Garden Daybook 2/28/13


My busy schedule tells me that spring is hurling toward my gardens with no thought as to whether I am ready or not. Tomorrow is MARCH!!  Already!?  My seed starting is in full swing and, as you can see in the picture, the onions are already transplanted into deep “flats”. I like to transplant my onions into inexpensive, aluminum baking pans because they are deep and allow the small onion plants lots of room for root growth. My goal at this point is to help the onions grow the biggest root system as possible before they are transplanted into the garden. Strongly rooted seedlings will be able to support good leaf growth which will in turn support good bulbing in late June.  So . . . my long day Copra’s and Red Wings are working on their roots right now.


Seeded five weeks ago, this onion seedling already has a healthy root system and is ready for transplanting. The onion seedlings have been trimmed twice and are stocky and healthy. The trimmings are a taste of spring –  toss them into scrambled eggs or over a salad. Wonderful!


I fill the aluminum pans with a damp, sterile, soilless mix and transplant a row at a time. The onion seedlings are separated and planted into holes made with a pencil and enlarged with my index finger – more or less an inch apart.  The transplants rest for half a day on my table and then go back under lights.  Keep the seedlings close to the fluorescent lights so they stay stocky – look at the first picture. I have been told, by Windy Hill Urban Farm, that Christmas tube lights work well for growing seedlings but I have yet to try that method. Anyone out there have success with tube lights? I would love to see pictures of your tube light set-up.


Look closely and you can see a tiny Alpine Strawberry seedling –  right there in front of the label. I put a small handful of damp soilless mix into a baggie and mixed in a packet of White Soul Alpine Strawberry seeds. I labeled the baggie with the “In” date Feb. 11 and the “Out” date Feb. 25. I refrigerated/stratified the seeds in the refrigerator until February 25 when I brought them out and spread the mix and seeds over a container of soilless mix. That tiny seedling  germinated in the refrigerator right in the baggie! The container is now in my bottom heat unit to help the rest of the seeds germinate. Oh – – the tiny strawberry seedling was very carefully transplanted into a paper pot and put under lights.


I have also sown the first of my cole crops – on February 25 to be exact. I planted seeds for Cabbages, broccoli,  cauliflowers, and baby Pak Choi. As of February 27 the Baby Pak Choi and the Michili Chinese Cabbage have germinated! Wow! In two days! This sowing will continue to germinate and grow for about 6-7 weeks to be ready for an early spring garden. Speaking of Spring . . .


The Red Maples are pushing their blooms. I can look out my windows and see the swelling buds high on the trees against the sky. Spring is unstoppable – try to remember that when late snows cover the ground and your teeth chatter in the cold.


Here is our Gracie Mae Tinklepants hunkering down in her favorite warm spot. I hope you can find your own cozy warm spot until spring entices you out into the warm sun.

Hey from the farm,
Fran      The Country Cousin

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