Let’s talk seedlings. It is possible, in Maine, even when storms still rage, to grow greens under cover. If it’s possible here, it’s got to be possible most everywhere.
A week or so ago, on a warm sunny day (hard to imagine right now, but its true) I laid down some plastic inside my mini-greenhouse. The reason for this is two-fold. One, the greenhouse is not in a great place, we’ve just stored it in the walkway for the winter. I’ll want to move it as things begin to ramp up in the garden beds and I don’t want all of the soil to be strewn in the walkway. I’ll transfer it to a bed or two when the time is right – both the soil and the mini-greenhouse. Having the plastic layer will make this process easier. Two, I wanted an extra layer to cover the seedlings as they grow for those nights that will still get below freezing. They’ll need that double protection of glass and plastic.
After dumping three 50 pound bags of potting soil into the mini-greenhouse, I turned on the hose (it was a warm day remember) and let it run for 5 minutes or so into the soil bed lined with plastic. Some of the soil was still frozen and the water was likewise very cold – not conducive to receiving seeds just yet. I waited a few days for the greenhouse to do it’s job and warm the soil and went back out to check. Warm, moist soil with the thermometer reading 65 degrees on a pretty chilly, windy day. Perfect.
Into the beds in short rows went – radishes, lettuces, chard, spinach and peas (for the shoots). After a fairly dubious week of below freezing temperatures at night, the radishes are brave enough to poke out their lime-green heads. The lettuce and chard will be next and the peas should follow shortly after that.
My next step is to repeat the process with two more beds. That should give us a big jump on greens and hopefully give us something to share on the Riggin in June. No promises though, a lot can happen between now and then!
Working on extending the season