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Archive for the ‘cool season vegetables’ Category

I posted last month on the unusually warm weather we were having up here. I also mentioned that we needed a few nice, wet spring snowstorms since the winter has been kind of dry. Well, I got my wish. Except, it was all in one storm. Two weeks ago we had a snowstorm that dumped about 3 feet or more of wet, heavy spring snow. In some places there is still over a foot of snow on the ground. It’s great for the garden, but not so great when you have to shovel all that wet stuff. And now, today, there is thunder with a 60% chance of rain. It’s definitely spring in Colorado…….if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes and it will change.

I did make it out to the greenhouse to check on the greens I planted 3 weeks ago. I planted some butter lettuce, microgreens, mesclun mix and chard in the containers in the greenhouse. They were just a bit drought stressed, but they seem to be doing well. And some of the peas that I planted outside in the walls o’ water are finally sprouting. They’ve been protected from the coldest temps, which is good. I also have some parsnips seeds/seedlings that held over from last summer and they are starting to grow as well. I can’t tell if the daffodils and lupines are in good shape, they are still covered in snow.

Looks like it will be a couple of weeks before I can do much else out in the garden. I need to wait for the snow to melt, the soil to dry out a bit so I don’t compact it when walking through the garden. Looks like I’ll have time to make some more potato cages and get ready for when I can get out to plant.

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I know it has been quite a while since I have posted anything here, so I figured that an update from the mountain was warranted. I was hoping to plant potatoes this weekend, however, the forecast is calling for a winter storm warning starting about 6 p.m. or so tonight and also forecasting low temps in the 20’s for the next few days. So I am going to hold off planting so my seed potatoes don’t freeze. And I’ll try to get them planted next weekend.

I’m changing things up this year. The past few years I have tried to grow tomatoes outside and last year had decent success for 8600 feet elevation. But this year, I think I will do tomatoes in the greenhouse only and am trying to grow cool season veggies outside. Three weekends ago, I planted pea, broccoli, chives, Chinese cabbage and Chinese mustard seeds in the area previously occupied by tomatoes. I diligently watered and covered them with the frost cloth (supported by the upside down tomato cages) in the hopes they would germinate. The tomato cages are serving dual purposes. The will hopefully support the peas as they climb and they are also supporting the frost cloth so it doesn’t lay on the seeds.

The following weekend I arrived home and discovered the toll the hellatious winds had taken on my frost cloth and tomato cages. All the tomato cages were blown over, the frost cloth laying on the ground and a ground squirrel running for its burrow. Not a good start to the weekend. I was very disillusioned. But as a gardener, never say never. And as my husband says, you can’t rush the season up here.

The same weekend I planted pea, etc. seeds, I also planted parsnip, carrot and beet seeds in three of the tubes that I used last year to grow potatoes. I am also making more cages/tubes for potatoes and other veggies as these seem to work really well, especially if I use chicken wire under the tubes so the ground squirrels and voles can’t tunnel up under and into the tubes to eat the veggies.

Last weekend, I changed out the soaker hoses, replaced some of the hose fittings and started watering again. I left the frost cloth off the seeds since rain was predicted for this week. And, indeed, this week there was a nice bit of rain that watered the seeds and this weekend I see one variety of peas are starting to sprout as well as the Chinese mustard and Chinese cabbage. The garlic that I planted last fall is finally starting to nose up out of the ground. The shoots are about 3-4 inches tall. I’m encouraged!! There is progress in the garden.

I’m also getting the greenhouse ready for the warm season plants. Since the soil temperatures and even the air temps don’t get warm enough for warm season crops, I grow them in the greenhouse. I hope to have a fabulous crop of pepper varieties this year. I want to try my hand at canning salsa this year.

I’m pretty sure I won’t get anything else done in the garden this weekend with the storm coming in, so I will take the opportunity to make some comfort food for dinner tonight. Once I get the potatoes planted, I’ll post an update on the varieties.

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Spring is here, perhaps a little early for our area.  Today the temperature climbed into the 60’s.  This is very unusual for this time of year at this elevation.  The Homeowner’s Association where we live has already instituted a fire ban for the entire Association, and may not lift it until next fall if we do not get any more significant moisture.  All that aside, it is a perfect time to experiment with planting some cool season crops that might do well up here.  We are supposed to get some rain/snow tomorrow evening into Monday, so that will water the seed in since it’s too early to get water into the tank.

So today in the main garden bed, I planted two types of broccoli, Waltham 29 and Calabrese.  The Waltham 29 is considered the standard in open-pollinated broccoli varieties and is supposed to produce 6″ heads on 20″ tall stocky plants.  The Calabrese  variety is know for producing side shoots after the main head is harvested.  In addition to regular broccoli, I planted some broccoli raab or rapini.  This is a traditional italian specialty with much smaller heads and a more distinct flavor than regular broccoli.  I am not sure if these will be critter resistant or not, but as I’ve said before, it’s all an experiment up here.

Also planted were swiss chard, both five color silverbeet and fordhook.  The five color produces stems that are yellow, red, orange, pink and white.  The fordhook variety produces on white stems.  Because cabbage is a cool season crop I planted some pak choi (bok choi) chinese cabbage.  This variety is wonderful in stir frys and adds a lot of flavor to salads if picked young.  In another smaller bed, I planted onion seeds.  These were given to me by a friend and I can’t remember the variety name, but they are yellow onions, suitable for our area.

Yesterday I also planted all the seeds for the warm season vegetables in plug trays in the greenhouse.  These should be ready to plant out in the garden by mid-May or the first of June.  I just have to say that I do love gardening and being outside on a day like today really feels nice.  If you live in an area where you can start planting cool season crops, now is the time to do it.

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