I know it snowed and feels like winter again so your gardening ambitions may have waned for the moment, but if you are like me once the first seed is planted the ball gets rolling. I will be planting constantly every week or so from now till Summer Solstice, or of course until I run out of space in the garden, which ever comes first. I find succession planting, as this is termed, is really the best way to a steady supply of garden vegetables and key to moving closer to self-sufficiency of your food supply.
The snow didn’t stop me, nope I actually planted peas directly into the snow the other day, I had started Sunday with the kids and never finished the row due to who knows what, so I needed to finish. I just knew the earth was soft and the snow would melt soon enough so I went for it. Peas and Spinach and even some lettuces will germinate in soils as cool as 45Degrees.( In this post is a chart for optimal Temperature for all vegetable seeds) If it not consistently warm enough for them, they will simply wait, a seed is patient and truly intelligent.
What I find most important is consistent moisture. If a seed gets wet and breaks its seed coat open it needs to have consistent enough moisture to keep on growing up, if not, here in the desert it will in fact dry up and die. Planting right before rain (or snow in my case) is a good way to ensure initial moisture, but then watering frequently and retaining that moisture is key.
When starting out, seeds don’t really like to have to push through heavy layers of mulch, which my garden is covered with in high summer, so I lay a single layer of row cover loosely down over the seeds. This hold in the moisture and I even water directly onto it until the seeds emerge. Nothing like a wet blanket to help seeds get going! This also protect against hungry birdies just waiting for a spring snack. Once the seedlings emerge it must be pulled off as to not smoother the growth.
This time of year everything (except peas) is under double row cover for increased temperatures, moisture retention, bird protection and wind protection. Here you can see how I do my row cover.
I know this is a lot of information and a bit boring for lots of my readers… However if you just can’t get enough, make sure to sign up for my workshop next Sunday, March 6th with Homegrown. We will be talking all things seedy and making potting soil and sowing seeds! Then March 26th I teach again for the Botanical Garden which will be similar but involve lots more transplanting and planting out tips. It would be great if you could take both, as one will lead into the other….just saying.