Wednesday, March 26, 2008

March 26, 2008

Wow, and I thought I had nothing to post about tonight.  Work was hellish. I've been hitting a wall about 2 or 3 in the afternoon (8 hours into my long day), probably because I've never been a morning person, but to spend time with my family, I'll do anything, including getting up at 5 to start my 10 hour day.  Ok, enough about my day.

I've been checking the weather forecast a lot lately because we've been having a cold snap.  Mother Nature telling us that Spring doesn't mean spring quite yet.  I was just sitting down to check the boards and my brother calls. It's SNOWING a mile from my house.  Now I haven't checked outside since he called, but I don't think it's snowing here... yet.  According to the news, for a change, the snow is falling south of Seattle, not north.  Odd.  The southend of Puget Sound got 2-3 inches of snow!  Yikes.  Thank goodness since my wife's still out.

Thank goodness Judy and others have said my cool weather crops can handle mild freezes, and since it's getting to almost 50 during the day, any snow accumulation (at most an inch) will be gone by noon, providing more water for my beds that are getting quite a bit lately.  I stopped watering when I found the dry top inch or so was a brief respite from the spring rains.  I think the beds may be getting a bit too much water. One cauliflower seedling is yellowing a bit but I can always replant if necessary. 

In fact, I may start some seedlings indoors and plant them immediately when they get some leaves.  That way I won't care if they would have gotten leggy, they'll be transplanted.  My seeds aren't germinating well in the beds and cauliflower germinates in about 5 days inside on the fridge. 

After I read that 4 broccoli plants was enough for 3 adults for a season (on GardenWeb), I began to rethink growing 8 of each plant for little old me (I can't guaranty my kids will like either since I didn't as a child).  I'm kinda trying to find more space for lettuce since I miscalculated the square footage in my tomato bed. 

Anyway, I figure if I have maybe one viable seedling of each out there, and two seeds that may or may not start, I'll grow one of each inside and transplant it outside every two weeks.  If I have too much, maybe I can try Alton Brown's method of quick freezing some of it for the winter.  If it works for blueberries, why wouldn't it work for broccoli.  Birdseye does it.

So as you can see above (sorry for the blurry pics, my wife's out on a girl's night out with her nice camera phone), I planted two peat pots. Full this time, with Mel's Mix with Miracle Gro potting soil mixed in with the compost, I didn't like the look of the peat pots sticking out of the bed with my spinach... (sure hope the peat pot tops break down soon)

I digress, hehe, so I planted one peat pot (I'm still chicken to try out the peat pucks I bought to mimic Judy) with a seed of each and marked it so I don't plant them in the wrong place.  It actually took two attempts because I spilled a bunch of dirt out by accident when I was watering the seeds in and couldn't be sure if the seed was lost too, so I dumped the dirt and started from scratch. 

That's enough for tonight, and thanks Jen for stopping by and posting... You really are my muse, in more ways than one. You've got an amazing voice and incredible yard!


  1. LOL Sinfonian -- you've got to try out those peat pellets!! You're going to love them!

  2. Cold snap indeed. Although, every year it's the same thing. Virtually every day in March is well below the so-called average in the PNW. Expect frosts Saturday-Wednesday, as daytime temperatures rise, night time temperatures fall. I don't know what's worse, 48 degrees, cold and rainy all day and all night, or 58 in the day and 28 at night. It's supposed to be 58 degrees next week and my wife thinks it's a miraculous warming trend. Well... 58 degrees is the *average* for that day, yet we've come to believe those sorts of temperatures are heat waves.

  3. Sin, you need a farmers almanac, even when it's wrong it gives you peace of mind to do your planning based on it. Trust me, I have been reading the one for my Zone and its surprisingly regularly pretty close to on target. Besides when I am at work and I leave it at my desk, it gives me a chance to say something about gardening which just the thought of makes a miserable day a bit more tolerable.

    I hope you put a hoop house on it right away, I think you may be in some serious trouble. Did you harden those plants before you put them out? You should probably start germinating a bumper crop with kids after supper. Cold hardy plants can get shocked too. I think that without a hoop house you could be in series trouble. If the little lambs make it, they will be super strong and good candidates for seed saving though. You need the hoop house on them.

  4. Hi Sin
    Periodically I come over and check your blog. Listen tear the tops of those peat pots off, eventually they will wick water and nutrients away from your plants. I hope you removed the bottoms of them before you planted them too. Hope all is well and that the cold weather subsides for you soon. Here on Long Island we are still very cool, but it is only the end of March, :-) and the warmer weather will be coming. And yes, you can certainly freeze broccoli, just blanch it first, then into an ice bath, dry as well as you can and freeze it.

  5. GardenGirl, I'll look into the Farmer's Almanac. I know my Aunt's had one before.

    Hmm, I was holding off on the hoop house. Maybe I should. The lows per Yahoo Weather from Saturday to Monday go 30...28...31 with rain/snow showers expected. Insane weather for March. The worst I recall was a few years ago when we had snow on my birthday (5th).

    As for hardening the plants, the broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and onions were all set outside in the winter sun, rain and dark to harden, but the rest were direct sown. What I don't quite understand is how what I'm doing is particularly different from winter sowing, other than the silly containers? Seeds are supposed to know how to take care of themselves.

    That said, it wouldn't hurt to set up my hoophouse sooner rather than later. Problem is that I hadn't planned on doing all my beds as hoophouses. Maybe I'll use my remaining coldframes on the other beds and do my second largest bed with a hoophouse.

    I'll be starting seedlings in the ones and twos for the time being to succession plant. That may change when the weather improves and germination from direct sowing hastens. /shrug

    Alberta, I will cut away the tops of the peat pots to the half-burried peat pots to ground level. I hadn't thought of it wicking water and nutrients away from the soil. As for the cold snap, I don't recall it being this bad in recent memory, but then I wasn't gardening so it didn't bother me enough to remember.

    As for freezing the broccoli, I will do that. I'll have to research blanching, I think that's boiling for 30 seconds or something, but it'll be easy to find.

    Thanks for all the advice. Now to write my exciting post for today!

  6. You know, now that you mentioned it, and I look at that picture with the peat pots sticking out of the soil again... those supposed "spinach" sprouts do look an awful lot like onions. :) My spinach looks like the two you direct sowed.

    Were they green onions, or were they real onions?

  7. They're Guardsman Onions from Territorial. It's my understanding that green onions are just immature onions. Either way, they're going to be picked as green onions.

    I just hope they don't hurt my spinach. Grrr, stupid me.