Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Start of the Spring Brassicas

I had my brassicas down to be seeded twice. Once for the ones that can handle the cold, and another time a week later for things that don't like to see the colder temps. Chinese cabbage for instance will bolt prematurely if they see really cold temps. They are hardy enough to withstand some freezing weather, but it is better they don't.

On Tuesday I noticed that my schedule said they should have been seeded on Saturday. The later ones, this coming Saturday. That won't happen as Saturday is my husband birthday party. Guests start to show up at 1pm and I have to kick them out at 11pm. So with prep work in the morning it is an all day affair.

But my seeding schedules are really just suggestions for me. They always get moved around because of scheduling issues. So earlier this week I had some time and decided to just do all of the brassicas at once. Oh and the chard, I started them too.

As Granny was saying the other day, the garden will be a real friendship garden this year. This batch of seedlings came from Mac, Granny, and Michelle. And yes a few commercial sources too. Here is the list of what got seeded: Yakotta-Na, Purple Mizuna, Tatsoi, Fun Jen, Komatsuna, Rubarb Chard, Argentata Chard, Piracicaba (recommended to me by Michelle and Ali), Packman, White Stem Bok Choy (from Mac), Chinese Kale (from Mac), Choy Sum (from Mac), Shanghai Bok Choy (from Mac), Ching Chang Bok Choy (from Granny), Senposai (from Michelle), Chinese Cabbage Rubicon, Small Chinese Cabbage (from Mac).

I made 1 1/2" blocks to fill a whole flat before I seeded them out. Then I found I needed about 14 more blocks. So just put them on some lids. I'll move some into the onion space, since about five blocks so far are empty. And I'll put some in with the lettuce once the seeds are up.

I know some of you have much larger operations, but this was a lot of seeding for me. I've planted way, way too much. I tend not to plan my garden out on paper. I was going to do a paper plan so you could see it all, but nope. I didn't do it again. I'm just not that kind of person I guess. I'll plan it out in the bed as I put in my peas (which ought to happen today or tomorrow). I'll put labels in the bed dividing where the space ought to be. I have a lot of space this year (my biggest bed), but I want more onions than last year so they may take up a lot of the extra space. I will end up tossing the extras (unless I can find homes for them, I haven't in the past). I figured it was better to grow too much than too little.

Then I took a look at the other seedlings. The lettuce is doing well. The early onions (the big ones) are doing great. The late seeded onions are coming up well. I planted leeks, bunching onions, and early tomatoes in the little tiny blocks to move into the 2" blocks later. Except for the King Sieg Leeks germination was spotty to non existent. I might have to make a few more blocks and multi plant some bunching onions to fill in. The early tomatoes are just a bust. I have enough leeks up to plant the small space they will get allotted, but not all the varieties I seeded will get in. Those little tiny blocks are just hard to get to germinate. The 1 1/2" ones germinate well, but the little ones dry out too fast when the heat is on in the house even covering them with plastic wrap. I need to do a better job with them when the main peppers and tomatoes get seeded in them. I might just keep the bottom part in a bit of water until I see growth. Overall the 1 1/2" blocks work better than the others for me.

A very sunny garden

And on another front, the weather has just been totally awesome here recently. We had our flood, which didn't affect us personally much. After the rains left, the sun came out and it has been about 60F since. We are getting night time temps in the 40s right now and Saturday it might hit 70F. Wow. What nice weather after such horrible weather. Mother Nature is surely playing with us this spring.


  1. It will be a friendship garden, indeed. Mother Nature is gonna mess up alot of gardeners this year, i'm afraid. One thing's for certain though - the companies selling tomato transplants will make a killing.

  2. It's been warm here too. I'm so tempted to start seeding outside but temps are supposed to dip at the end of the month. I'll have to wait a bit. Better safe than sorry.

  3. I can't wait to see what the purple mizuna looks like, that's a new one to me. Your garden is going to stuffed full of interesting things.

