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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Early season lessons

I started my seeds several weeks ago, and many have already come up.

The broccoli and Brussels sprouts were the first to show. And that begins lesson 1.
Although I thought I had planned quite well, honestly, I was a bit late.  Not to say that they wont
grow, they will be fine, but, I easily could be plating them next week, if I had planned better, and that could make the harvest even earlier!
The onions or leeks (maybe both) just began to sprout, and back to lesson 1; they should have been started MUCH MUCH earlier, but again, they will have plenty of time to mature, although I could have gotten a jump on the harvest. Reading last night, I think I may put a row of direct seeded onions in as well as my bunching onions.

Veggie Planting Calendar for Missouri

The spinach also began to sprout around the same time as the onions...with a lot of weeds! I actually used a flat of old peat pots, already filled with peat potting mix, that didn't make it last year.  It was either reuse it, or throw it in the compost! So those "weeds" are likely flowers or something that I tried to start last season and didn't mark.  I am thinking it was ground cherry and garden huckleberry, but who knows? I will be pulling them soon, so I guess it is of no consequence what they were!

Well, lesson 2 may as well be lesson 2,3,4,5,6.
Of all the books I read each year, and the few I have focused my attention on in the last weeks, there is little said of seed starting.  And what goes on in those first critical weeks.  And that has been a priority, with all those flats in my kitchen floor!
But the lesson on watering and environment, is what I would like to learn about most.  I had let my 3 year old daughter "help" water, and I guess she was watering even while I was not looking, and the poor pots have been soaked! It has only been the last several days that they have started to dry a bit and actually need water again. The house temperature is another issue.  We rarely have our house above 68F year round.  Perfect for cool season crops, but the tomato, not so much!  I need to pull them to the side and get them warmer if they are ever going to germinate. But at least that is one crop I still have a little time for! Plus I hope to buy a few when they start selling them in the next month or so. But as for remedies....I have had to withhold water, and I have lowered CFL lights over them, so they are not reaching for the grow light 8 ft above them. And I have also turned a fan on them for a while every day.  The purpose being twofold.  First, to help dry all that extra water Ms. Audrey gave them, and Secondly, to help them become stockier more sturdy plants.  I have read that it is beneficial to brush tomato seedling to make them stronger, and to have some "wind" on them, is going to help considerably in hardening them off.  I would like to begin to transition the cool season crops into the mini greenhouse, and make room for more seeds to germinate inside.

Back on that note, I haven't seen any lettuce sprouts...those and the tomato haven't done a thing yet.  In reading the Calendar, I notice head lettuce can be direct sown??? that is weird....maybe I should try that as well.
I would love to get some tilling done this week, for the new corn and tomato beds, and call the YWRC for compost ETA as well.
More soon....enjoy the nice weather, in case it doesn't last!

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