In the last post about the garden, A Sign of Spring, I closed by noting that the next task would be to figure out how many seedlings need to be started, and when to start them. Also, I needed to figure out what might be new for 2022.
I checked back at FEDCO and found that not only the purple cauliflower seed was available, but that an interesting carrot variety named Purple Haze was in stock. I ordered some of each seed. The cauliflower, DePurple, is expensive- $9 for 40 seeds. Boutique veggies!
Not all plants are started early and transplanted. My rule of thumb is if the harvest is above the dirt, it’s started early and transplanted once the weather warms. Tomatoes, broccoli and Brussels Sprouts would be examples of this. If the edible bit is in the dirt, then that’s directly seeded once the soil temperature is appropriate, usually at the end of May or early June. Carrots and beets, for example.
But there are exceptions. Leafy stuff such as lettuce and Swiss Chard are directly seeded into the soil, as are green beans and cucumbers.
In order to figure out the answer to “how many & when”, I used to employ many pieces of paper along with a calendar. Right around mid-season the entire collection of notes would become very cryptic, and in some cases unreadable. Last year I promised myself to get this whole mess better organized for 2022. Below is the result.
Some things to know about the Garden Tracking spreadsheet:
- Items in GREEN are second, later plantings targeting a fall harvest.
- The dates listed under Seedling transplant/ Direct planting date are approximations. The actual dates of planting or transplant will be recorded once it happens.
- “Harvest Date” is either the day the crop is ready to be harvested completely, or the day that a crop starts it’s production period. Broccoli and onions are examples of the former; tomatoes and cukes the latter. These dates are calculated from the Seedling transplant/ Direct planting date and the Days to Maturity number.
- The only reliable dates are the dates the seedlings are started and the planting date. Everything else is an approximation, and subject to the whims of the Garden Gods.
Note that there are always more seedlings started than transplanted. I usually have very good germination rates, but always start a few more than needed, just in case. I give any extra seedlings to friends for their gardens.
I do grow some flowers, and they start early with the vegetables. Next year will be the third year growing petunias and impatiens for hanging baskets. We hang these around the front entry to the house, and they’re pretty. This year any extra petunias will go in planters on the patio, along with some marigolds and nasturtium. Marigolds reportedly help keep away the bugs. Nasturtiums have unique leaves and flowers, and they’re weird looking, which adds appeal. But most of the marigolds and nasturtium will be planted throughout the raised beds to add some color and aid in pest control.
A little math tells me that I’ll be starting 100 vegetable and 96 flower seedlings around the first weekend in April for the start of the season, and then another 51 vegetables later to support the second crops. I’ll describe how this is done beginning in mid-March. Stay tuned!
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