Finally, Some Planting

The wetter and colder than normal spring weather has kept me from getting much planting done this year. Things are running at least two weeks behind normal, and the 22 inches of rain we have received so far in 2018 has even made garden cleanup work a challenge. This week I finally managed to get a few things planted, starting with some early tomatoes. I always grow a few on the south side of the greenhouse, which has a micro climate that warms up early in spring. I’m growing three plants of Red Racer cocktail tomato, a 2018 AAS Winner that did quite well when I trialed it last fall. I put two of those plants in 10 gallon Smart Pots, and I set the other one in the ground. I want to compare how the plants do with the two different growing methods. Red Racer is a compact growing variety, otherwise I would use a bigger container.

Red Racer tomato in Smart Pot

Red Racer tomato in Smart Pot

I also planted three other tomato plants in the ground, including Sun Gold, Valentine, and Midnight Snack. Valentine is an early red grape tomato and another 2018 AAS Winner, while Midnight Snack is an indigo cherry tomato and a 2017 AAS Winner. We loved Midnight Snack so much when I grew it last year that I plan to set out another plant later on. Hopefully these plants will give us an early supply of small-fruited tomatoes for salads and snacking.

early tomato plants

early tomato plants

I was also able to work up the bed in the main garden where I will grow the spring brassicas. The soil was really too wet, but I couldn’t wait any longer and decided to mud them in any way I could. I had potted up all the plants in 3.5″ pots almost three weeks ago, and they have made good top growth plus the roots filled out the pots nicely. I have to say sometimes I have set out scrawny plants and they survived, but I would much rather set out big husky plants like these. That should go a long way to make up for the late planting. The large plants should also be safe from birds which are occasionally a problem here.

cabbage transplants ready to go

cabbage transplants ready to go

I set out 65 plants total, including 18 broccoli, 20 cabbage and 27 kohlrabi. Much of the cabbage and kohlrabi will get fermented and turned into sauerkraut and kimchi. It is safe to say we love our cole crops here! My wife is also a big fan of the fermented kohlrabi ‘pickles’ I make, and she had some for lunch today while I enjoyed some of last year’s sauerkraut.

spring brassicas

spring brassicas

After planting I gave all the plants a drink of fish and seaweed fertilizer (Neptune’s Harvest). I’ll come back and mulch with straw over newspaper in a few days. And I have to say that after our local newspaper was swallowed up by the USA Today conglomerate, I think the best use for it now is out in the garden as a mulch! We also use shredded newspaper and cardboard in other areas as mulch, especially in the asparagus beds.

cabbage transplant

cabbage transplant

I also worked up a spot in the main garden for some early bush beans. But I tested the soil temperature and it was between 55-60°F, not quite warm enough for beans to germinate. The weather is forecast to warm up a bit in the next few days so I will keep testing the soil temps. Next up in my planting schedule will be getting lettuce planted in one of the cold frame beds. Given the way the weather has been slow to warm up, I doubt I will plant any more tomatoes until mid-May or later.

lettuce in plug flat

lettuce in plug flat

I hope you have enjoyed this update, and I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!

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6 Responses to Finally, Some Planting

  1. Phuong says:

    You’ve definitely had a wetter spring at 22 inches, I think I heard western Kentucky has gotten 17 inches of rain so far. Your brassica, lettuce, and tomato starts look incredible. All my lettuce and spinach plants bolted in the greenhouse. And the kohlrabi seedlings are strangely unhappy after I potted them up into larger cells.

  2. Margaret says:

    Initially, I was quite surprised that you already had tomatoes in the ground, but then I realized that it’s actually the end of April and I should be getting mine planted in only 3 weeks or so – the cold spring is wreaking havoc with my sense of timing as it’s literally felt like March for most of this month.

    Those brassica transplants are huge! Mine just went into the ground today – I covered them with Agribon which should keep them relatively snug in the cooler nighttime temps until I get back.

  3. Michelle says:

    Oh my, all those broccoli, cabbage, and kohlrabi starts! The voles here would be dancing in the garden in anticipation of a feast. And what eye candy they are, those are really prime specimens.

    Twenty-two inches of rain so far this year. Wow. That’s about our average for an entire year.

    Isn’t that the way with local papers these days. Our became so thin that it isn’t even good for mulch.

  4. You sound to be in the same position as us – our early brassicas will have ti go out this weekend regardless.

  5. Kathy says:

    Following on from Sue’s comment, we are in the same predicament… cabbage plants needing to be planted and soil still very wet. The bed we kept covered during the Winter fared a little better, so some can go in there, but the second bed, well you could wring the water out of the soil!
    Your lettuce selection looks very pretty: you always have interesting leaves to harvest!

  6. Melissa says:

    Congrats on getting some plants in the ground! It’s always such a hopeful time…but with weather being so wonky, one never really knows anymore! I’m hopeful for a bountiful tomato season for you!

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