Saturday, March 5

Sprouts, Weather and a Good Book

My first pepper sprouts appeared yesterday giving my dank and dreary basement something to be proud of. Using grow light and heat mats, I like to start my peppers early every year so I can harvest more peppers before the fall frost hits. I like my pepper transplants to be hardy and tall so I give them a generous head start.

I started eggplant seeds on the same day as the peppers and I noticed that I have a few little sprouts just poking through the dirt this evening. Again, eggplant is started early to maximize the harvest for our growing season.

This year's pepper choices are: California Wonder, Early Jalapeno, Horizon, Bull Nose, Como di Toro and Topepo Rosso.

Eggplant selections: Striped Purple Edirne, Jade Sweet, Casper, Long Purple and Turkish Orange.

Broccoli and Cauliflower seeds were started yesterday. Just a few since they are not a personal favorite but my neighbors enjoy them, as well as the local deer population. If the deer are busy with the broccoli then maybe my peas stand a fighting chance. The peas will be direct sown on St. Patrick's Day, weather providing, and the tomatoes will be started as well.

With the new raised bed space we added last fall, I am getting ambitious in my seed selections. This year I am focusing on a few plants of many varieties instead of filling my spaces with mostly three of four types of plants. I chose four additional types of peppers to add to what I normally plant but I an only starting 6 sprouts of each - a few for my garden and a few for a friend. This year I am more interested in how many varieties I can grow and how well or poorly they do as opposed to a large quantity of two or three types.

In other news, the yard if a half frozen, half muddy mess given the huge weather fluctuations lately. The chickens are not sure what to do and seem to be taking it day by day, if not hour to hour. It could be snowing in the morning and 45 and sunny in the afternoon. Egg production is steady after a lull in late December/early January. They are getting very creative ass to where they hide their eggs so I am constantly searching corners and suspiciously piled up mound of straw for the days egg collection.

If all goes according to plan, this next week should give us some good weather in the 50's and I will be checking chores off the yard work to-do list. The more general yard clean up I get done now, the more time I will have to spend in the garden when it is time to plant. I hate to feel rushed when I am planting and I end up over-seeding and not following the plant rotation diagram. The first planting change for this year - plant the lettuce on the east facing side of the pea and bean trellis. This way, the lettuce gets the morning sun and is shaded from the afternoon rays. Last year, my lettuce bolted and was generally not all that great since it got the full force of the afternoon sun.

As for the rest of the evening - the kids and husband are in bed, the wood stove is keeping the house toasty and comfortable, and Murphy and I are enjoying our quiet time on the couch. He is currently snoring and dreaming about whatever dogs dream about. And I am going to read a book that does not involve Disney princesses.

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