How is March half over already!? And more importantly, how beautiful was our weather this past week!? We hit 70 degrees this weekend and my resolve finally broke: I started the tomato seeds (I know, I probably jinxed it for all of Minnesota, and I very well may have to bribe all of you next month with heirloom tomato seedlings when we get a big snowstorm and you remember how I pushed our luck).
Even with our unusually warm weather, it’s still too early and too wet to do much outdoors, but this is a great time to give you a quick look at how the garden is taking shape under the lights indoors:
These little White Soul Alpine Strawberries are about the size of a pencil eraser right now and I just can’t get over those little strawberry leaves! So stinkin’ cute! I’ve read conflicting information about the actual hardiness of this variety, so my plan is to grow only a few in-ground this year while keeping the others in a container for easier overwintering indoors until I feel more confident about how they’ll fare in our zone 4b winters.
The other newcomer to the seed starting set up this year is the artichokes. I am just in awe of these silvery-green seedlings! Since they are completely new to me, every slight change feels pretty momentous and it has been really fun to watch them transform over the past few weeks. Artichokes are typically biennial, but here in Minnesota we can grow them as an annual by exposing them to a few cool nights in the spring to trick the plants into thinking they’ve already survived a winter and are due to produce. I’ve talked with other local gardeners who have had success with this variety (Green Globe), so I’m optimistic about my chances.
Meanwhile, the usual suspects are growing along right on schedule.
The peppers are in a variety of stages of growth. Most have germinated, but there are a few still in the “nursery” flat under a germination cover. I’m sure they will germinate in time, but with it feeling more like mid-April than mid-March this past week, I will admit to feeling brief moments of panic of being behind schedule, even though I know I’m not. Seeing the beginnings of some true leaves on the more mature seedlings has helped set my mind at ease
Here’s a first for me: This is two pepper seedlings growing out of the same seed (variety is Ralph Thompson Squash). At first I assumed there must have been two seeds stuck together, but if you follow the stems down, they are both attached to the same radicle (the first root that emerges from the seed). I’m totally curious to see how this unique plant continues to grow!
My favorite part of my daily garden tending routine has become petting the little herb seedlings. Now that they have true leaves, I love how just a light brush over the seedlings releases the scent of lavender, rosemary, and sage. It smells so fresh! I’m thinking that in about another week I will need to pot these up into their own containers.
Just a week ago I posted a photo of some of the brassica babies on Instagram, and now they look completely different. So much has changed in only a week’s time! This kind of instant gratification is good to mix in with some of the slower-growing seedlings this time of year. It helps balance out the patience needed to wait for peppers to germinate and itty bitty strawberries to grow larger.
How is your garden taking shape this month?