The weather was abnormally warm and dry in early March this year. As I found the garden thawed and dry, I thought that I would be able to get a jump on the spring garden. So I tilled the soil and sowed lettuce, spinach and sweet peas.
Unfortunately, the following weeks were abnormally cold and the garden repeatedly froze and thawed, retarding the germination of the seeds.
Yet by the beginning of April, the weather warmed enough to sprout 9' rows of Musclun mix, Simson Elite Lettuce,Burpee Bibb Lettuce, Harmony Hybrid Spinach,Avon Hybrid Spinach,and Bloomsdale Long-Standing Spinach.
The Burpeeana Early Sweet Peas, however, only have started to sprout in the past week. The germination rate is not so good either.
It is recommended to sow peas in a double row, with the second sown up to 2 weeks after the first to stagger and extend the harvest. I believe that I will germinate the remaining peas indoors, which is what I do for sweet corn, to ensure that I have an evenly spaced crop. I these peas will soak for 24 hours and then I shall keep them fresh and moist by rinsing and draining them twice a day until they sprout. Then they will go into the garden.
Last week my onion sets came in the mail from Territorial Seed Co. with a pamphlet called "4 Easy Steps To Growing Big, Sweet Onions." Here are excepts from the pamphlet about planting onions.
"While the enclosed plants appear dry, don't be alarmed: they're simply dormant. Don't worry if you can't plant them immediately, even if the roots and tips begin to dry out. The onions can live off the bulb for up to three months."
"Do remove the plants from the box immediately. Keep them in a well ventilated, cool area until you can plant them. Do not put them in water."
"Plant your onions 4 to 6 weeks before the last estimated spring freeze."
"For the best growth and yield, onions need fertilizer right from the start. Use a 10-20-10 fertilizer. Plant the onions 4" apart and 1" deep, no deeper, as this will inhibit their ability to bulb. When planting several rows of onions, leave 16" between rows."
My onion sets made three double 9' rows.
I planted another double 9' row of garlic using immature bulbs that grew last year.
That afternoon I also sowed Zamboni Broccoli Raab seed in a pair of 9' rows. The seed is tiny and needs to be planted only 1/4" deep, covered and firmed with fine soil. I was pleasantly surprised when the seed sprouted within a week.
I also prepared a couple of rows very deeply to sow Nantes Half Long Carrot seed. These carrots will grow to 9" long and if the soil is not cultivated very well and very deeply the roots may fork or grow crooked. I sowed one row and will sow the second at the end of the month. The seed is also very small and must be sown no deeper than 1/4". The row has not yet sprouted.
I likewise prepared a pair of rows for Detroit Dark Red Beets. I bought these in seed tape which simplifies the sowing. The tape requires only to make a shallow 1/2" deep furrow and to cover the tape with fine soil. Like the carrots, I sowed one row, which also has not yet sprouted, and will sow the second at the end of the month.
For weeks now I have anticipated the season's opening of Klein's Garden Market on April 16th. The opening came on a cold blustery day with spitting rain. Klein's always has cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli, among other things, on opening day. Because they start in greenhouses, Klein’s plants are always farther along than mine. For $1.50 for three plants, it is also very economical.
This afternoon I planted my plants in 9' rows 18" apart. and now I have two rows of broccoli, a row of red cabbage, a row of early green cabbage, and a row of "Snow Queen" cauliflower.
So now my spring garden is coming along and I am pleased.
As soon as the soil warms to at least an average of 50 degrees, I will be able to plant the seed potatoes that have been "chiting" under a grow lamp for some weeks now. This will stimulate the potatoes into growing strong eyes.
But it remains colder than average. The weather has been somewhat volitile. Warm fronts surge up from the gulf for a day or two before clashing into storms with a cold front. It is supposed to snow tonight..