Saturday, February 26, 2011

This week at a glance

SUMMARY FOR THE WEEK OF 2/20-2/26/2011
Marked grids in beds.

Made cold frame.

2/24 and 2/26:  Tomato seeds planted:  Dixie's Sweet (family heirloom), German Pink, Pink Oxheart, Dad's Sunset, Striped Roma, Early Cascade, Isis Candy, Red Grape
Peppers are finally up: Yellow Monster, Tam jalapeno, Emerald Giant, Ancho, Rainbow mix,
Golden Marconi, Holy Mole, California Wonder.

Lettuce seeded in beds week before last up & growing, a few of each started in trays 2/26: Cimmaron Red Romaine, Gourmet Mix, Rocky Top mix, Red Wing mix.

Onions: seeded in beds starting to come up, more started in trays 2/26: Hybrid Granex yellow, Red Burgundy, Violet De Galmi.  White Ebenezer sets planted for scallions.

Eggplant: Ping Tung from Taiwan.

Carrots 2/26: Jaune Obtuse Du Doubs yellow, Muscade, Valery, White Belgian.

Spinach, Bloomsdale: 2/24

Cabbage seeds: Perfection Savoy, Red, Late flat Dutch up & growing. 

Garden 2011 has officially begun!

Square foot gardening definitely has advantages when it comes to early spring planting.  Raised beds warm up quicker and with Mel's Mix (1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat and 1/3 compost), the mix stays light and fluffy and is never soggy.  I use string to make my grids, but they have to be redone each year.  Some people use wood lathe, lattice or other materials, but I prefer the string because when pulling up old plants, they have such a huge root ball, it seems it would be hard to pull them up with the lathe strips in place.  It only takes about 5-10 minutes to do a bed.  I have small nails driven in the top of the boards at 1" intervals on both sides and both ends.  I tie the string at one end, stretch to opposite side, wrap 4-5 turns (no need to tie the string except first and last nails), go to the next nail & wrap, go across the box & wrap, until you are all finished.  The string also keeps the cat out of the box. 

This week I have gotten a lot of seeds started.  I usually use the 72 cell mini greenhouse packs from Lowe's made by Ferry Morse, Ferry Morse Seed Co.    I usually get 2-3 years out of the inserts, but I needed new ones.  This year I couldn't find them, so I Googled greenhouse supplies & found a great site, Greenhouse Mega Store.  They sell professional greenhouse supplies but also offer small order quantities.  I still have several of the base trays, but needed new inserts.  I was able to get a carton of 100 inserts (48 cells each insert)  for $59.00.  They have umpteen configurations for the trays.  I ordered the 48 cell packs so I would have larger cells & better root development.  They had super fast shipping too. 

I used the end of one of my boxes to make a coldframe for the seeds I have already started.  Night temps have been in the 40's & daytime temps have been in the 60's & 70's.  If there is a chance of frost, I'll bring the trays in overnight, but they will be fine during the day.  I raked the soil back so the trays would be lower than the surrounding soil level, then covered that part of the bed with an old white shower curtain.  I pulled the corner back to check & it lets plenty of brightness in for germination & was cozy warm.  When they start growing I will probably put a painter's plastic drop cloth over the bed.  I have plenty of ventilation so they won't cook.

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