Quick trip to the nursery and a visit to Union Bay Natural Area

The full moon last week, the magical sparkly stars, the universe’s energy making dramatic light shows across our beautiful planet makes me want to become one with the magnificent earth we live on. One small way I can do that is to start digging around in the soil and see what is happening in there. Earth worms are gliding through the soil and making way for plant roots to take hold. Plants are sprouting after sleeping all winter, the cool weather  greens are  growing tall. The compost is almost ready to enrich our early garden beds. On February 26th I decided to plant some seeds indoors under grow lights. The little mustards, kale, collards, mixed gourmet lettuces, romaine and butterhead are all up and looking pretty good. They have sprouted their first true leaves this  week. I have them under 5000 k bulbs with inexpensive reflectors placed close to the tops of the growing seedlings so they won’t get too leggy. Fingers crossed, hope that does the trick.

Mixed lettuces planted February 26th have 1st true leaves

Usually I go to the nursery and buy my first spring garden plants because I haven’t thought ahead to get my seeds started soon enough. Might be the case this year too since I probably should have planted in January to have these little babies ready. In the past couple of years though I have planted more seeds in pots or in small bare areas of the garden to have young plants ready to  replace the vegetables that are harvested from our raised beds throughout the growing season. Fast growing radishes and lettuces need to be planted in succession if you want to eat these treats continually throughout the growing season. It’s all about planning, timing, taking action, paying attention, all things I am not the best at. Happily, I am figuring a few things out. I didn’t do this figuring all by myself, oh no, not most of it anyway. A gardener needs a few gurus to lead the way. Every year I dust off my trusted garden companions and they guide me through the season.

One of my favorite gardening books is “Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew. I stumbled upon the book at the library a long long time ago and it changed everything. I love it because it simplifies  the whole process for me. I had already been gardening a long time before I read the book. I had already used cloches to stretch the gardening season or dry out soil  in the spring so our sugar snap peas could be planted early. The “Square Foot Gardening” book helped me think about how to plant so that I could have a continual harvest. It also helped me think about growing more vegetables vertically. It is simple and concise and when you just need a little guidance and practical advice, this book is fabulous. The book  most valuable to me, focusing on gardening in the Pacific Northwest,  is  Seattle Tilth’s  “The Maritime Northwest Garden Guide”. Yep, it is a wonderful resource for when and what to plant in our area. If you want to get down, dirty and serious the book for you is “Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades” by  Steve Solomon.  I do have the book, I have changed a few of my gardening habits because of it, I’ve learned about some soil pests I had never heard of but the book is more like a bathtub book  to me instead of a quick guide. That means, yes I read it in the bathtub for serious study.  I will probably learn little tidbits here and there, ear mark pages, highlight some useful information and read it over and over for the rest of my gardening years but  it isn’t my  “get the answer quick” book. It’s a bit challenging for me to take in all the knowledge it has to impart. I think it could easily intimidate an eager new  gardener. I feel so guilty saying that. I feel like I have insulted the NW Gardening BIBLE. SO, please forgive me. I am going to be much smarter about gardening after I read it from cover to cover. Today, I am going to get outside, check under the cloche and see how the soil is faring after being covered for three weeks. My guess is that it is dry enough and ready for the sugar snap peas and snow peas to be planted . Oh darn it all, it’s raining again….sigh….

“There’s the sun”……Oh happy day!

NOT TO MISS

*The Seattle Tilth’s Edible Plant Sale for cool weather crops is this Saturday  March 17th at Magnusun Park from 9:00am – 3:00pm

March Edible Plant Sale — Seattle Tilth

* Head’s up from Mike the Mystery Man: Sky Nursery will be hosting the 2012 Spring Fruit Show on March 24th from 10am-3pm

Sky Nursery – Gifts, Featured Products, Special Events

Garden Calendar

Plant: Sugar Snap Peas and Snow Peas

Plant one potato for tradition’s sake on St Patrick’s Day and make a plan to plant the rest of the potatoes near the end of this month

Work on fine tuning the garden plan for 2012

Harvesting:

collards, kale, mustards, daikon radish and various herbs

Richard and his mom Florencia picked and cleaned the coriander seeds from the dried cilantro plants. They are angels I tell ya!

Flo and Richard working hard on picking the coriander seeds from the dried cilantro plants

 

Updates:

Richard widened a flower bed to make room for some crowded thyme, chives and greek oregano. Thank you Richard! You are an amazing “whipper into shaper”. (Really, he is)

I managed to eat a can of sardines, just like I promised. Thanks Gretchen for egging me on.

The little spinach seedlings are holding their own against the nasty Seattle weather

Until next time…..Happy Gardening