Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We're Off And Growing!

That's right, our urban farm is really starting to show signs of growth. And in more ways than one. Let's just say that it was a very busy and active weekend; so much so that it's taken til Tuesday night to find time to write about it! To start with, we headed back to our garden area and found these beautiful green shoots coming up out of the ground.

Those are from the garlic we planted last fall. We planted two varieties, and so far every single clove of Georgian Crystal has some leaves poking up through the mulch. Strangely, not one of the Chesnook Reds has appeared yet, but different types of a plant can have different times to germinate. No need to panic yet, and if nothing else, we're looking at 25 heads of garlic minimum, if we can get them through the growing season. They don't need any maintenance so far, but it won't be too long before they generate long stalks (scapes) that we'll have to trim back. For now, we just wait.

Next we headed over to the cold frame we built, for our cold season crops. It's been a weirdly warm spring so far, so it was over 65 degrees outside when we lifted up a glass pane to check the temperature within.

It might be a little hard to see on the photo, but that's our thermometer reading nearly 100 degrees! It was actually 110 when we first looked, but we lost a little bit of temperature while taking the picture. And honestly, that's fine. 110 degrees is way warmer than we needed for our first few veggies of the year, so we took one of the panes off to vent a little bit. Since it's going to be in the mid-to-high 70s all this week, we'll keep that panel off so we don't cook our seeds. If it were a more typical spring, we'd probably need the glass to capture some heat during the day so things don't freeze overnight.

Even though it's unseasonably warm, we're still starting with cold-hardy crops. It's March in the Midwest; for all we know it could still snow again! For that reason, we stuck with the early season basics in our cold frame.

Spinach, from Burpee, an old packet from the year we first started gardening. Some radishes we nabbed at a bigbox store a few years back. And that guy in the middle is a newcomer. Mache, also known as corn salad, is a supremely hardy salad green that you can supposedly grow well into the winter. Neither of us has ever eaten it before but it really sounded like a good option to try. And we found seeds from Botanical Interests, a neat family owned seed company that prominently refuses to use genetically modified plants. We're eager to see how they turn out.

We planted these seeds into a third of the cold frame box and gave them a good drink of water. The idea is to wait a week or two before planting the next third, and so on for the final portion. If all goes as planned, the harvest times should then be staggered as well, and we'll have a longer window in which to eat all our produce.

So there you have it. We're now up to five types of vegetables that have either sprouted or at least been planted. Garlic, broccoli, spinach, radishes and mache. That sounds like the start to a pretty tasty meal, and it was a good accomplishment for the weekend to get it all going. But believe it or not, that wasn't our main task of the past few days. There was also quite a bit of construction going on. Stay tuned later this week for an update on some pretty significant groundbreaking. Being an urban farmer sure keeps you busy, but it should all be worth it as our plants (and plans) continue to grow!

1 comment:

  1. I have a really good garlic scape pesto recipe if you are looking for something new to try with the scapes.