Spring Comes Early This Year.
What a difference a year makes. At this last season, we still had two feet of snow on the ground. March in my corner of the Globe has been unusually mild this year. I’ve already planted peas, mache, spinach, curly endive and gourmet baby lettuce seeds in the garden. That’s right, IN THE GARDEN! Last weekend I joked that I was embracing global warming because I could get things into the ground a whole month early. Like many people, I am concerned about this phenomenon and thinking of ways that I can be a better steward of the acre and a half under our care.
A sure sign that we are experiencing an early Spring is that the garlic is up and poking through the bed of leaves I laid down in the Fall. Time to take down the little fence surrounding the garlic patch and rake out those leaves.
We have been enjoying the “Red Kitten” spinach harvested from the garden. It was planted last fall and grown under plastic. My little two foot by four foot patch has produced a colander full of spinach every other day for the last week plus. Spinach is one of the most nutritious vegetables you can grow, especially if you eat it raw in salads. “Red Kitten” is especially good in this regard.
Direct Seeding in the Garden
The mild conditions at the beginning of March provided a perfect opportunity to get and early start on the growing season. I planted no to low risk vegetables that can withstand a frost or even a light snow. I planted peas, mache (corn salad), spinach, frisee and a gourmet lettuce mix. The mache was planted due to the poor production of the crop that was planted last Fall. How disappointing! We have had great success in the past with our mache crop. Not sure what the issue was, but I planted fresh seeds this time. We love mache and hope that this planting will produce for us by the end of April. The variety we grow is “Vit 419” from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. I seeded a 2′ x 4′ patch.
We have had great success with “Tyee” spinach, another variety from Johnny’s. It is an early season spinach, so I thought I would get’r goin’ real early. Frisee is also a cool weather crop so I planted one row of seeds. I like adding frisee to other salad greens for texture.
I rounded out the early planting with a 4″ wide band of “Allstar Mix” mesclun, one of our yearly favorites. This versatile mix works well into early Summer. I plant a band every three weeks until the hot weather arrives. Then I switch to “Heatwave Blend”. I will plant at least one more band of “Allstar Mix” in late Summer. Love this stuff. By the way, seeds are available from Johnny’s.
Starting Seeds Indoors – High Nutrition Greens
This was the week to get seeds started for transplant out to the garden in April. With the exception of celeriac, all of the seed varieties started were high nutrition greens; three varieties of kale, broccoli raab, broccoli, cauliflower, frisee, and lettuce. This year, I am making a conscious effort to make sure that we always have nutritious greens available from the garden. I planted the seeds into 3/4″ square soil blocks that I made with my 20 block press. I then planted 10 seeds of each variety except the celeriac and the Black Seeded Simpson lettuce. For those I used 20 blocks.
As we begin another gardening season I wish to express my best wishes to all of you who are reading this post. May you all have the best gardening year of your life. If I can be of service, please reach out. My goal is to build a community of people who enjoy growing their own food and sharing that experience.
All the best,