This is the time of year when things feel like they’re in turbo drive. That’s probably because for a gardener, the winter can feel interminable. After a whole season of waiting, suddenly, the weather starts changing, there are seeds to be started, and garden things to be tended to. In the span of just a few weeks, my garden went from being asleep and slightly desolate, to being planted, cloched, and at work. Things in the garden happen so fast, I wanted to catch a glimpse of it all before the time and these miraculous changes escape me. The pictures don’t really do it all justice with all the artificial light going on, from the brooder heat lamp to the grow lights, but for now, they’ll have to do.Â
are vibrant and healthy. I’m upping my tomato crop this year â€“ from the four I planted last year (not including all the tomatillos) to 18 tomato plants this year (again, not including the tomatillos I plan to plant).
I began hardening them off this week and will probably plant them out in their warm, toasty cloche bed in early April. I always push the envelop when planting my tomatoes. I remember last year, sitting at the farmers’ market table as my fellow Master Gardeners recommended that people not plant out their tomatoes yet because it’s just too cold, while meanwhile mine were already in the ground. But come June, I was getting my first ripe tomatoes despite our undesirable summer. I’m going to go for it again this year and hope for the best. We’ll see what happens.
My heirloom brassica seeds (Romanesco, Rapini broccoli, and Brussels Sprouts), which I also started inside a few weeks ago, have taken their time, but were finally ready to be potted up this weekend. I’m hoping to plant eight Romanesco plants, so I hope they pick it up a bit. I want to have those amazing vegetables growing in my yard!
I created three potato towers a la Sunset to grow my potatoes in this year. This will be an experiment, as usual since I have yet to master a solid, successful potato planting technique. I used materials I had on-hand to create these (left over chicken wire, a roll of screen, oil cloth, a hole punch, and some garden twine), so they don’t look as uniformly attractive as the ones in the Sunset tutorial. But they get the job done and kind of fit my garden’s reclaimed material, shabby chic aesthetic. I’ll have to keep you posted on how they’re working out.
I splurged and bought some starts from local farm, Rents Due Ranch. I planted six savoy cabbage plants and six cauliflower plants (thanks to my new Indian food obsession), which I am vigilantly protecting from slugs and chickens. I planted and cloched (via an up-turned vase and quart jar) lacinato kale seeds too. I feel like I maybe missed the good kale planting window some where, which is unfortunate because it’s probably my most favorite thing to grow and eat. Â I’m hoping I didn’t start them too late and Â am sending them all my green thumb vibes.
Finally, I have to leave you with these precious pictures of my little chickies learning to roost. I built them a little perch this weekend and it is really the cutest thing ever to watch them flap their wings for balance as they teeter unsteadily on the dowel. They’re still building up their roosting and balancing skills, but as you can see from the picture below, they’re starting to get the hang of it.
My brother-in-law just asked me about the light I’m using for my tomato plants and I proceeded to work myself up into an enthusiastic tizzy going off on topics from heirloom seeds, to soil and the beauty of worms, to monocultures and Round-up. I’ll I can say is thank goodness for this blog. My family would go crazy putting up with all this garden nerdiness on their own…especially in the spring time.