Tuesday, February 22, 2011


My neighbors saw the grow light in the window the other night and wondered if I was into some kind of illegal activity. Nope, just growing tomatoes, said I. I keep the grow light on from 5 p.m. to midnight and the seedlings are in the sunshine by the window most of the day. All of the seedlings are doing great and the tomatoes are starting to look like real tomato plants. A couple times a day I ruffle the tomato plants so that they develop strong stems.   I noticed a big difference in just a few days. The other day I transplanted all of the 2/1 tomatoes into larger trays. That should do it for them until they go into a big pot and are put out in the hoophouse. The peppers are growing slowly and are not as showy as the other seedlings. Maybe they need to sit on the heat mat for a while. The Swiss Chard and broccoli are growing and should be ready for the hoophouse as soon as it warms up a bit out there. The weather is definitely warming up if you track the temperatures, but the locals keep complaining about the long, cold winter. Almost feels like spring to me! Most of the daytime temps will be in the 40s this week. That being said, we got 2" of snow last night and another 2" the night before, but it is melting quickly. The creek has been running pretty good with all the run-off. We had a lull in the weather and much of the snow had melted so I felt it was time to deal with the winter rye. That stuff is great for the soil, but hard to kill off when you want to put in your garden. Last year I covered it with paper bags (recycled from the grocery store) and with a few inches of top soil, and in a few weeks it was ready to plant. So that is what I did this year. The day after I was done, we had 2 days of 50-60 mph winds and I was expecting the bags to be blown all over the neighborhood. But happily, everything stayed in place and the garden should be ready within a few weeks.

The other day I planted some bulbs that my son Michael brought me from the Netherlands. He gave them to me at Christmas but the ground was frozen and I felt that I had missed my window of opportunity. But I kept them in the garage and when I peeked into the bag the other day, they were sprouting. Now what do I do? Well, I brought the deck boxes into the house to defrost and when they had warmed for a day or so, I planted all of the bulbs into the soft soil. This actually will probablyw ork out really well because the deer around here love tulips and would eat every single one, whereas they will be safe on the deck. It will be a pretty Easter this year with four boxes full of spring blooms. Maybe I'll transfer them all into a big pot on the deck so that every year we have a spring display. I never really got into forcing bulbs, but this may be a new gardening experience for me!

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