It seems that I have been planting forever. And in some ways, I have.
My hoophouse – a passive solar greenhouse with no supplemental heat – allows me to grow food year-round. In fact, some of the greens you see near those wicker tipis are from plantings made last fall that I harvested throughout the winter.
I have been planting seeds and transplants beginning in March, and much to my surprise, even with a 26′ by 36′ hoophouse, I still ran out of room. (My husband has offered to spade up a section alongside the hoophouse where I can plant the extra cabbage and tomato transplants that just wouldn’t fit.)
This year’s plantings so far include: kale, various lettuces, onions, garlic, potatoes (including exotics and some great little fingerlings gifted to me by my neighbor), tomatoes, cucumbers, six kinds of squash, green peppers, colored peppers, tomatilloes, pak choi, green beans, carrots, parsnips, salsify, watermelons, eggplant, brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and chard.
I also learned how hard it is to know for sure when to plant the warm weather plants. I knew the greens will survive almost any cold snap in great shape, but I found myself holding off on transplanting the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers because of concerns about how low the temperature might go. I finally took the plunge about two weeks ago, using white plastic floating row covers to provide some extra protection on frosty nights. I also painted some empty milk jugs black and filled them with water, so they would absorb the sun’s heat during the day and radiate it back at night.For the second year in a row, my feeble attempts to label my seedlings failed miserably, so there will be some surprises (is that cabbage or brussel sprouts? heirloom tomatoes or old standards?). So I think of this as my art garden – I am painting with plants, not knowing what will look like when they mature.
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