What Snow?

February 18th – March 18th, 2012 – One-month’s work to get a jump start on the growing season.  With the help of cold frames and some new grow lights we’re thumbing our nose at the typical New England growing season.









This year we abandoned the peat pots (too much moisture hanging around and they didn’t break down as advertised) in favor of plastic flats from our local Agway store.

Sphagnum moss chunks (not the finely milled stuff) is also a new addition to our routine. A half-inch bottom layer of moss soaks up excess water and holds it in reserve so the flats don’t dry out too quickly. And the moist air spaces trapped by the moss promote great root development.

The planting medium was made up of 1 part vermiculite, 2 parts potting soil and 1 part sphagnum moss. This gave us a spongy, friable seedbed that doesn’t easily compact or crust.

(Erik under the grow lights)

Planting Hillbilly Potato Leaf Tomato seeds. We planted 2 or 3 to a hole and thinned the weaker ones out once we could tell which plant was emerging as the strongest.

Basil seeds

A Hillbilly Potato Leaf Tomato plant, basking in the light. We’re extremely pleased with how dense and compact our seedlings are, factors that indicate they’re satisfied by the amount of light they’re getting.

Before we started planting outside we enriched the beds with compost. Here is what our compost came out looking like after spending the winter cooking down. Looks like the worms liked it which I think is a good sign.

This will be our root vegetable bed this year. Dina works in compost and aerates the soil for the carrots and beet seeds.

Surprisingly, these carrots were left over from last season. They were the biggest we have managed to grow yet which always seems to be a struggle for us. Now if we could just do it in less than 8 months this time…

We made labels with a sharpie and a cut up milk container. Not a good idea. The sharpie has already washed off.

A flag, left over from our 2009 planting.



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