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Signs of Spring


Plants Coming Up

Chives

Chives

Thank goodness for onions and their relatives. It’s March 16 and they are already starting to come up. Garlic planted last fall, onions that weren’t quite big enough to pick last year, and chives are all up and growing. Also showing signs of life are my oregano, carrots (which like the onions weren’t big enough to pick by winter), and horseradish.

Plants Going Out

Cold Frame & Cabbage Seedlings

Cold Frame & Cabbage Seedlings

Here is my first Cold Frame. A cold frame is essentially a mini-greenhouse and can be used to either start plants outside earlier than weather would allow, at the end of the season to allow plants to survive cold temperatures and for allowing plants that were started inside to acclimate to the harsher conditions outdoors, called hardening off. Above are some red cabbage seedlings I’m hardening off. I made the cold frame out of lumber I salvaged from a local lumber yard and a window I got through Freecycle.

Seeds Going In

Using Row Covers to Start Peas Early

Using Row Covers to Start Peas Early

In my new lasagna mulch beds, I planted peas about a week ago, they’re not up yet, but I expect them in a few more days. I planted them both for the crop they’ll provide but also because peas are legumes and all legumes take nitrogen out of the air and put it into the soil where other plants can use it, called nitrogen fixation. I plan to plant tomatoes in this bed later in the year and a new bed might ordinarily be a bit low on nitrogen, but planting the peas can help fix that. As a result, I won’t have to use as much fertilizer as I would otherwise. I chose the pea variety (cultivar), called Sugar Ann because it is a dwarf pea and therefore won’t shade out the tomato seedlings when they are planted.

The white fabric you see on the two beds are called row covers. Row covers are a very light-weight fabric that can be put on beds and be used, like cold frames, to extend the growing season at both ends of the year. It’s so light that it lets in sun and rain and will be lifted by the plants as they grow. Row covers can also be used to help keep certain pests away from your plants at any time of the season.

Prepping Carrot Bed

Prepping Carrot Bed

Today I also prepped my carrot bed by mixing in a bunch of sand (also from Freecycle), because carrots like to grow in sandy soil. In addition to the carrots, I planted arugula, various lettuces, two types of beets, and spinach and as soon as seed onions arrive at my local garden center I’ll be planing them too.

I can already taste those first veggies just over a month away.

4 Responses to “Signs of Spring”

  1. Mark says:

    Looks great, Jay! Nice work.

  2. Naseer says:

    Hi Jay,
    I don’t know if you remember, but I met you at the HV Garden and Landscaping expo at Gold’s Gym about a month ago. At the time, we were talking about both having backgrounds in science/engineering.

    Anyway, I finally got a chance to visit your website, and I am enjoying reading the blog. This was also my first year building a cold frame (http://www.greenthumbgeeks.com/2010/03/cold-frames-galore/), and I’m looking forward to how it works out.

    Best of luck!
    Naseer

  3. Jay says:

    Hi Naseer-

    We did meet. I’ve been so busy with meetings from the home show and putting together estimates that I haven’t had a chance to check out your blog (I love the title) but it’s on my agenda.

    Have you anything coming up outside yet. My peas just started poking up today. Yay!!

    Jay

  4. Naseer says:

    That’s great that you have a lot of opportunities that resulted from the home show!

    We don’t have anything coming up outside yet, but we also just planted our peas this past weekend. We’re hoping the ones under cold frames will come up in another week, but maybe a little longer since I think it’s supposed to be a cold spell coming up.

    Congrats on your first plants coming up. Spring is definitely here!

    Naseer

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