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March 2013, New England

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  cpl100 on 3/12/2013, 11:33 am

I'm going to go with your experience and plant outside on the date it gave me.

Do you start your lettuce inside or outside? I did not have luck either way last year.

Thanks for responding.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  camprn on 3/12/2013, 11:37 am

@cpl100 wrote:I'm going to go with your experience and plant outside on the date it gave me.

Do you start your lettuce inside or outside? I did not have luck either way last year.

Thanks for responding.
I didn't have good luck with lettuce seed last year and I ended up buying seedlings on sale at HD. which worked out rather well. Spinach got a great start but then bolted because of the spring heat wave.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/12/2013, 11:43 am

I started lettuce in and out and they both did great...until the heat came.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  cpl100 on 3/12/2013, 11:59 am

hmmm.....how much heat are we talking about here? thinking

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  camprn on 3/12/2013, 12:19 pm

@cpl100 wrote:hmmm.....how much heat are we talking about here? thinking
Summer

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  NHGardener on 3/12/2013, 12:26 pm

Quiltbea - If you plant your strawberries around trees, will they get eaten by the wildlife? My strawberries are in my SFG right now, taking up 2 boxes and stretching into a third, but if I plant them outside the fenced area, I'm pretty sure they'd just get eaten, which is okay too.

Got the peas, spinach and celery indoor seeded this weekend. The peas started coming up in one day (or maybe it was 2)! Matter of fact, I saw several peas pushing thru the soil surface and thought - we must not have covered those well enough, and I pushed them back in. That evening I realized they were actually growing. silly me Hope I didn't hurt them.

Ran out of soil starter and will have to get some more - filled 3 trays with one bag. Broccoli, eggplant and lettuce will be next, and after that peppers and tomatoes, so better get some more in the next few days.

I'm trying to at least pop everything I can indoors this year, as I had trouble with germination outdoors last summer, I don't know if living things got to them or what. Except root crops of course, potatoes and carrots are direct seeded. And I think I'll just direct seed beans, not sure. But something made off with every sunflower seed except one last year.

Melting should be fast and furious here with rains expected. I have a feeling spring is going to pounce on us, after this long winter. Have to get materials and make another 4x8 bed as a double-high for carrots and potatoes.

This is so much fun, at least the parts that aren't overwhelming.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  camprn on 3/12/2013, 12:29 pm

@camprn wrote:
@cpl100 wrote:hmmm.....how much heat are we talking about here? thinking
Summer
SO, with this in mind, sow your Swiss chard at the same time as the spinach. When the spinach bolts, the chard will be taking off and is heat tolerant if kept well watered and fed.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  camprn on 3/12/2013, 12:31 pm

@NHGardener wrote:

Got the peas, spinach and celery indoor seeded this weekend. The peas started coming up in one day (or maybe it was 2)! Matter of fact, I saw several peas pushing thru the soil surface and thought - we must not have covered those well enough, and I pushed them back in. That evening I realized they were actually growing. silly me Hope I didn't hurt them.

When I plant peas I always sprout theme before planting as the germination rate is inconsistent. I soak them a day and in another 2 days they are ready to go in the ground.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  NHGardener on 3/12/2013, 12:44 pm

camprn, I take it you don't indoor seed your peas.

How was Iceland? What a Face

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  quiltbea on 3/12/2013, 1:02 pm

Like Camprn.....and you can't go wrong with her information, I always start most things outdoors: peas, spinach, lettuce, greens among them. This year I had cabin fever and needed to start things indoors knowing they could go outside as soon as the snow melted. Hence, my voyage into starting peas, greens and spinach. I figured it they didn't 'take' I'd lose only a few seeds and if it worked, I'd have more meals of greens before its too hot for them.
Right now my peas under lights are reaching for the skies and they need to go outdoors very soon. They germinated in only a couple days as opposed to several days when planted directly outdoors (and 100% germinated). The arugula and the mizuna are sprouting nicely and even the Tyee spinach is popping as is Siberian kale.
Usually at this time the only thing I'd have started indrs is cabbage. Again, they are popping so all is well.
We may have a shorter season than many, but our cole crops (cabbage family) and greens loves our NE weather and does well unless we get an unusual heatwave. We even get a 2nd harvest if we start more in the summer to harvest in the fall, when there are fewer insects about which to worry.
So if you don't start these indrs, don't worry. Start them outdoors when your soil can be worked and enjoy the harvests.
Cabbage, Broccoli, and cauliflower are cool crops that need to be started indoors but for many others, forget it.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  quiltbea on 3/12/2013, 1:13 pm

NHGardener......I never considered the wild life and the strawberries when planning my berries around trees. In my SFG area, I cover my strawberry bed with light-weight row cover against insects and birds. I used netting the first year, and it kept off the birds nicely, but the grasshoppers arrived and they were voracious, hence the the change to light row cover. It works great.

I guess around the base of my fruit trees, I'll have to do the same and use row cover against wildlife and just hope for the best.

Here's my berry bed half and half on a rather frosty morning. I found the row cover works best.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  NHGardener on 3/12/2013, 1:14 pm

If seeding indoors ends up with a successful earlier season and a better grow rate, I'm going to keep doing it every year. We'll see.

I had to replant many things last year, and the lettuce and carrots never did grow. The squash and cucumbers also had problems getting started, whether to cut worms or slugs or whatnot.

I looked into ground covers to warm the soil earlier, particularly black poly, but then you're killing the good micro-organisms too (or at least it seems that way) so I think I'll just use the milk-jug greenhouse method on the vine crops this year. Cutting the bottoms off seems a little like a pain tho.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  quiltbea on 3/12/2013, 2:20 pm

The milk jugs work darn well.

