Garden Beginnings

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:

Garden Beginnings

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.

Garden Beginnings

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.

Garden Beginnings

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

Garden Beginnings

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!

Garden Beginnings

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.

Garden Beginnings

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?

Garden Beginnings
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4 thoughts on “Garden Beginnings

  • March 16, 2015 at 8:47 pm
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    This weather is nuts! We’ve been outside for the last few days building our beds and filling them with compost/etc. (we moved last summer, so this is our first garden in the new place). 82 degrees today in Des Moines! I’m happy to see I’m just slightly ahead of you—makes me feel like I’m on the right track, since it warms up here just a little quicker 🙂 I’m starting to get true leaves on broccoli and kale, planted eggplant, pepper and tomato seeds a couple days ago, and have incredible sturdy 8″ tall pea seedlings that will be going in the freshly filled beds tomorrow! Fingers crossed the weather holds!

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    • April 3, 2015 at 11:19 am
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      Sounds like you are definitely on track! I’m grateful for an early/easy spring – even 8″ of heavy, wet snow didn’t bother me (or the garden) last week, because the moisture really made things leap this week when we hit 82 ourselves! Happy spring gardening!

      Reply
  • March 18, 2015 at 9:23 am
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    My kale and broccoli have their first true leaves, and the second ‘staggered’ planting of them have started to come up. My tomatoes are starting to pop out wonderfully, only one variety has yet to say hello – and it sort of worries me, as it’s a disease resistant variety (my tomatoes fell victim to late blight last year), and the entire package of seeds only had about 10 of them lol. So I only have 5 more seeds to try if these don’t come up.

    I tried you ‘surface’ planting for my peppers – and all, except my hot yellow wax peppers have started to root, and hopefully with start growing up and show me their first baby leaves. I threw a few for of the hot wax pepper seeds in each pot – the package said there’s only a 65% germination rate.

    My herbs are having a hard time starting – my parsley came up, but my mint and rosemary have not yet, and it’s been about a week and a half. I remember trying to direct sow them last year, and they never came up either – maybe I have two dud packages of seeds 🙁 My oregano is somewhat coming up – for all the seeds I put in there, it’s got to be only a 10% germination rate.

    The snow keeps melting here – I’m with you for an earlier spring! 🙂

    Reply
    • April 3, 2015 at 11:30 am
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      Sorry you’re having such a hard time with germination with some of your seeds. How often are you watering? Too much or too little can really impact germination rates. Seeds can also be funny like that sometimes. I had a variety of tomato seed last year that just would not germinate, no matter what I tried. I decided to give it one more go this year, threw in like 3 or 4 seeds, and wouldn’t you know it, they all germinated this year.

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