It’s Seed Starting Time Again

Yesterday I kicked off the 2016 seed starting season. I sowed seeds for early plantings of arugula, lettuce, parsley, cilantro, mizspoona and kale. I’ll be starting more seeds as soon as the new seed orders arrive, but yesterday I was able to use leftover seeds and get some things going.

128 cell plug flat filled with Pro-Mix

128 cell plug flat filled with Pro-Mix

I am a fan of using plug flats for most of my seed starting activities. I have them with several sizes of cells, and I have found they help me conserve space under the grow lights and let me grow a large number of young plants that way. Yesterday I used one with 128 cells which is a good size for salad greens and herbs. I got all my plug flats from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and they usually last me for four or five seasons of heavy use before I have to replace them. I’m using Pro-Mix potting soil as the growing medium.

128 cell plug flat showing size

128 cell plug flat showing size

Since parsley usually takes a longer time to germinate (sometime up to two weeks), I sowed those seeds separately in 3.5 inch plastic pots. Then I covered with plastic film to help keep the soil moist until germination. I will remove it once the seeds are up and growing, and eventually transplant the seedlings into individual pots.

container for parsley seeds

container for parsley seeds

Back in 2013 I covered the basics of seed starting in my Seed Starting 101. And last year I shared a look at my indoor Seed Starting Setup. For the general timetable I follow every year check out my Seed Starting and Planting Schedule. I’ll be back with more updates on my seed starting activities as they happen.

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Harvest Monday February 1, 2016

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. And let me say thanks again to Michelle for hosting while I took a month off from HM. After a warm start to the year, winter finally arrived here with cold temperatures and a bit of snow. For me, cold weather is soup weather, and last week I made a batch of minestrone using some of our stores of veggies. Every year I freeze bags of mixed vegetables for use in soup. The contents vary, but usually always contain some form of summer squash and snap beans, along with added carrots, onions or cabbage. To the frozen veggie mix I added our frozen tomatoes and homemade tomato sauce, plus carrots and celery from the grocery. I also added some of our Jacob’s Cattle beans for protein, and a little homemade broth for a base.

minestrone soup with garden veggies

minestrone soup with garden veggies

People often ask what I do with frozen squash and soup is always one of my answers. In the above photo, I can tell by the color and stripes that it is Striata d’Italia, one zucchini that is usually prolific in my garden. It looks like a Gold Marie bean next to it. Of course, a bowl of soup almost begs to have good bread to go along with it. My go-to recipe these days is a sourdough bread inspired by the book 52 Loaves: One Man’s Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust by William Alexander. It makes for a tasty and crusty bread that my wife and I both enjoy eating.

Baguettes à l’Ancienne

Baguettes à l’Ancienne

I am happy to be getting a few fresh harvests this time of year. It might be small in weight, but the fall planted cilantro in the greenhouse is big on flavor. I made some cilantro pesto with it last week, adding a little of our Red Russian garlic plus olive oil and a few macadamia nuts.

fresh cilantro from the greenhouse

fresh cilantro from the greenhouse

Another fresh harvest was a mix of arugula and spinach from the cold frames and greenhouse. The spinach in the cold frame bed is oblivious to the cold weather, and while it isn’t growing much it isn’t hurting either. I have more planted in the greenhouse that isn’t quite ready to harvest yet.

spinach and arugula for pizza

spinach and arugula for pizza

The spinach and arugula went on a pizza I made one night last week. I made the crust from fresh milled White Sonora wheat flour, which is my current favorite for flat breads since it is so easy to roll out. The pizza also featured some of our dehydrated tomatoes, along with mushrooms and some pickled peppers.

pizza on homemade White Sonora crust

pizza on homemade White Sonora crust

We continue to enjoy the fermented veggies I made last fall from cabbage, kohlrabi and turnips. They keep for a long time in the refrigerator, at least until we eat them up! I baked up a loaf of Light Rye Sandwich Bread last week and made meatless Reuben sandwiches using some of the cabbage kraut and Muenster cheese. This is still one of my favorite ways to enjoy the homemade krauts.

meatless Reuben with homemade kraut

meatless Reuben with homemade kraut

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!



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