The weather has cooled a bit, but despite a few frosts and one freeze over the last 2 weeks, the garden is doing quite well. The weather today is cloudy and quite chilly for this time of year (temps in the low 40’s…….brrrrr). It rained a little yesterday evening, but it is starting to get a little dry. The lettuce and onions might need watering before too long. The forecast is calling for a chance of a few more frosty mornings coming up. I finally planted out my cabbage and broccoli seedlings on April 16th. So far they are doing well. The spring planted lettuce is really growing well. I harvested more of the over wintered lettuce yesterday. I will probably only harvest from these plants one more time, and then they will have to come out to make room for the brussels sprouts. The topsetting onions (the ones planted last fall) are starting to form their little topsets from the center of the plants. The spring planted onion transplants are starting to grow new leaves. I will be fertilizing them within the next few days. The peas are growing, albeit slowly, and the potatoes have just started to poke up through the soil. I planted my cucumber seeds in small pots, about one week ago, and put them in the cold frame. They should be germinating within the next few days. See some of my garden pics below.
Cabbage and Broccoli Planted, Notice Radishes and Over Wintered Lettuce to the Left
Spring Planted Lettuce About Ready for First Harvest
Fall Planted Topsetting Onions Left and Spring Planted Onion Transplants Right
Garden Peas (Variety Mr. Big) Starting to Grow, Notice Green Onions Also Growing Near Top of Pic
It is hard to wait for the right time to plant your vegetables out into your garden, especially if it has been so unseasonably warm like it has been this spring. With the first few warm days of spring everybody is itching to get out in the garden. Heck, I cannot blame them. After months of cold and snow I am also ready to get started, but I know that every plant has its right time. I have really enjoyed all of the warm weather so far this spring, but I have not deviated from my planting schedule. We had a light freeze here in Central Indiana a few days ago and are expecting more freezes the next two days. I am sure glad that I did not plant out my broccoli and cabbage plants yet. Some of the lettuce is out, but it is protected under the plastic covered hoop. I did plant onions, but they are super hardy, so they should be fine. I did plant pea seeds about 2 weeks ago, and they have started to emerge from the soil. I think they might be okay, but it just depends on how cold it really gets. The point is stick with your predetermined planting schedule despite what the current weather might be. You will be glad that you did.
Wow, the weather continues warm for this time of year. Had a frost advisory for this area a few days ago, but I did not observe any frost in the garden. Received my onion plants from Dixondale on March 28th and planted them the same day. I separated out the really small ones (for green onions) and planted the rest for full sized bulbs. I ordered 2 bunches of Candy onion plants and 1 bunch of Red Candy onion plants. I planted around 140 onion plants, in total. The onions were planted 4 inches apart in small north-south rows, leaving the rows 5 inches apart (notice: this spacing is somewhat further apart than what Mel Bartholomew recommends). On March 29th I transplanted out into the garden some of my lettuce seedlings. I planted these under a plastic covered hoop which is about 3 foot by 5 foot, making sure to keep the ends opened for now since it is pretty warm. If a frost or freeze is predicted, I will close both ends at night to protect the plants. I also planted a few small rows of radishes around the overwintered lettuce plants. The overwintered lettuce continues to grow pretty fast, so I will start a second harvest on these plants in a few days. I still have about half of my lettuce seedlings in the cold frame. I will be planting those out into the garden over the next few weeks. Peas (variety Mr. Big) were directly seeded out into the garden about one week ago along two 8-foot galvanized pea fences. These pea fences are great and can be folded up and stored flat when harvest is complete. Harvest continues on the overwintered top settings onions (for green onions). Potatoes will be planted in 2 of the raised beds soon (probably within the week). Happy Spring Gardening!
