March Seed Starting Update

Here’s a quick update on my seed starting activities here in late March. It’s a busy season for me, and I am always babysitting lots of seedlings this time of year. I started parsley and petunia seeds back in early February, and they have all been potted up now into individual 3.5″ pots. I have moved both out to the greenhouse, since they can take somewhat cooler temperatures and my growing space indoors under the lights is rapidly filling up.

petunia seedlings

I started the spring brassicas in late February, and they have been thinned and are still hanging out in their 72 cell plug flats. They will stay in there until planting time, unless that gets delayed. I can grow healthy transplants that way, and it helps maximize my space. At planting time I prick them out with a widger, with minimal disturbance to the root systems. I have two flats of them, with broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, pac choi and mizuna growing in them. Weather permitting, I can get these planted out in the garden next month.

brassica seedlings

In the last couple of weeks I have started seeds for peppers first, and then for eggplant and tomatoes. The peppers are just now germinating, and the tomatoes should be up soon. All of these will eventually wind up in individual pots to let them size up before they are planted out.

peppers germinating

I started a few early eggplants about a month ago for growing in containers. This year I started seeds for Fairy Tale, Gretel and Patio Baby (all AAS Winners) that do quite well for me in containers. They should give us an early taste of eggplant while we wait for the later planted main garden crop to mature. I have now transplanted these into individual 3.5″ pots, and I hope to move them out to the greenhouse soon. They can be potted up into larger containers or grow bags as soon as the weather settles a bit and frost danger passes.

eggplant seedlings

I’ve also started slips for sweet potatoes. I root these in water, and when the sprouts get long enough I put them in water too until they form roots. Once the slips are rooted, I pot them up into individual containers until they can be planted outside, usually in late May or early June.

sweet potatoes rooting in water

That’s a look at my seed starting status so far. You can visit my Seed Starting and Planting Schedule to see more details about when I start and plant things here in our garden. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!

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Harvest Monday March 22, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It’s still salad season here, and the greenhouse lettuce is giving us a modest but steady supply of greens. The Salanova Red Butter doesn’t get as red some varieties, but the leaves are tender and buttery and lovely in salads. I also cut some mizuna and baby pac choi for salad use last week.

Salanova Red Butter lettuce

mizuna and baby pac choi for salads

The greenhouse kale is beginning to set flower buds now. I cut leaves of Groninger Blue Collard Kale for cooking last week. This is one of the latest to flower, and I didn’t see any buds on it yet. Despite the name, I believe this Dutch heirloom is more of a kale than a collard green. Regardless, the big leaves are tasty and tender.

Groninger Blue Collard-Kale

In non harvest news, I baked up another sourdough sandwich loaf last week using some sprouted whole wheat flour I bought from King Arthur flour. This naturally leavened bread got a great oven spring, and made a sturdy base for sandwiches.  I froze leftovers for our later use.

sourdough sandwich loaf

Another dish I cooked up last week used some of our sweet potatoes from storage for Sweet Potatoes Pommes Anna. I used a mix of white, purple and orange fleshed varieties and sliced them thinly on the mandoline slicer. Then I tossed them with a mix of melted butter and olive oil before layering and baking in a cast iron skillet until crispy on the bottom and sides. I also added salt and a bit of dried thyme for seasoning. This treatment is a keeper, and a good use for the smaller sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes Pommes Anna

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Harvest Monday March 15, 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The harvests this week are somewhat repetitive but I am thankful to have them. I cut Tokyo Bekana microgreens for an Asian themed salad we enjoyed one day for lunch. Tokyo Bekana is usually classified as a non-heading napa cabbage, and I think it is best used raw or briefly stir fried since the thin leaves tend to just wilt away when cooked for very long. It has a mild flavor when harvested young for microgreens.

Tokyo Bekana microgreens

I made another cutting of Sea of Red lettuce for salads. My last planting of this variey is about all harvested, so I need to start some more seeds. I do have a flat of lettuce ready for replacing plants as they are harvested, but I didn’t sow any Sea of Red in that batch.

Sea of Red lettuce

I also cut mizuna, arugula and baby pac choi for use in a frittata. I have these growing in containers, and they have kept us supplied with a small but steady harvest of greens all winter for soups, salads and other dishes like the frittata.

mizuna and baby pac choi

The Rudolph purple sprouting broccoli has started heading now, the last of the three I planted in the winter greenhouse. We have been eating PSB on a regular basis the last couple of months, and it is surely a seasonal treat. The sprouts on the Burgundy have gotten quite small, while the ones on Santee are numerous and still of good size. I noticed a few of the kale plants are starting to show flower buds, so we should have kale rapini to add to the mix soon.

side shoots of broccoli

Rudolph broccoli

We have several hellebores planted in the shade garden, and they are coming into bloom now. I don’t know the names of most of them, though I believe the dark red one is Anna’s Red. My wife planted most of these and takes care of them and the other perennials we have planted. They are such a cheerful flower, and lovely to see this time of year when not much else is happening with flowering plants.

spotted hellebore

hellebore

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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The Rainy Season

It is spring, and for us that usually means lots of rain. The last two years we have gotten over six inches of rain each March, and in 2017 and 2018 we got over five inches in that time period. The wet conditions always make spring planting dicey, and has made growing things like potatoes and onions that need early planting quite difficult. This year March started off with rain, and with another soaking we got last night we now have almost 4 inches of rain already. For the last ten years I have been collecting precipitation data for CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network), so the data I have is for our garden specifically and not just our area in general.

CoCoRaHS rain gauge

In addition to the rain, another sign of spring is the daffodils blooming. Several patches of them were planted here when we moved in, and we have added a few ourselves. These short stemmed ones are always the first to bloom.

daffodils blooming in front yard

I can see one bunch blooming outside the window from my computer desk. It reminds me of the aluminum plant where I used to work that had hundreds of daffodils that were planted on the acreage and allowed to naturalize. It was a sight to see when they were all blooming.

daffodils outside my window

My wife has planted a selection of hellebores that are also starting to bloom now. She has a variety of colors and shapes planted, including those with double and single flowers. Many of the plants are still small but they are doing well where we have them.

double hellebore

The rain is keeping the winter greens growing, and they are making new growth with the warmer temperatures and longer days of spring. I have kale and collards growing in the vegetable garden, and they have kept us well supplied with greens all through the fall and winter months. They will begin blooming before long, but we will keep eating them as long as we can.

collards and kale

I hope you have enjoyed this March update, and I’ll be back with more happenings soon.

 

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Harvest Monday Mar 8, 2011

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Harvests this time of year are always small but much appreciated. I grow microgreens indoors under light to help give us a bit more fresh veggies. I started seeds for Red Russian kale and Tokyo Bekana about a month ago, and those greens are more than ready for cutting now. They made a nice addition to a salad and a soup we had last week. I had a question on my Facebook page about how I grow these, and in 2016 I did a post on my Experiments with Growing Shoots and Micro Greens that pretty well describes the process I use.

trays with microgreens

harvested micro greens

I made another cutting of the side shoots of the purple sprouting broccoli in the greenhouse. Burgundy and Santee are doing well, and Rudolph is making heads that should be ready in a week or less. Our winters are too cold for me to grow this crop unprotected, but it has done quite well for me in the greenhouse the last few years.

purple sprouting broccoli

And I made a small cutting of Salanova lettuce last week for a salad. There is more lettuce I’m letting size up, and I also have seedlings ready to set out as replacements. The next couple of months are definitely salad season here, before the weather heats up and growing decent lettuce becomes more difficult.

Salanova Red Butter lettuce

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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