Holding Pattern

April has arrived, and with it we finally have a break in the weather. Old man winter wasn’t quite ready to leave us last week as we got a quick dusting of snow. Thankfully it didn’t last long.

late March snow coming down

late March snow coming down

This week we have daffodils blooming.

April daffodils

April daffodils

And we have bluebirds nesting. Our friend Carla reports hers have 5 eggs already. Ours haven’t laid any eggs yet, but the nest is ready.

bluebird nest is ready for eggs

bluebird nest is ready for eggs

I took advantage of nice weather yesterday to plant kohlrabi and lettuce in one of the cold frame beds. The green pellets in the below photo are Sluggo Plus, which I spread to help control the slugs.

cold frame with lettuce and kohlrabi

cold frame with lettuce and kohlrabi

These plants were started back in February. The kohlrabi variety is Kossak, and it makes nice large edible stems about 90 days after setting out plants. It’s a good keeper too. I did a Saturday Spotlight on it last year, and you can read it here. I spaced these about 10 inches apart to let them get nice and large. I alternated the Kossak between the lettuce plants (Oakleaf, Radichetta and Simpson Elite). I also set out plants for Kolibri and Winner kohlrabi in another bed, which should be ready in about 60 days.

young kohlrabi plant

young kohlrabi plant

Inside the greenhouse, I planted some Asian greens in one of the beds. That’s mizuna in the below photo, and I also set out komatsuna and Yukina Savoy (a tatsoi relative). These quick growers should be ready to start eating in a few weeks.

young Kyoto mizuna plant

young Kyoto mizuna plant

The rest of my planting activities are in a holding pattern, as I wait for the weather and soil temperatures to warm. I have beds prepared for potatoes, cabbage and broccoli, but the soil is still a bit too cold. It was about 45°F yesterday, which is just warm enough to plant potatoes. However I’m still waiting on the arrival of the potatoes I ordered. Last year I planted potatoes on April 6th, so we are not really running behind schedule this year.

soil temperature

soil temperature

The soil needs to be at least 50°F before I set out the broccoli and cabbage, so those plants are hanging out in the greenhouse. Once the soil warms up they will be ready to go in the ground. I rely on soil temperature as well as the calendar when I decide on planting times. Much of the growing activity is going on underground, so it makes sense to keep an eye on the temperature there. You can read more about my planting schedule here.

flat of broccoli plants in greenhouse

flat of broccoli plants in greenhouse

The plants for peppers, tomatoes and eggplant are still inside under fluorescent lights. It will be another month before it’s time to set out any of them. I think they are best left inside for the time being, until they are a bit bigger. I do have a few early types that are sizing up nicely already. I’ll pot them up in larger containers soon, so they can get a nice root system before setting out.

early tomatoes

early tomatoes

That’s a look at what’s happening in the gardening world here at Happy Acres. I hope you enjoyed the update!

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9 Responses to Holding Pattern

  1. Mimzy says:

    You will have Bluebird eggs by the weekend! The greenhouse looks so pretty with the snow falling on it!

    • Dave says:

      I predict we will have an egg before then, Carla. I had to hurry to get a photo of the snow because it was gone later that afternoon!

  2. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    Looking good! What time of day do you take your soil temperature readings? It seems like around here it takes forever for the soil to have a constant temperature in the acceptable ranges.

    • Dave says:

      I generally take the soil temperature sometime around 9-10AM. I’ve seen some recommendations to take it in the morning and again in early evening, and then average the two. This morning the soil temp here was 45°F (at a 4 inch depth). At 2PM it has warmed slightly to 50°F. I’m taking the readings at 4 inches deep for setting out transplants. To determine when to sow seeds, I take the temperature at the depth the seed will be sown.

  3. Daphne says:

    I haven’t even started my cabbage and broccoli yet. I will though. I’m thinking this week sometime.
    Daphne recently posted…Taking StockMy Profile

  4. Spring planting, the most exciting time of the gardening year. I am happy to see Mizuna and Komatsuna in your garden. I grow them too. Lovely greens for soups and stirfrys.
    Lou Murray’s Green World recently posted…Harvest Monday, March 31, 2014My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I have been growing mizuna and komatsuna for several years now. They are quick, easy and tasty – a winning combination!

  5. Sharon says:

    I love that soil thermometer! Where did you find it?
    Sharon recently posted…More Eggs!My Profile

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