Holy cow, it’s almost May. Who knew that old saying, April comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion, is actually true? The 8 feet of snow have melted and left everything kind of boggy. Luckily I garden in raised beds which are workable if still a bit wet. The 2-3 inches of rain Monday-Tuesday didn’t help, but at least it watered in the onions I got planted on Sunday. But now it is cold with high wind gusts and overnight lows near freezing, just like winter weather. We even lit the wood stove today to take the chill off the house.
I did get all but one of my planting beds weeded and prepped, ready for planting season. Peas are in, and Thursday and Friday I planted the rest of my onions and shallots. Above are some of the Red Zeppelin and Candy onions. They look kind of shaggy and pathetic, but that is because they are still dormant. It will take a few days for them to rehydrate and send out new roots. The Red Zeps were the biggest of the onions from Dixondale, almost every one the size of a pencil. The few small ones were tucked in here and there for green onions.
I planted the tub of larger shallots, the ones originally started from seed back on February 26. Due to poor germination, I threw a bunch of seeds on a wet paper towel and pre-germinated them. This produced an additional quantity of seedlings in another pot which are still a little too small to transplant yet. Those will get planted in a week or two.
Given the weather, I tried to get a jump start on the spinach by planting seeds in 3/4 inch soil blocks. I have heard that spinach does not transplant well and is prone to bolting. I figured if I could get quick germination I could whisk them into the garden before they knew they were being transplanted. So why, with fresh seed, did only two germinate quickly? After another week I now have 8 plants out of 40 cubes, almost enough to plant one square of the 4 I planned on.
I adjusted my seed starting schedule to assume that maybe this planting season might be delayed a week or two, given the horrendous winter. Given the weather this week, that is looking like a reasonable decision, except for one vegetable. Peppers. The things are so slow to germinate and so slow to grow, delaying starting them does not pay off. I believe it is better to deal with potting up peppers than wondering if you will get any plants this season. And I believe peppers should be healthy, actively growing plants when set out in the garden. The fact that a runt might improve and actually grow in the garden does not mean you will get any fruit from it, so it is just wasting space. This is particularly true for certain long season peppers, which of course are the interesting ones I want to grow.
So here it is almost May and you can see my peppers above, planted on March 29. I have enough germination that I should get a couple of plants from each of the 9 varieties planted, so I declare success! But none have a set of true leaves yet and they do not seem to grow at all. Everything seems to be in slow motion this season. The brassicas are progressing but the peppers, the toms, and even the lettuce just seem to sit there. I’m getting tired of babysitting these guys and want them out in the garden, the sooner the better.