    I've never managed to get a garden plan down on paper either. I designate certain beds for certain types of vegetables, but I don't really figure out what goes where until it's ready to go in the ground.

    The weather here has been fabulous also, into the mid 70's. I actually had to crack open the bedroom window last night, it was too warm with 2 cats on the bed.

  4. I planted all my brassicas on Tuesday too. I am still waiting on the first sprout, seems they are not coming up as fast as the tatsoi & pac choi did.

    We have been basking in the sun here too, its been beautiful. Forgot to vent the tunnel today and it was 104f, any wonder the greens are bolting :-)

  5. You mentioned a chard that's suppose to be really good - is it the Argentata? I'm fascinated by all of these Asian greens you're planting - I can't wait to see what they look like!

    I donated my extra seeds to the local school garden program and they asked me if I would donate any seedlings that I was going to throw away. If your local school has a garden program you might check and see if they want your extra seedlings. The school here said they let the kids practice transplanting with the donated seedlings.

  6. The onions are looking quite stately and it's about time you caught a break in the weather!

    I am always amazed at the large variety of items you are able to tuck into your garden.

  7. It's about time you get some nice weather at your neck of the woods.
    Hopefully it stays dry for a while.

    OK, I jump on the soil block band wagon and ordered a 1 1/2" thingy, I better be in good mood to learn and play with it, or else IT would be sitting somewhere in the shed until who knows when.

  8. Looks a good lot of seeds starting to grow! Feels wierd, I just planted brassicas over here in Oz and we are in Autumn (not that you'd know it with our record hot spell.) It is brassica time worldwide :)

  9. EG, It might. In the last five years our storms have been more often and windier (not to mention more rain). I think tomato transplants will sell wonderfully right now. Everyone and their brother is getting into vegetable gardening.

    Miss M, Ours will dip too, but only into the high 40Fs and low 50Fs, so that is good pea and spinach weather. We may even get lucky and have no more hard freezes. I'm sure we will have frost though. If we don't I'll be shocked. Usually somewhere between mid April and late April is our last frost, but occasion it isn't until early May (on my hill that is, the valleys are different).

    Michelle, I'm really looking forward to the spring garden. I can't wait to taste all the new Asian greens - and even some of the old ones.

    Dan, I'm thinking today is the start of sprouting day. I'll have to keep an eye on them if I have the time. And ouch. 104F? That is way too hot. It is why I stick to remay in the spring. I always forget to vent them. I do sometimes use plastic on my tomato transplants, but I keep the ends open so it just raises the temps a little.

    A Kitchen Garden in Kihei Maui, Yes it is the Argentata chard. Supposedly it has less oxalates so has a better taste. I'll let you all know if it really does. The school program sounds like a good idea. I've heard the high school has just started a garden tied into the history class I think. Though they may be growing all heirlooms if that is the case.

    kitsapFG, it has been fabulous. The soil is even dry now. I had to water the spinach after all the sun we had. The trick to the wide variety is that I don't plant very many of each one. Usually just 2-4. But it is more fun eating them that way.

    Mac, I think it is supposed to rain Monday and Tuesday, but I'm fine with that if it is a normal rain and not another 10". So I have a convert :> Just remember to get the soil wetter than you think the first time. That was my initial problem and learning. The soil can be very wet and work, but can't be too dry and still hold into blocks. BTW I find the 1 1/2" the easiest to make into blocks. So it is a good one to start with - or even the best one if you have just one.

    Prue, I wonder if we hit a record high yesterday. Boston had a record high of 70F (21C) and I wonder if it was broken. Our neck of the woods got to 65F, so probably we didn't. But we have more chances the next two days. I hope it cools down for you so your brassicas are happy.

  10. I really need to find me one of those 1 1/2 inch soil block makers. It looks to be much more efficient for some seedlings.

    Let's hope this weather lasts a while! And no more long periods of rain. I don't think my garden can take it!

  11. Thomas, I really thought I would like the 3/4" and inserting it into the 2" the best, but I was quite wrong in that.