I use them early in the spring for my really warm varieties like squash, zukes, cukes, and melons. Just remember to put the caps back on top for cooler nighttime temps. Remove caps in the morning before it gets too warm. When the plants get big enough and the air is warm enough, remove entirely.
I stick a piece of bamboo stake thru the top and into the soil to hold it in place or the wind will blow it away.
edited to add: Even with jugs on top, cutworm can get your plants. I stick a couple of toothpicks in the ground beside the stems to foil them. They can't curl around your stem and cut it down with the toothpick in the way.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  NHGardener on 3/12/2013, 3:02 pm

Oh right, the toothpicks. I'll have to remember that. Also, I haven't been saving the caps, so I hope they'll be okay.

quiltbea, what did you use to cut the plastic? I imagine it can ruin scissors pretty quickly.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  camprn on 3/12/2013, 3:25 pm

@NHGardener wrote:quiltbea, what did you use to cut the plastic? I imagine it can ruin scissors pretty quickly.
Scissors can be sharpened... the emoticons don't work for me at work... :-(

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  quiltbea on 3/12/2013, 3:28 pm

NH.....I used an old pair of scissors that aren't for paper or cloth or the kitchen, just odd jobs. I plunged one point into the jug, then cut off the bottom.

You can put a piece of plastic wrap over the top held with a rubber band if you've lost the caps. I do. Many times its not going to get very cold at night so the caps won't even be needed. I only use them if its going to drop to around 40F.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  cpl100 on 3/12/2013, 6:12 pm

@quiltbea wrote:The milk jugs work darn well.

I use them early in the spring for my really warm varieties like squash, zukes, cukes, and melons. Just remember to put the caps back on top for cooler nighttime temps. Remove caps in the morning before it gets too warm. When the plants get big enough and the air is warm enough, remove entirely.
I stick a piece of bamboo stake thru the top and into the soil to hold it in place or the wind will blow it away.
edited to add: Even with jugs on top, cutworm can get your plants. I stick a couple of toothpicks in the ground beside the stems to foil them. They can't curl around your stem and cut it down with the toothpick in the way.

This picture confuses me! How is the jug helping the plant when it is beside the plant? Or is there another one in it?

I took the straw off my garlic today. Maybe I put too much on it (?) because there is nothing sprouting underneath. Ever hopeful, I sprinkled it with worm castings since my compost seems not to have composted so I couldn't use it.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  NHGardener on 3/12/2013, 6:17 pm

cpl100 - rofl I'm pretty sure the jug was on top of the baby plants, she just took it off for the photo. (The bottom is cut out)

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  camprn on 3/12/2013, 6:31 pm

@cpl100 wrote:

This picture confuses me! How is the jug helping the plant when it is beside the plant? Or is there another one in it?
An excellent question. The bottom is cut out and the jug goes over the wee plants to keep them warm. As NHG said, she probably just moved it over for the photo.

@cpl100 wrote:I took the straw off my garlic today. Maybe I put too much on it (?) because there is nothing sprouting underneath. Ever hopeful, I sprinkled it with worm castings since my compost seems not to have composted so I couldn't use it.
I cant see my garlic yet either, but I can see the MM that it is planted in. Progress is being made. Very Happy

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  quiltbea on 3/12/2013, 6:56 pm

NHG and Camprn are right. I had to move the jug to take the picture of the baby vines just starting. It went right back over them.

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  cpl100 on 3/12/2013, 7:21 pm

Okay. In my defense I suspected that but did not want to assume.

My MM level seems to have dropped considerably over the winter. Also, although the top of the soil is no longer frozen, the soil starting about 2 inches deep is still frozen solid. (My box is 12" deep.)

I know I can top off the squares that do not have the garlic in them, but I am thinking I cannot do that with the six squares containing garlic (that is, if they sprout and are growing). Is this correct?

How much needs to be 'not frozen' before we can plant our spinach seeds?

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  camprn on 3/12/2013, 7:31 pm

wait until all the mix is free from frost and dryer than mud. Another week or two. We're getting there!
Very Happy

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/14/2013, 10:56 am

Crap! I left my seedlings outside before leaving for work this morning in partly cloudy 40 degrees, and now it's snowing like a bad boy out there.

Do I need to run home and bring them in? Will it be too late?

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Re: March 2013, New England

Post  NHGardener on 3/14/2013, 10:59 am

CC, I probably would, if it's not too much trouble.

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Seedling update

Post  NHGardener on 3/14/2013, 11:05 am

As of this morning, my 3 trays of seedlings. I don't know how to turn off the flash to my camera, it's annoying, can't get a good photo, but here it is.

The closest tray is onions, planted first. 4 different varieties in 4 quadrants, and 2 didn't come up that well, so I reseeded, and a lot are small shoots just poking thru. Under fluorescents.

Middle is peas, those are growing well, no complaints. Under fluorescents.

Furthest is mostly spinach, which is hard to tell from the picture but they are sprouting. Way to the right in the spinach tray is celery but those are not sprouting yet. Under fluorescent, and on heat mat still.



One thing I like about seeding indoors first is if there is a germination problem, you can fix it before they are outside taking up precious growing season time. So if you need to re-seed, you have extra time to do it. I see gaps in my peas where I will need to replant a few, etc.

Also for next year, and I was warned about this but can only focus on so many things at one time, poking holes in the bottom of the seed trays for drainage. I would have done this but didn't know what exactly to use as a catch under the tray. For next year I'll buy another set of trays and put a spacer - whatever junk I have lying around, small blocks of some kind - between the seedling tray and the catch tray. I agonize over whether there is too much water in the seedling tray and whether it will rot the plants.

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Re: March 2013, New England

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