Thursday, February 7, 2008

February 7, 2008

Been a slow garden couple of days, coupled with a ton of work at work.  Oh, and a some great theatre thrown in for good measure. The onions continue to sprout and grow now that one came all the others want to join the crowd.  I moved the lettuce back in thinking it just needed more time (nothing yet).  I hope I didn't stunt the germination or anything.

Most of what I'll talk about today is my new seeds.  I put a few calls into Territorial this week.  The beauty of their shop is that the order takers are very experienced gardeners in addition to having a guide to have the key features of each seed at their fingertips.  The first call I ordered my potatoes for early March delivery.  I'll follow Mel's advice and plant them 4 weeks prior to the average LSF, though my brother and I agree we are likely in for a few more weeks of winter, no mater what the groundhog says.  I ordered Yukon Golds and Buttes.  Both make great mashed potatoes, but Yukons can easily be chopped up and sauteed in butter and parsely for a different side dish.  The Buttes are excellent bakers. ROFL, I just connected that sentence to my amazing mother.  Not only was she raised in Butte Montana (after fleeing war-torn Poland), but she is an incredible baker, just like the Butte potatoes.  I digress.  Not only are they bakers, but they reportedly make great fries and mashed potatoes.  I look forward to blending the Yukon's with the Buttes for a different take on mashed taters.

On the way to the play that night, my wife (you can read her blog about being a busy mom from the link here), was writing a letter to her grandma, telling her about our garden plans.  When she heard what we were growing, she said "we're doing shucking peas? I wanted snap peas!"  Oops!  Um, I like shuck peas.  They're what the frozen peas the kids eat WISH they could be.  So today I called my brother and got a good feel for when to get my tomatoes (mid April).  He's not going to try to beat the weather this year with all the snow in the mountains and the rain/snow mix here.  So it's mid April or later. If later, I'll just repot and keep inside until it's safe to transplant outside.

So based on my pea fiasco, I called Territorial back today and actually got the same sales person.  We chatted about peas and I ordered some snap peas for my wife, the vine kind since I plan on a trellis for that bed and need to use it.  Actually, she suggested to trellis my bush peas as well for ease of harvest.  Why not, the trellis will be there.  Anyway, while we were talking, I noticed snow peas at the bottom of the page.  Another minute chatting and I'd bought some snow peas.  Great for stir frys.  We don't stir fry, but we should.  If we have snow peas, broccoli etc. why not?  So, at the end of the call, I had set up to grow three different types of peas in my 4 SF.  Since they're planted every 3 inches on both sides of the trellis, I'll have TONS of plants and peas.  I can't speak highly enough about the folks at Territorial Seed Company.  Not only are they helpful, but their options are great and so is their delivery times.

Speaking of the trellis... the trellis will be in the back of the bed against the wall of the garage (a foot and a half away).  If you've seen my setup, the wall of the garage is light beige, which reflects a great amount of light.  But is it enough for growing peas on the back side of the trellis?  Something to ask before I plant.

Did I mention that the back of the book with it's quick reference guide to each veggie is my favorite part of the book?  I refer to it often.  Well that's about it for me tonight.  I hope to clear out my garage enough to build a potato bin or two. Don't worry, I'll take pictures... I need them for my guide page.  Gardening season is just about upon us!  I can't wait and hope you can't either.

Ok, I said I was done, but alas, things happen.  I called my brother to find out about that peppery lettuce he grows so I can get some (Territorial is going to think I'm crazy if I call to amend my order again).  While on the phone, he convinced me to get Italienscher (the peppery lettuce) as well as Red Sails (for color and flavor).  If I keep this up, I'll have more variety than a produce department.  Not what I originally planned.  I hope I'm not getting too ambitious.

Anyway, while I was on the phone with him, I bemoned the lack of germination of my lettuce seeds.  He proceeded to do some math for me.  Since I started my seeds in late January (say February 1 for simple math), 55 days would put the lettuce ready to harvest at the end of March.  We could still have frosts during that time that would kill the lettuce if I planted it outside mid-late February.  That's not good lettuce weather.  Oops.  Guess I'm not so concerned if the come up.  He says if they come up I should just set up lights and grow them completely indoors like a green house.  I don't want to do that (yet anyway, you never know what I'll be doing when I've got Judy's experience under my belt).  Live and learn.  Around here, lettuce is planted around April 1 and sown outside.


  1. Hi Rich. I think that you are going to be ok with planting the lettuce outside. I had some that I left outside for several nights that it was below freezing and it did fine. Lettuce will remove the water from it's leaves as the temps start to drop. This keeps the water in the leaves from freezing and damaging the plant. They will look a little "wilty" but then as they restore the water to the plant leaves, they will perk right back up. At first you think you've killed your lettuce and then next thing you know, they are just fine again. I have also read the same thing that someone else posted online about lettuce and freezing temps. I'm not sure at what low temp that it would actually harm the plant..... Our temps had just gone down to around 28 or 29 degrees.

    Glad you got your taters ordered! Can't wait to see your potato bins that you put together this weekend.

  2. I agree with Judy. I started my lettuce outside last year in early march and it did fine. Also I had lettuce that overwintered and it was still good in January and February. I'm not sure where you are but at least in Seattle the temp just doesn't seem to get all that low.