Monday, March 7, 2011

Can it Be Spring?

A view of things to come.
Crocus are blooming. Spinach is reviving. Birds are singing. The tomato seeds are planted. It is spring.
Just two days ago the tomato seeds went into the flats. This is probably the latest that I have ever started the tomatoes. Usually, they are started before the end of February. Last year, I made the mistake of starting them in the middle of January. They outgrew their pots twice and I planted them a little early to avoid having to put them in larger pots yet again.
When I visited a local nursery on the first of March last year, the owner told me that she was planning to start her tomatoes in a week or so. So I've changed my ways.
This means I won't have to pot up the tomatoes more than once, or not at all if I start them in 2-inch pots instead of little cells. Another advantage is that by the time the tomatoes are sprouting, the flats of cole crops and onions will be on the porch or in the garden.
The cole crop and onion planting should commence one week from today, weather permitting. The planting beds have been prepared and I have started the "hardening off" process during which the young plants acclimate to the outdoor sunlight and temperatures. Set plants outdoors for several hours each day, gradually increasing the time they spend outdoors. This should occur over a period of approximately two weeks, although less time works if they are protected a bit in the garden.
Maybe this week I will plant lettuce seed in the plastic tunnels that housed the winter lettuce. Spinach already grows in a couple of them and will be of harvestable size soon. Very soon. A few of the lettuce plants actually survived the winter, so they should also provide a few leaves in short time.
Time already feels short. Can it be March for real? I had barely gotten myself into a winter schedule, starting on projects I don't take time for during the gardening season. Now it's time to start focusing on a growing season schedule.

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