First Sign of Spring

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The first sign of spring in the garden is chives.  The little onion flavored greens are starting to poke up through the soil.  They are always the first thing to come back after winter. I have a whole raised bed planted with chives.  I plan to divide some this year and move some up to my front yard flower garden.  I am slowly sneaking edible plants into our flower garden.

Chives are a large component of my garden herb mix and I also use them on most pizzas like potato pizza.   They do seem to lose flavor when dried so this year I will try experimenting with freezing it.

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Inside I have four 72 cell trays of seedlings starting to come alive. The trays are next to a window. Hanging over them are 2 shop lights with daylight bulbs. I have seedlings started for Kale, Swiss Chard, Cucumbers, Corn, Broccoli, Zucchini, and Bhut Jolokia (ghost) peppers.  I am a little behind on my seedlings and I have not acquired or started the Mexican Sour Gherkins that I had wanted too.

So far the Kale is outgrowing everything else after about 10 days.  I will start thinning them to 1 per cell this weekend.

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The Swiss Chard is only about 50% sprouting now and I am hoping there isn’t an issue.   I am hoping this 72 cell tray will take care of the bulk of my chard needs but I am planning to both purchase seedlings from greenhouse and direct seed more plants.  I got a significantly higher yield off my chard plants that came from greenhouse last year which I attribute to being started in the optimal conditions of a heated greenhouse along with being cared for by professionals.  The seeds I start are cared for by a complete amateur under wobbly lights in my basement!

The Broccoli, Cukes, and Zukes all appear to be sprouting and should be fine.  The corn looks spotty and I am using year old seed in an attempt to minimize seed purchases.  None of the Ghost Peppers have sprouted but last year it took over two weeks before I saw any sprout and even then only half did.  I just need one of those plants to make it since insanely hot pepper are not a staple of our family diet.  I use them to make a “Ghost Pepper pizza sauce” with tomatoes that I think is awesome but I wouldn’t dare feed to Em or the little maniacs.  Cooking the peppers down for a couple hours in sauce takes away the majority of the insanity and leaves a great spicy taste.

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The title of my next few weekends will be “Get off butt and start preparing the garden.”  Last fall I combined early snow + laziness to create a lot more work for me this spring.

In other terrible news…

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While home for lunch one day last week, I looked out my window to see this little guy.  No doubt the offspring of my arch-nemesis from 2014.  Words don’t describe how much damage groundhogs do to gardens.  I lost 2 broccoli planting (36 plants), and all my cabbage plantings to them last year.  I have to work on a game plan to rid the area of this thing before I start planting this year.

Lots of work to do but the snow is gone and our spirits are lifting so we are looking forward to it!

 

Jeff McIntosh

About Jeff McIntosh

Jeff's family lives in his childhood home on a 1/4 acre in town lot. Despite the small space to work with, they have challenged ourselves to produce as much of our own food as possible — and cook it! They document their journey at Blogging with Apples.