First Spring Planting

The weather today, Holy Saturday, got up to almost 60, so I was able to get the first planting in. I planted the following in the new bed I built last summer:

Corn Salad, Mache-Verte D’Etampes
Easter Egg Radishes
Lettuce Lollo Rossa
Blue Curled Scotch Kale
Spring Raab

Hopefully, we can get some early spring greens this year. I raked around last year’s  Dwarf Blue Kale and Swiss Chard in the same bed and they both had a few green sprouts showing. We’ll see if they come back.

Horseradish (Maybe)

The weather warmed up a bit today after a long and cold March, so I made an attempt to get out at least a few horseradish roots so I could make a small batch of my traditional Easter horseradish.

The south end of the patch was still somewhat frozen, which isn’t surprising as most of it was under snow just a couple of days ago, but the part closer to the walk was soft. They were hard to find as the leaves were just beginning to sprout, and digging in the wet ground wasn’t pleasant. I managed to get about 6 nice roots out.

Between that and the large root I bought at Heinen’s, I was able to make 5 large jars and 7 or 8 small ones. If I have time, I might do another batch after the ground warms up.

Seed Ordering Time

Last year we ate St. Patrick’s day dinner on the deck, but not his year. It’s only warming up into the 30’s and piles of snow still remain. There is no warmup in sight, but hope still springs eternal.

I bought a new book by Niki Jabbour last week, The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener. Niki lives near Halifax, Nova Scotia and hosts a weekend gardening radio show there. Nova Scotia is a peninsula that extends from the south of Canada into the Atlantic and Halifax is really only a few hundred miles north of Chicago, so the growing seasons are similar.

Her book talks about methods that she and others have developed to get year-round yields from the garden by proper choice of plant varieties, cold-frames, mulches and other coverings. Based on my good results with Kale this year, I’m really encouraged and interested in increasing the harvesting season. This book explains the whole method.

So, based on information from the book, I’ve ordered my seeds for the year that will supplement the plants that I buy at the nursery and set out in the spring. Here’s the list so I don’t forget next year.

Terroir Seeds LLC – Underwood Gardens

  • Cucamelon/Mouse Melon – Miniature Cucumber
  • Summertime Lettuce
  • Evergreen Bunching Onion
  • True Lemon Cucumber

Johnny’s Selected Seeds

  • Fortex Pole Beans
  • Provider Bush Beans
  • Toscano Lacinato Kale
  • Magda Lebanese Summer Squash
  • Waltham Butternut Squash
  • Easter Egg Radishes
  • D’Avignon Long French Radish
  • Winter Density Bibb Lettuce
  • Spring Raab
  • Champion Collards
  • Altor Asian Greens
  • Mei Qing Pac Choi
  • Genovese Basil

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

  • Red Wonder Wild Strawberry
  • Strawberry Spinach
  • Perpetual Spinach
  • Pepper Cress
  • Arugula
  • Mache-Verte a Couer Plein 2 – Corn Salad
  • Mache-Verte D’Etampes – Corn Salad
  • Costata Romanesco Zucchini
  • Blue Curled Scotch Kale
  • Russian Red Kale
  • Lollo Rossa Lettuce
  • Japanese Giant Red Mustard

This is quite an ambitious list of vegetables,  but I’ll be planting less of each variety, planting some only for fall crops and inter-planting the spring vegetables between other later maturing crops. We’ll see how it works out.

I need to build a cold frame for the fall and possibly cover one of the raised beds to jump-start the tomatoes and peppers.