013

Garden Starts 2013

So...last garden season was definitely a lesson in, well everything.

I completely botched my seedlings.

My zucchini was destroyed by squash vine borer.

Weeds!  Weeds!  Weeds!

And the higher than average heat didn't help things either.

I still need to revisit some of those items and the other lessons I learned.  (Mulch, for example, will definitely be part of my plan this year.)  However, for now I just want to record what I've done so far for this year.  Because, yes, it did snow on Wednesday, but gardening season has already begun!!

I have a new seedling setup this year that Mr. Grass Man kindly created for me.  I need to take pictures and write about it, but it's already getting dark (the only benefit to daylight saving time starting tomorrow is definitely longer evenings) and I'm not going to get very good pictures.  Just know that it involves PVC piping, a lamp, and heat mats.  All is much better on the seedling front this year.

So, on February 25, I started Petunia (Supercascade Blue), Snapdragons (Lemon Lollipops - albeit a little late), Tomatoes (SuperSauce Hybrid, Patio Princess, Big Bush Boy, and SuperSweet 100), Peppers (Sweet  Big Dipper and Sweet Red Popper), and Eggplant (Bambino).  All started indoors and under my awesome new lighting system.  And yes, this year my pots do have holes in the bottom.  Everything has sprouted and is looking great, except the eggplant.  It was oldish seed and I had some trouble with it last year, so I planted it as more or less let's see what happens.  I replanted some today in hopes that it might help, but I don't have high hopes.  We'll see what happens.

Today, I started Marigolds (Taishan Yellow, Dwarf Bolero, and Crackerjack), Cucumber (Spacemaster), Zucchini (Sure Thing Zucchini Hybrid), and Yellow Squash (Early Prolific Straightneck).  Hopefully this round of seedlings will be as successful as the last.  I did plant a couple of extra Sweet Red Poppers to take the place of the eggplant should it never germinate.  It's fairly late to start peppers, but I wasn't able to get any to start indoors last year and I had to direct sow and I got a fair amount of peppers.

All in all I have about 70 seed(ling)s started and I still plan to start Basil (Sweet Basil), Nasturtium, and Cosmos (Sensation Mix).  I'm still wavering over whether to start my Zinnias (Purple Prince, Thumbelina Mix, Lilliput, and Cut and Come Again Mix) indoors or direct sow.  I should probably direct sow.  They don't like having their roots disturbed.  But I've read that you can start indoors and let's face it, I'm impatient.  And they really looked awesome last year.

Whoops.  May have overdone it again.  Oh well.

A win for last year?  Plant flowers with your veggies.  Your neighbors judge you a little less when you're south-facing and you have to plant them in the front yard (not that I care that much) and they attract beneficial insects that your veggies need.  Plus they're just enjoyable.  (Not that veggies aren't.)

Also, believe it or not, now is the time to start with spring planting.  I was going to skip this year, but I still have seeds from my second season attempt (which was largely unsuccessful - I started way too late) last fall.  But I pinned SproutRobot and it just convinced me to just do it.

So, I cleaned the crud (i.e. failed second season plantings) from my containers and cleared the weeds out of part of one of my beds (I didn't do it all because I think I will succession plant and I didn't want to give the weeds more opportunities and space to take, so I'll clear it a little at a time) and planted some spring veggies.

Today, I planted (and plan to succession plant about every 2 weeks hereafter):

  • Spinach (Double Choice Hybrid) - I should start seeing seedlings between March 16 and March 23.  I can harvest in about 35 days - so around April 13.  These are in containers.  I do need to re-plant one container because I knocked it over with the hose and I think I spilled most of it.  Bummer.
  • Peas (Peas In-A-Pot) - I should start seeing seedlings between March 16 and March 23.  I can harvest in about 55 days - so around May 3.  This didn't do bad in the fall, but I didn't harvest as regularly as I should have.  Also in containers.
  • Lettuce (Four Seasons) - This is head lettuce.  Didn't have luck last fall, but hoping for a better turnout this spring.  We shall see.  Planted in my partially weeded bed. :)  Should see seedlings between March 19 and March 23.  I can harvest in about 60 days, so around May 8.  
  • Pak Choi (Toy Choi Hybrid) - Should see seedlings between March 19 and March 30.  Harvest in about 30 days, so around April 8.  In the bed.
  • Lettuce (Gourmet Blend) - This is loose leaf lettuce.  This actually did do well last fall - the only thing, haha.  But it was good lettuce.  I've never had such flavorful lettuce.  I am looking forward to it, so I hope it does well.  Should see seedlings between March 19 and March 23.  Harvest in about 45 days, so around April 23. In the bed.
  • Kale (Dwarf Blue Curled Vates) - Seedlings between March 19 and March 30.  Harvest in about 55 days, so around May 3.
  • Beet (Bull's Blood) - Seedlings between March 19 and March 30.  Harvest in about 40 days, so around April 18.  Containers.
  • Radish (Perfecto) - Seedlings between March 16 and March 19.  Harvest in about 22 days, so around March 31.  Containers and bed.
  • Carrot (Short 'N Sweet) - Seedlings between March 16 and March 30.  Harvest in about 68 days, so around May 16.  In the bed.
You just get so excited and it gets away from you and suddenly you've planted 9 varieties of veggies outside when you really just meant to plant spinach, beets, radish, and peas.  

Oh well.  :)

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