Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lady of Shallot

The broccoli now has three sets of leaves (this is thrilling news to all of you, I'm sure), and the leeks are thriving. The little tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings are sprouting. So far they seem to have beat out the mold that started growing in their warm, damp cells. A light application of peat moss on the surface seems to have done the trick. We're especially stoked to see the shallots sprouting--we're actually growing them from seeds instead of sets. A lot of our choices for what to grow this year are determined by what's expensive at the store, and by what we don't get from our Genesis share. I'm trying to figure out why shallots are so expensive--does anyone out there know? Even the sets were pricey, especially the organic ones.

As we try to find our way in year four of our garden, it's interesting to note the lessons learned by these folks after a decade of gardening. It's encouraging to see that they've learned a lot of the same lessons we have, and that in the end they decided to keep things simple. They attempted a nonlinear planting pattern before settling on traditional raised rows, which makes us a little nervous because we plan on breaking out of the rigid geometry of rectangles this year. It looks like their approach was mostly aesthetic, though, while we're trying a combination of companion planting and permaculture principles. We also don't have the full sun they do, so it makes sense for us to plant little plots all over our property where we can find the best light.

Last weekend we started lettuce seeds indoors, and this weekend we may even plant peas outside. It may seem a bit too cold and too early, but Mike McGrath doesn't usually steer us wrong. He recommends St. Patrick's day as the best time to plant peas in our area, weather permitting. With that said, no seeds will do well in frozen or waterlogged soil, so we will play it by ear.


Gretchen said...

Hi guys!

Hmm, hadn't thought about using peat moss - that's a good idea!

I've had terrible success so far with onion seeds this year. I'm guessing it's just too cold in our basement - we don't have a heating mat, just rely on the warmth of the lights, which works for most things, but not onions apparently! I started another bunch and put them on top of our fridge - but opened them up today and there's a bit of mold developing. I'll have to give peat moss a try. I've also heard of setting a fan near the seedlings to keep air flow going.

I read an article last year in Organic Gardening saying that if you sprout peas in water with a bit of dissolved vitamin C they tend to be very productive plants. I did this last year and they did produce quite a bit, so I'm thinking there is something to it.

Anyway, your plants are looking great!!

Kate said...

Sorry to hear about your onion situation. The peat moss helped a lot with mold on our tomatoes and peppers, so hopefully you'll have luck with that. Mark agrees with you that aeration is a good idea. We've had much better success sprouting seeds upstairs than in our basement, and Mark thinks the humidity and air flow have something to do with that. Of course, we have a colossal rack of seedlings taking up much of our sunroom, so there's the tradeoff.

We used inoculant on peas this year; I wonder if it will have a similar effect to the vitamin C. We'll find out soon enough!