Spring Seedlings

I hate it when I write something beautiful and spontaneous and then it gets deleted. The second time around is never quite the same. Lesson learned: write outside of WordPress and copy and paste. Here’s to take two:

After 6 inches of snow, followed by a weekend in the 70’s we’ve finally started seeing seeds sprouting from our first seed sowing. The carrots and radishes were actually the first things to show. The beets were a little slower and many seem to have migrated from their original planting.

Beet Sprout

Beet Sprout

Since the seeds were covered with burlap to help retain moisture, Justin thinks this may have prevented the sun from warming the soil to temperatures conducive to seed germination. Of course the snow didn’t help much either.

Cold frame uncovered

Cold frame uncovered

We uncover the cold-frame when it gets above 50 degrees since the plastic really warms the small space. The overwintered crops, lettuce, broccoli and cabbage here, are quick to bolt on an unseasonably warm spring day, so watch out for those flowering lettuce.

Onions in the center bed

Onions in the center bed

In the center bed, Justin transplanted onions from the Greensboro Montessori School. They’re interplanted with the carrots and radishes.

We also started several seed trays inside with lettuce, broccoli, chard and a few herbs. Those are currently living in the storage shed at the Children’s Museum where Justin does part-time edible gardening. He hung a 400-watt grow-light with a reflective hood over a ply-wood table, and since the building has no heat, set a space heater to low, just to keep the building warm enough. Justin planted a second set of seeds at about the time of the snow storm because some of the seedlings were looking a little leggy. And we used our soil-blocker to plant an early set of summer plants this last Saturday: tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. It seems so early, and yet, when looking at the calendar, we’re just about on time.

Planting things early in the seed trays is good for three reasons. 1- there is a slightly better chance of plants starting since we have more control over the temperature and moisture, 2- if seeds don’t come up, we can plan more and not have lost as much time and 3- we can let the beds site a little longer before planting (they can either warm up, or keep growing what they’re already growing, like cover crop).

Today I spent quite a bit of time trying to come up with a full planting schedule. It’s a work in progress, but when it’s finished it should have an entire North Carolina year’s schedule for intercropping, early and successional planting and expected harvest dates. I’ll share it in about a year, when it’s finished.

This weekend was pretty cold any rainy and not so good for people, but the plants are loving it, and we can see considerable progress. I’m really excited to see the progress after a few sunny days in the 60’s!

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