Michael’s Garden Blog – Cool Season Crops

Starts Currently Available at Agua Fria Nursery.

Starts Currently Available at Agua Fria Nursery.

If your ground doesn’t remain in frozen clumps when you turn it over, you can get all manner of cool season crops growing via seeds any time now. My general practice is to interplant greens and radish with the garlic (which was planted in November and whose shoots have already begun to show). The greens and radish will have completed their production before the garlic is ready for harvesting in late June; and the bed can then be readied with a hefty addition of compost for the subsequent planting of warmer season crops.

Due to a most unusual freeze earlier in February of a few days hovering near record -20 degrees, I lost some of the smaller, more fragile lettuces that had made it through earlier cold spells. So, yesterday (February 26th ), after harvesting a small family meal of mixed greens, I filled in my winter cold frame with additional lettuce seeds and some snap peas along the south wall of my shed. Peas love cool weather and will produce longer if they get a good start as early as you can manage in the spring.   On the winter cold frame I have sun-penetrating sheeting protection on at this time of the year, allowing a higher temperature inside the cover, which induces germination much quicker than without it.  When the days warm a bit more, it will be time to leave the covering open (take off the extra protection) for those cool weather plants.   Warm warm weather plants will get the extra covering and care when getting into the ground in the first half of May.


March Tip-of-the-Month

When starting seeds in small containers or flats, be semi-frugal with them for the following reasons:

  1. In the case of tomatoes, peppers and others, only one sprout can be allowed to develop within a several square inch area. If your seeds are new with a high germination rate, more than two seeds in that area could be judged exceeding semi-frugality.
  2. Avoid the angst when having to pull out and discard those sprouts.
  3. Seeds cost money. If you don’t have other gardener friends to share with during the current season, most seeds will still be viable for some years past the year for which they were packed, albeit with lower germination rates. Protect seeds by preventing contact with moisture or allowing critters access to the seed box.