Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring's Sprung!

See that? Down in the bottom right corner of the seed tray? That's a baby cucumber! Apparently, some seeds fell out of my packet and the twins found them and planted them. That's the only one that came up (thank heavens... it isn't TOO far ahead of the others), and now it's been joined by its brothers and sisters. I planted a total of 12 of each vegetable, and the girltwin helped me out. It isn't a lot, at least in comparison with previous years, but I'm going to be doing a lot of the gardening by hand this year with no (or very little) mechanical help. I'm trying to keep my enthusiasm down a bit, so I don't overwhelm myself.

What I did was pick up one of these little seedling trays that doubles as a greenhouse for the first little while. WalMart had them on sale, a mere $6.00 rather than the $17 they usually charge. I won't even go into what Agway charges for these things. Best of all, they're refillable, and Agway sells the little soil pucks for a nickel each. I can go pick up a big bag for a few bucks, and when these seedlings are sprouted and ready for something a bit larger, I can put new ones in. It holds 72 seedlings, and I figure for a small garden that's probably more than enough. For this year, at least. I think. Well, for the spring garden. After all, I'll get another 72 plants in there for the summer garden. And then... Yeah, well anyhow...

Here they are, all snug in their little greenhouse, basking in the afternoon sun. That particular spot gets about 6-8 hours of sun when it isn't raining out, and it's warm and cheery. I'm hoping the plants like it there! It's where it was when the other baby cuke sprouted, so I'm guessing it isn't too bad.

Alright, down to dirty business. It's Saturday, March 26th, 2011, and today we planted 12 each of the following:

  • Marketmore Cucumbers from American Seed (that would be what WalMart carries for $0.20), which take 3-10 days to germinate and 60-65 days to reach harvest. These are the same brand (though I purchased them at Agway) that I planted with such success last year. They can't go out until all danger of frost is gone, but that's so late this year that I decided starting them indoors was the only way to go. I'll plant seeds in between the seedlings, so that I have some early and some late cucumbers, as they're a favorite in our house.
  • Agway brand Spineless Beauty zucchini. They germinate in 10-14 days depending on the soil, and are ready for harvest in 50 days. They like a lot of fertilizer, so I'll have to remember to put some compost or manure in at their roots when I plant them outdoors.
  • San Marzano (lycopersicon lycopersicum) paste tomatoes, an heirloom Classic Italian considered to be the world's best. It's supposed to provide us with a plant that, ". . . literally drips with fruit." It takes 5-10 days to germinate, and about 80 days to mature. The soil is supposed to be at 60F before planting outside.
  • Burpee's Heirloom "Bloody Butcher" tomato, which is an early harvest breed. They germinate in a week to two weeks, and have to be in very warm soil with good sun. They are ready to start picking about 55 days after they're put outside, which doesn't happen until the soil warms up out there. 
  • California Wonder green peppers from American Seeds, which germinate in 10-21 days and harvest at the 70+ day mark. These are again a WalMart cheapie special, but at least it let me get some peppers started. Sis and I are rather fond of peppers, and the girltwin has been known to pick and eat them while still in the garden! These ones can be picked green, or allowed to ripen into a sweeter red stage.
  • And lastly, American Seeds' iceberg lettuce, which germinates in 10-14 days and is ready for harvest after 65 days. Lettuce is a cold weather crop, and if we get into our new house by April 15th, which I sincerely hope we do, I will put them right outside. Lettuce tends to bolt once it gets too warm out.
There. That's what I have planted. I have flower seeds for out front of the new house, and I have lincoln peas ready to plant as soon as we get something dug up for them at the new place. They'll go in the ground as soon as I can get out there to work it and set up the pea fencing! They like colder weather, too.