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Sprouts!

March 27, 2012

spinach sprouts

I knew this would happen, but I may have jumped the gun with my post about signs of spring. Lately it’s felt like March is out to prove that it deserves that reputation for tempestuous weather. Pouring rain, snow, hail, sixty-degrees and sunny–we’ve had it all. Yet this time of year I’m suddenly haunted by the feeling that I should have gotten the whole garden planted yesterday. I think the reappearance of sunshine messes with my brain.

So anyway, you can bet that we planted our first sowing of peas on President’s Day. This was the first time I’ve been able to observe this Northwestern tradition because last year the ground was too soggy to break sod for our new garden until May. But this year, I was sure we’d be snacking on sugar snap peas by April. And then when the sprouts failed to appear, I was sure the seeds had rotted. What I hadn’t counted on was them taking a full month to germinate! Luckily, our farmstead includes a PVC tunnel-style greenhouse so I’ve been able to continue to satisfy my urge to plant things without risking spotty germination in cold soil.

a wee broccoli

Having a greenhouse is a huge step up from the seed-starting setup we used last year, which involved sprouting seeds over a space heater and letting them jockey for light under a few CFLs on a sunny windowsill. But it’s still a learning experience. At first we tried to make our own seed-starting mix, but the quantities we need make sterilizing it in the kitchen impractical. And because the greenhouse wasn’t cleaned well at the end of last season, we’ve had some trouble with mold. But all setbacks aside, right now we have spinach, lettuce, kale, collards, broccoli, peppers, swiss chard, peas, and quinoa(!) going. And that’s not counting those President’s Day peas out in the garden or the arugula and lettuce we sowed under a cloche this past weekend. We still have a long way to go, but it’s a start…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2012 4:44 am

    Would love to hear about your quinoa growing experience. Is this your first year growing it?

    • mjade permalink*
      March 29, 2012 7:04 pm

      This is our first time growing quinoa, so I’ll be sure to continue to document the experience! I know some folks who grew it last year, and while I’m not sure what their yield was like, the plants were very striking.

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