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Seedling Time!

March 26, 2012

We’ve sprung forward and enjoyed an equinox. It is definitely spring. (Although it feels like summer.) We’re making use of the warm weather and getting lots of work done in and out of the garden. Seedlings are happily under grow lights indoors, so that when the time is right, we’ll have heirloom plants ready to transplant. This is all in preparation for our CSA, for which you can still sign up. So far, we’ve started parsley, onions, leeks, peppers, eggplants, an early tomato variety, and celery.

Parsley is exceptionally cold tolerant, so it’s a good friend of ours in the spring. When it’s still too cool to plant other crops, we’re harvesting parsley and tossing it into potato soup or sprinkling it on omelets for fresh flavor and iron. So often parsley is dismissed as that awkward green sprig on the side of your entree. Is it decoration; should you eat it? Well, I can’t speak for the common restaurant decoration parsley that is overgrown and flavorless, but I can speak for ours. We enjoy it for its tenderness and willingness to blend its bright fresh flavor with other foods.

Pepper seedlings take patience to grow. Depending on the temperature of the soil, they can take upwards of 21 days to germinate. That’s 3 weeks of watering them, making sure they are warm enough, peeking at them in hope of spotting the first little green stem. That is why we start them so early. We are also enjoying our new homemade heat mats. Pepper seeds like warm temperatures to germinate. This year, instead of 21 days they took 7-9 days!

In a few days we’ll plant our brassicas, a family of plants including broccoli, cabbage, and kale. Brassicas are gorgeous and quick to burst forth from the soil. And then, we start the rest of the tomatoes. I’ll admit that we favor tomatoes above all else. They are just such seductive fruits. So flavorful! And the plants are so productive. Instead of harvesting one venerable head of cabbage for example, we harvest tons of  tomatoes from a single plant over the course of the season.

Here are some photos. (Finally, I know!)

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