Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Coaxing The Brassicas

   What a frustrating Spring this has been for starting brassicas in milk jugs.  I had to plant - and then replant them - 3 times!  Germination rates were fine, but the weather remained too cold to put the jugs outside, and the days were so overcast that not enough sunshine came through the windows for the seedlings.  They ended up leggy and weak.  In 2016 and 2017, I successfully sowed kale and cabbage in late March/early April and had them outside well before now.  This year, the third (re)planting was on April 19th.  The weather was milder this past week, so I started putting the jugs outside during the day and bring them in at night.  Hopefully, the third time was the charm.

   In the jugs:  marigolds, flat-leaf parsley, Dazzling Blue kale, Curly kale, Swiss Chard, Red Express cabbage, Cour di Bue cabbage, Aubervilliers cabbage, Brunswick cabbage, Tronchuda collards, Romanesco cauliflower, and Waltham broccoli.

Milk  jug  "greenhouses"

   The mild weather, while welcome, brought with it rapid melting of a LOT of snow.  Our basement is wet, the sump pump has been getting a workout, and we had water pooling at the north-east corner of the house, flooding the cleanout pipe and washing away (into the sewer pipe, we fear) a bunch of gravel that was packed around the cleanout pipe.  R. dug two shallow trenches from the north garden to the cleanout pipe so the water would be directed there instead of against the foundation of the house.  I am looking forward to the snow being gone and the ground drying, not only so I can get to work on the yard, but so the basement will start drying out.

   Despite a lack of sunny weather these past few weeks, the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants seem to be doing okay (thanks to grow lights).  Even the summer savoury, which I started much too early, is doing well.  Flower buds are forming on some of the marigold transplants.  The basil I planted last week (Fine Verde, a kind that's new to me, but the seed is old) has germinated and seems to be going strong.   Some of the bell pepper seeds finally germinated, but they are as slow as cold molasses to grow.  Another "new to me" item is Gazania.  A friend sent me seeds for my birthday, and I started them last week under a grow light, on a heat mat.  These flowers are pretty and reportedtly love the heat.  I hope I can grow a few sturdy transplants.  I know exactly where to put them. 


Tomatoes in the plant room

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