Monday, April 13, 2009
lots and lots of seedlings.
Living in Wisconsin, we have a later last frost date than many of you probably do. But even with our cool wet spring, I have a lot of garden work to do! We have been starting all of our seeds on schedule and have many flats started so far. In addition to the seedlings below, I also have a tray of mesclun greens grown only under lights for 30 days, fully grown and ready to eat! Yum.
Seeds started so far (many more to come):
peppers: sweet chocolate, patio red marconi, tequila sunrise
swiss chard: five color silverbeet
tomatoes: orange fleshed purple smudge, brandywine pink, green zebra, riesentraube
cabbage: early jersey wakefield
fruit: ground cherry, wonderberrry ,
greens: tah tsai mustard, mesclun, lacinato kale
kohlrabi: azur star
other spinach type greens: red malabar spinach (asian vine 'spinach'), strawberry spinach
herbs: lovage, parsley, basil, shisho, stevia
I have multiple light setups - partly because my basement has only one outlet, but also because I like to use natural light when I can to help the seedlings grow strong and healthy. The basement setup has two long shop lights and a large heating mat. That is where I start the seeds. Once I get the true leaves, I move them upstairs to our window setup. That is an open wood shelving unit setup in front of a window, with shop lights hung from the top of each shelf. That gets a lot of natural sunlight in addition to the tubes. From there, as the plants are ready to be planted out, I will transfer them onto my back deck to harden off before going into the garden.
I am growing a lot of seedlings this year because it is our first year planting in a community garden as well as our yard - and in addition to those two gardening spaces, I am also starting seeds for our kids garden plot! That is a lot more than I have grown at one time before - but so far everything is going great. I think being organized has helped me keep track of when to start, when to plant, and how many of each to grow based on square feet needed per plant! Now I just hope that all of my grids and plans and sketches work out as we transplant! :)
Since our community garden is not open for spring planting, I am using our yard garden areas for all spring goodies, such as carrots, radishes, peas, cabbage, greens, and anything that goes out before last frost. All of these areas will be re-planted with different fruits and vegetables as the season progresses and the spring veggies are done! I also have garlic, chives, and several types of herbs in ground from last year which will be coming in soon, in addition to the red currants and raspberries which are already budding or showing some green.
With my back out, I have had a wobbly two+ weeks where I could not get up and down the stairs as often to check and water my seedlings. My lovely husband patiently let me describe how to check if water is needed, when to remove covers, when to turn on or off lights...and while I am more mobile now, I am still not able to do much of the yard prep since I am unable to lift or bend much (I have an MRI next week - wish me luck). I am sure I'll be up on my feet and ready to dig once we get closer to last frost in early May. And with my two happy mini-gardeners and a willing husband, we will be good to go for our early spring plantings over the next week or two! Ahhhhh. Love it.