Wow, what unbelievably warm/hot weather weather we have had here in Indiana over the last week. High temperatures have been in the 70’s and 80’s, which is some 20-30 degrees above normal. My overwintered lettuce and top setting onions have exploded into growth (see pics below). I will be harvesting some of the lettuce and onions today. Interesting to note, all of the overwintered lettuce that survived under the hoop was the variety Sierra. My onions plants from Dixondale Farms should be arriving within the week. All of the seedlings in the cold frame are growing well. Most of the lettuce seedlings might be big enough to transplant out into the garden (under the plastic covered hoop) in another week. I started green pepper seeds about 6 days ago. Most of my celery seeds have germinated, but I have not moved them out into the cold frame as of yet, due to all of the hot weather. I was a little worried that it was too hot in the cold frame for some of the seedlings, but most seemed to handle the heat very well. The broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprout seedlings are still somewhat small, but they should start getting bigger over the next few weeks. I won’t be planting those out into the garden until the 3rd or 4th week of April. I will be directly sowing 2-8 foot rows of peas within a few days. I have been letting my chickens work and scratch the soil in most of the empty garden beds. They love to eat all of the worms and bugs. Spring gardening activities are “gearing up.”
Overwintered Lettuce Awaiting Harvesting, 3/24/12
Overwintered Topsetting Onions Already Over a Foot Tall, 3/24/12
Barred Rock Hens Pixie and Dixie Enjoying a Little Backyard Free Range Time
Pretty Rhode Island Red Hen "Dolly".....May I Have Some Lettuce Please?
Most of my lettuce seeds have germinated and are now happily growing in my outside cold frame. I will be starting seeds of broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, celery, and fennel today. I emptied both of my compost bins this last week and top dressed all of my garden beds with this fabulous soil amendment. The weather looks unseasonably warm for the next week or so. I think spring has finally arrived here in Central Indiana
For those Midwest gardeners like me (zones 5 or 6), March through mid April is the right time to plant onions. If you want really good sized bulbs, you must get them into the ground early. I start with good quality transplants and usually like to get them planted no later than the first week of April. This year my onion transplants will be delivered to me the week of March 26th. I ordered my onions from Dixondale Farms and have ordered my onions from them for many years now.
Spring is here (knock on wood). I seeded 72 lettuce plants yesterday. I like to germinate all of my seeds in vermiculite under florescent lights and over a seed warmer mat (see firs pic below). When the seeds germinate, I will move them to the cold frame. The weather forecast looks decent for the next week or so. This time of year I am more concerned with the low temperatures and not necessarily the high temperatures. If the low temps are much below 20 degrees, it might be too cold for the plants in the cold frame. I posted a picture below of what the inside of my cold frame looks like. I place used plastic half gallon containers filled with water along the back wall of the cold frame. The sun heats up the water in the day and releases the heat at night, using the principle of Thermal Mass. This has worked well for me over the last 10 years or so. With any luck, most of the lettuce seeds should germinate in 5 to 7 days. I will be starting broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and celery seeds in another 7 to 10 days. Happy Early Spring Gardening!
Seeds Awaiting Germination Under Florescent Lights
Inside of Cold Frame with Half Gallon Water Filled Plastic Containers Along Back Wall
My Juwel cold frame went up last Saturday, February 18th. I do not have any seedlings in it as of yet. The extended weather forecast looks okay (no super cold temperatures predicted) so I think I will start some lettuce seedlings in a few days. If the good weather continues, I will start broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage shortly after that. Spring is almost here!
Why do you garden? There are many answers to this question. Some people garden to relieve stress, others because they like being outdoors. I agree with both of those answers, but I also raise a vegetable garden because I like eating the most fresh and nutritious foods.
In my opinion, every vegetable garden should contain at least of few of these types of vegetables. I grow broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and onions. My two favorites of these are broccoli and onions. I really miss fresh garden broccoli this time of year. I recently bought some “fresh” broccoli at the local grocery store. It was okay, but it certainly did not taste like “fresh from the garden” broccoli. Here’s hoping for an early spring!!!
The weather here has been warmer than normal with highs in the 40’s and sunny. This is great weather for early January in Indiana. Unfortunately, the warmer temps are only predicted to last a few more days. All this warm weather has me thinking of spring. I now have most of my seeds and garden supplies ordered for the upcoming growing season. My Juwel cold frame will be going up, weather permitting, in about another 5 weeks, so spring cannot be far away