I don’t want to be premature, but it’s starting to look a little like spring around here. Last week we still had snow and ice on the ground. Now it’s almost all gone, and things are popping up all over. I didn’t have to look too hard to find tulip and narcissus leaves pushing up out of the ground. If that’s not a sign that spring is coming soon, I don’t know what is!
It’s a busy time of year for me, with seed starting activities going full blast. Last week I got pepper and eggplant seeds going, plus a few early tomatoes, and this week I will sow the rest of the tomato seeds. Kale, broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi are already transplanted and looking good, while I have planted some of the lettuce, spinach and arugula. I always plant some of the Black Seeded Simpson and/or Simpson Elite lettuce in early spring so we can have it for salads, especially Wilted Lettuce Salad which is one of my favorites. I also planted a bit of Red Sails lettuce in the greenhouse beds. These plants are about a month old so they will be ready to harvest in no time.
I use my mini salad boxes in the greenhouse for a little extra growing space. I have one planted with arugula, half of it the wild kind and the rest of it my regular HA arugula mix. Both of these are from saved seeds. We love our arugula here, and it will be nice to have it available again after the cold winter pretty much stopped it from growing and wiped out about half of the plants. I’m also trying a couple of new kinds this year, one called Wasabi which is a spicy tasting wild type and one called Tuscan which is not surprisingly an Italian variety. If we like these I will try and save seeds from them too. I just sowed these two a few days ago, so they are not quite ready to set out. For those of you who got arugula seed from me awhile back, the below photo shows both kinds (wild on the left).
Another of the salad boxes is planted with some Golden Corn Salad. I got the seed for this tasty mache from Michelle, who so generously shared them with me last year. I am hoping to get this to go to seed so I can keep it going. The leaves are a bit longer and thinner than most mache, and they definitely have a golden yellow color compared to the green leaves of other corn salad. I am looking forward to having some of this in the salad bowl soon. I got these started a little late last year, and while they survived the winter in the greenhouse they are just now sizing up.
Another green looking good in the greenhouse is the Verde da Taglio chard. It overwintered there nicely, and after giving us some early leaves I am hoping it will flower so I can save seed from it. It has been growing in the greenhouse since last April. I did a Saturday Spotlight last year on this mild-tasting chard.
Yesterday I finished cleaning up the greenhouse beds, and did some planting of spinach and lettuce. The overwintered spinach is looking good, and leaves are big enough to harvest. The plants in the below photo are Amsterdam Prickly Seeded spinach, which is an heirloom o/p variety that Thomas Jefferson grew in the early nineteenth century. The sturdy leaves look like they will be best used for cooking, but we will see how they look when they grow a bit more. This one might be a good candidate for a Saturday Spotlight once we do some harvesting and tasting. I’ve got it growing in a cold frame too, along with my old standby Giant Winter.
And speaking of cold frames, next on my list of chores will be to do some planting in the cold frame beds. I think I will tackle that later today. Frankly, I can’t think of any better way to spend my birthday than to get my hands dirty out in the garden! Since it’s my wife’s week to cook, she is fixing a special treat for my dinner tonight – lamb chops. She’s not a fan, so I will have them all to myself. Yum!