If you'll remember, everything I thought I knew about gardening was tested when I realized green beans could be grown in a windowsill. This year is all about trying new things! I started a greenhouse for the first time and had plans to grow everything myself without relying on nurseries for transplants.
Then something horrible happened....
One night, the wind whipped the greenhouse down and ripped open the entire back. I could tape it up, but it already looked pretty trashy without any tape and I decided to go another route.
I placed all the milk carton pots on the ground. At this point, I had already opened the tops on 4 of the containers and they were exposed to all the elements.
The bok choy, rhubarb and sunflowers were champs. They made it through the cold and snow without blinking. They even started to set real leaves. Some of the buckwheat got mushy, some survived. The amaranth kind of fizzled out, the leeks just started to really get growing, and the garlic chives were still MIA.
They went through the cold, the rain/snow, and of course the wind. Then it dawned on me, if they were sitting out in their pots on the ground, they were basically already "out in the garden."
They survived for 3 days out in the pots before I came to this realization. I guess I'm a slow learner...
So today I transplanted all the cold hardy plants into the garden, except the rhubarb and leeks. I am letting them get larger before I interrupt their roots. Then I went wild and planted all my other early plants.
Sugar Snap peas
Super Sugar snap peas (super...)
Buckwheat (from Whole Foods bulk bin)
American Leeks (from seed, the transplants will fill in any that do not come up or may take leading roles in some of my ornamental pots. )
Fordhook Swiss Chard
Dwarf Sunspot Sunflowers
Yukon Gold Potatoes
So everything early is in for 2015!!!
I also transplanted my onion chives to a new home near the blueberries and ramps. I am trying to keep some of my beds in a permaculture state and it didn't make sense for the chives to be alone amid a sea of annuals. The new garlic chives are planted right next to the onion chives. How's that for wild?
The buds on the blueberries are still shut tight, the strawberries are still dormant, and no raspberry suckers or asparagus babies have popped up. But the weather is getting warmer and it's most likely just a matter of time and a good rain before it all gets rolling.
The only pot that is still sealed up (basically, in it's own greenhouse) is my herb pot. The biggest seedlings inside are basil - a very UNhardy plant and they are still going strong.
That gives me hope that I can keep going with the milk carton greenhouses and they will be sufficient to keep my tomatoes, peppers, melons and squash safe and warm when I plant them in the next 2 weeks.
Of course, I could be wrong and all my plants could be spindly or worse....dead by mid-May when it's time to plant my warm season veggies. It's best to find out now when I can still get replacements.
My plan for next year is to build something like this:
I'll place it inside my garden beds and pull them out just as the danger of frost passes. Ideally, I would have built it already to ensure tomato success, but I need help with wood cutting so I have to wait.
Mid-April, I will plant amaranth in the garden. In the "greenhouses," I will plant yellow crookneck squash, butternut squash, polish paste tomatoes, coyote tomatoes, brandywine tomatoes, moneymaker and rutgers tomatoes, siberian tomatoes, marketmore cucumbers, pineapple tomatoes, minnesota midget canteloupe, sweet midget watermelon, king of the north and california wonder peppers
Mid-May, I will plant bachelor buttons, cosmos, bush beans, red scarlet runner beans, marigolds, basil, thyme, cilantro and various other herbs. I will also transplant all the greenhouse seedlings into their garden spots.