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
Not much happening in the garden right now. Two inches of new snow fell on the garden 2 days ago, but it had all melted within a day. I will be harvesting the rest of the fall planted carrots soon. They have been growing under a plastic covered hoop since the weather turned cold. The lettuce is also still growing under another hoop, but I will not be harvesting anymore of that until next spring. The weather has been warmer than normal, but it has been very wet.
I have been inventorying my seeds and making plans for next year’s garden. I will be ordering all my seeds within the next few weeks.
I would like to wish all my readers a very prosperous 2012!!
My fall garden was very successful this year. I just finished harvesting the last of the cabbage and brussels sprouts on December 6th and 7th. Temperatures here in Central Indiana were above normal for the month of November, which probably helped the fall garden produce more over a longer period. The low temperatures over the last 2 mornings have been in the mid teens, which have effectively put an end to much of the fall garden harvest. I still have some carrots left in the ground (that are protected by a plastic covered hoop) which I will be harvesting within the month before the ground freezes solid. The fall harvest from my garden this year has been spectacular. Not only did the broccoli produce very nice main heads, but the plants produced some very nice side shoots over the better part of late October through November. The cabbage and cauliflower plants produced some mammoth sized heads. Now is the time to start planning next year’s garden. I have started receiving 2012 seed catalogs in the mail, so you know it won’t be long until spring arrives.
The mid to late fall vegetable garden continues to produce a nice harvest of cabbage, broccoli, and lettuce. The cauliflower heads are getting bigger and will be ready to harvest in about one more week. The carrots are also nearing harvestable size. The brussels sprouts are ready for harvesting, but have not been as of yet (see pic below). The fall broccoli harvest has been very good with many very large heads (see pic below). Temps are expected to dip below freezing in about 2 more days, so I will have to make sure to protect some of the late maturing plants with either row covers or plastic covered hoops.
Brussels Sprouts Ready for Harvest - Picture Taken 11-4-11
Large Head of Broccoli Just Before Harvest - Picture Taken 11/4/11
I have posted a new YouTube video below on ways to extend the fall growing season.
The late October garden continues to outperform my earlier expectations. The broccoli has matured and I have harvested some really large heads, some nearly 10 inches in diameter. The cabbage plants are also quite large now. One plant was almost the size of a basketball (see pic below). Since the last blog post there have been several light frosts. This morning was the first good freeze of the fall season, with a low of around 28 degrees. The broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower were covered with row covers and the carrots and lettuce were protected with plastic covered hoops. The green beans growing in the old corn raised bed were pulled up about a week ago. The late crop from these was very good. The peppers were pulled up a few days ago and topsetting onions were planted in their spot (for harvesting next spring and summer). I will be pulling up the roma tomato plants today. The brussels sprouts are maturing well and growing to a decent size. harvest will begin on those within a few weeks. Harvest continues on the late planted lettuce. I harvested the last of the pole limas a few days ago.
The weather has been fairly decent over the last few weeks, but there has been a few days of cold rain. That is okay, as it has been very dry for most of the summer. I emptied my rain barrel and will be storing it in the barn for the winter. The growing season is fast approaching the end