Spring has arrived and so has gardening season. It’s time to think about planting some cool season crops before the heat of summer arrives. Let’s hope we have a better summer than last year. This week I planted some lettuce, kale, chervil, spinach and arugula seeds in a raised bed. Two weeks before, I added some aged steer manure, compost and Gaia 4-4-4 organic fertilizer to the soil. Which reminds me, I need to haul more compost this week to get the other raised beds ready for planting in April. The salad greens planted this week went into the bed where I overwintered some Rouge D’Hiver and leaf lettuce, Catalina spinach and cilantro. I had used a heavy weight floating row cover over the salad greens all winter and last week they started growing again. It’s always nice to have salad greens in early spring. Once this bed of salad greens is done cucumbers and squash will take their place.
All my tomato seedlings are started in the greenhouse as tomatoes have a long growing period so need to be started inside. It’s the same with peppers and eggplant here. I started tomato seeds in the first week of March as they can usually go outside in early May. This year has been a trying one in the greenhouse. I’ve always used a seed starter mix called Dutch Treat. I opened the first bag and thought it looked a bit different than in previous years. I should have listened to my gut but I went ahead and used it when planting my onion seeds. They germinated but started to languish and stalled their growth at about 1/2″ high. I thought maybe it was old seed but then remembered I had bought some brand new seed and it was reacting the same way.
I kept planting thinking everything would grow. Fast forward to the last couple of weeks and I’m now transplanting everything into a new medium. I had planted 900 tomato seeds for my plant sale. So far I’ve been able to rescue just over 400 tiny plants. By rescuing them I mean potting them up when they barely have the first set of leaves, something no beginner should ever do. Thankfully I’ve been growing tomatoes for years so I can fix this. The original seed starter mix seems to affect root growth. Normally when a tomato plant is at first leaf stage its roots can be up to 2″ long as roots form before growth emerges above the soil. My plants have maybe 1/4″ of roots attached. So wish me luck going forward.
Anyway, back to the outside garden where it’s time to plant peas and sweet peas. I had started sweet peas in the greenhouse a month ago but they are easily direct sown into the soil now. I like to grow my sweet pea plants along a fence as they need support to cling to. I added some aged manure to this area a week before planting the sweet peas.
I planted snow peas directly in the soil around the base of this makeshift tower of bamboo canes. This set up worked well with scarlet runner beans last year. All you need is some 6′ bamboo poles and some jute twine. Once I had the poles in the ground I started at the top to connect the tops together and pulled the twine tight. I’ve planted a circle of pea seeds around the outside of the poles.
Once again seeds seem to be in short supply at some garden centres. My motto during these trying times is buy them when you see them. That goes for plants as well. Buy your seeds for fall vegetables now too. I’ve bought seeds at garden centres, hardware stores and grocery stores. I’m trying to grow a lot from seed for my containers as last season it was hard to find some of my favourite annual flowers. If you saw the inside of my greenhouse it’s completely full of plants for the garden. The best thing about gardening is the new growth in spring. It brings us all hope for the future when we make this earth just a bit more beautiful one plant at a time.