Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Repotting on a surprisingly sunny warm day...

Today was a great opportunity to get outside into the warmth of an unusual day amongst many cold and bitter ones this winter.  I do not teach on Tuesdays and I was able to elicit the help from my brother-in-law Paul.  He is always up for helping out no matter what the project. 

I have so many leeks that I felt needed to be repotted because there were a number of seeds in each seeding cell.  So, we dragged the potting soil and 3 dozen paper pots outside.  The garage wall is in the sun from early in the morning to late afternoon.  When the late afternoon casts shadows across it from the roof line, the heat stored in the bricks radiates outwards.  This is the wall that we will do a vertical herb garden on within the next month.  Today though, we are out of the light winds and sitting on the front concrete steps folding more paper pots.  Hard to believe how many pots we really need. We decide to leave them outside to take in the sun until we could make room inside, so we used a ladder and a clear drop sheet - like using a cold frame.

This gave us time to pull together a wire shelf system in the kitchen to accomodate the transplants.  A few minor adjustments and some wire to hold the middle together lend it strength to accomodate the wooden top shelf.  This is a very bright kitchen during the day and we are running out of room anywhere else in the house.   

Greenhouse: mixed lettuce, Swiss Chard, watermellon seeds (today), spinach, peppers and marigolds.
Shelving: Asparagus, leek, celery (from grocery store - bottom of stock), and parsley.
Spare room:  Tomato and Green peppers

The plant beside the celery is the parsley that I overwinter in the garage.  It can be left in the ground through the winter months but this one was in a patio pot.  The cells that are left vacant by seeds that did not sprout in the greenhouse are now used for veggies that have roots on them from the grocery store such as green onion.  Simply cut off the bottom of the onion and push the root side into the earth in a cell. 

The tomato plants are growing well!!!!  These are just a few of the 65 tomato plants.  With the fan blowing across them each day this week, they are now standing upright and not laying down.  With some research I have discovered that tomato plants can be planted deep or even sideways in the ground to encourage root growth along the stem.  

Grocery Store Finds this week:
Green Onions - cut off the base of the onion with the roots intact.  Inserted them into the ground roots first.
Butternut Squash - removed the seeds and put them in a bowl in the fridge to imitate a natural process in nature.  Not sure if this will work but it certainly is worth a try.

Growing tips
Using cold frames can extend your growing season.  Using old windows and a thicker mm plastic to keep wind and cold off the plants and allow sprouting plants to begin in earth warmed by the sun.  Our raised beds will all be fitted this season with clear plastic sheets in the spring and fall to keep the veggies from frost damage.  Raised beds have the advantage of warming faster than the ground because the sides are exposed to the sun.  

This summer, I will be teaching a few friends how to preserve their produce in my kitchen.  I will include recipes and how to's through the coming months.  The bounty you grow can be easily preserved to last throughout the winter.  

Would love to hear about your gardening tips or favorite recipes!!  Let me know how your garden grows.

Next Week.... 
Updates on the seedlings and whats being planted next..... materials for the raised garden and the final design for our front yard!!

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