March and April are usually busy months for me with lots of seed starting activities. By early April, many of the seeds have been started and transplanted on to larger containers. Ones that can take a bit of cold are moved out to the unheated greenhouse, while the heat loving veggies stay inside under lights. Many of the pepper plants are showing several true leaves by now. That’s a trio of Italian types in the below photo, Italian Red Heart, Stocky Red Roaster and Corno di Toro Rosso. Right now they are in 6 cell packs (#806), and I can get 48 plants in a standard 1020 flat. I’ll pot them up one more time into 3.5″ containers before they get planted out.
Tomatoes are coming along nicely too. They’ll get the same treatment as the peppers, and I’ll pot them up into 3.5″ containers in a couple of weeks. That’s Green Tiger and Golden Sweet in the below photo, two small-fruited types.
I still need to start seeds for basil, calendula, and all the cucurbits. The parsley I started over a month ago now has true leaves showing. That’s a curly leaf variety called Forest Green in the below photo. I also grow the flat leaf Italian parsley. I usually plant parsley in the greenhouse beds for our use and outside in the Wild Garden where I let the swallowtail caterpillars have it. If they show up on the greenhouse plants I carefully move them out to the Wild Garden.
I start salad greens periodically throughout the year, so I can always have a few plants to tuck in whenever there’s a bare spot that needs filling. That’s Jester in the below photo, a crispleaf type from Wild Garden Seed I’m trying this year.
And speaking of lettuce, I have started cutting lettuce from the greenhouse beds. In the below photo is a head of Red Sails that decided to grow upright like a romaine. It was colored like Red Sails, but definitely not the usual spreading loose leaf head that it normally makes. The rest of the plants (so far) look like they usually do.
It was great for salad though, combined with some Giant Winter spinach, and I found a small Purple Haze carrot from last year to grate up on top.
Speedy arugula is living up to its name. I set out transplants about three weeks ago in one of the mini salad boxes, and it took right off growing. A couple of the plants are ready to bolt. A round leaf variety called Apollo from SSE is also planted in that box, and it is starting to bolt too, so I started some more seeds of both for the next round of arugula. After the photo op, I cut quite a few of the leaves to use on a pizza one night.
The pizza was the crunchiest food I’ve eaten since my periodontal surgery, and it really tasted good to me. We used Whole Grain Spelt Pita Bread for the crust, and baked it on a hot pizza stone. Yep, it was crunchy all right!
Also out in the greenhouse, the petunia seedlings are looking good. That’s Tidal Wave Pink in the below photo. They’ll be showing buds by the end of the month, and usually start blooming before I set them out in May.
In other news, our latest soap creation was ready for testing last week. Mocha Java Hand Soap combines two of my favorite things, coffee and cocoa. It’s naturally colored with Coffee Infused Oil and cocoa powder, with cocoa nibs added for scrubbing power. We left it unscented so we could see how much of the coffee scent remains after saponification. It wound up being mildly scented with coffee and chocolate. This was definitely one of those ‘will it work’ projects and I have to say it worked pretty much as I expected. We poured this one into a Wilton silicone muffin pan that I bought for soap making, which made slightly smaller than usual bars that will be great for hand soap.
I managed to get onions and potatoes planted last week just before another rainy period started. I didn’t get the carrots sowed, and I’m glad because they likely would have gotten washed away. I hope to be able to work on them sometime this week. We wound up with almost 3 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. Last year it was rainy in April too, and we got nearly 13 inches that month. I hope this year is not a repeat of that, since the soil was too wet to plant anything for weeks. Thankfully our soil drains well and the standing water in the below photo was gone in a couple of hours. That’s the bed where I planted onions and potatoes. It’s safe to say they won’t need watering for a while!
That’s a look at what’s happening here in early April. To see what others are harvesting and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy acres.