Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Planting Seeds for Winter Greens

We've been seed-starting, hopeful for a big crop of beloved greens this fall and winter.
Used the re-purposed spinach box travel SIPs--with spinach box cloche to prompt germination. Upstairs on the second floor they get plenty of south light and the ever-busy autumn squirrels aren't tempted to dig around in them.

We'll grow greens upstairs indoors as in previous years, but also we'll try a low tunnel over the raised bed Art built this spring against the south wall of a building out back. The compost we filled it with had sunk with all our summer rain, so Art scooped out some rough compost to raise the level.
I laid it in and topped it with some bags of mushroom compost.

The Red Giant mustard (via Hudson Valley Seed Library) we seeded in this travel SIP practically sprang forth overnight.

Some of the other seeds germinated spottily.

I went up to the roof to investigate a few of the SIPs we'd let go to seed and found that this Wrinkled Crinkled Crumpled Cress (Wild Garden Seed) had re-seeded itself, so I brought the young starts down to the raised bed to plant, along with some tiny baby bok choy starts.

Still awaiting our collection bag on the roof: lettuces, kale, and collards that have produced copious seed pods.

The seeds started in the travel SIPs have beautifully developed root systems--sub irrigation works.

In the photo below, upper left is a couple rows of Perpetual Spinach Chard (Bountiful Gardens) that I direct seeded. This spinach/chard is my favorite new green tried in 2011. Also direct seeded some upland cress (Victory Seeds--from 3 years ago). Both came up nicely, though a few other seed types did not.

Click to enlarge: tiny plants establishing already, drinking in the cool temps (as are we) and awaiting their tunnel covering later this year. I started a bunch more seeds in travel SIPs (aka portable microgardens--click here to see how to plant) this morning, which I'll transplant in a couple weeks.

Anyone have a recommendation for approach on the tunnel?

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