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Winter/Spring Overlap

February 16, 2015
Rainbow Lacinato

Rainbow Lacinato

While most of the country is experiencing record cold, we’re sitting pretty high and dry and warm.  Not good for summer time water worries, but you can’t really do much about the weather anyway except go with the flow.


So while cats and cows nap, we started seeding a little bit in anticipation of the greenhouse soil drying out enough to begin gardening in earnest.

Our palates are numb from kale and other hardy greens.  Not complaining, just stating the facts.

I’ve learned over the years it doesn’t pay to be in too much of a hurry, I used to use grow lights and start my seeds inside to get a jump on things…only to find out that I got a jump on the plants, but the weather didn’t always cooperate.  Tender plants raised inside thrown to the wolves in the garden or even the unheated greenhouse usually ended in disappointment.


Looking back over my notes, last year I first seeded on February 23, so I’ve maybe gained a week this year.

Garden Notes:
2/14/15  Greenhouse plastic ON!


Winnow leek seeds (Bandit)
Joi Choi
Ruby Ball
Parris Island Cos
Little Gem
Flashy Green Butter Oak
Red Salad Bowl
Bau Sin

I don’t want to get my hopes up that this weather will hold, but we’re on our way to spring.  T-shirt weather during February confirms that!


37 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2015 10:42 am

    I wish it was warm here…we are experiencing the coldest day in years. It was 0 on my husband’s thermometer this morning. Snow tonight. BAH! Enjoy planting. I’ve been winter sowing a few seeds here and there. Seeing the containers out in the barren garden gives me hope!

  2. February 16, 2015 11:04 am

    re: the cow picture–How many animals do you have bedding down in the shed and how many bales of straw/day do you use?


  3. February 16, 2015 11:21 am

    I’m getting antsy with all this sun. Was 27 this morning at the new place though. Trying to get some tilling done this week too I think…

    • February 16, 2015 12:08 pm

      I know, it’s still pretty wet here and it’s been right at 34 each morning…cool moonrises though 😉 Still feels like winter until about 11 am and then we’re sweating :p No tilling for a while here 😦

      New place…I like the sound of that.

      • February 16, 2015 12:21 pm

        Ha. Yes, sounds good, but it’s a bit overwhelming at this point. Really overwhelming actually! My goal is 3 hoophouses up in 3 weeks, we’ll see. Very well drained loam where we’re at now, so I’m hoping to get that old sod broken and get it decomposing. Unfortunately I’m dependent on friends’ tractors at this point. At least we could get the hoophouse spots tilled to get planting in there soon.

  4. deb permalink
    February 16, 2015 11:22 am

    Ah, it is good to see somebody getting started, even if it is way too early here. I will vicariously enjoy your early starts. Today, I found the cold frames. Meaning they were buried under so much snow it took some doing to even figure out where they were, and i dug them out. Now maybe with sun on them, it will thaw enough inside in the next month to seed some early stuff….. keep posting those pictures! Good to see green!

    • February 16, 2015 12:08 pm

      I feel a little guilty posting pictures!

      • deb permalink
        February 16, 2015 12:40 pm

        Oh and I see we use several of the same seed companies! 😊
        4-5 fifty pound bales/day. I hope straw is cheaper where you are! Yikes!

        • February 16, 2015 12:54 pm

          Much cheaper than any other carbon we can get our hands on. Shavings used to be free or affordable anyway 😦 Not anymore.

  5. February 16, 2015 4:31 pm

    I’m jealous, looking out on squeaky snow at 2 degrees. Had a high of 7 today. Balmy. I see packets from…Fedco & Johnny’s, I think. Is that Pinetree? We shop the same shops and my response is almost pavlovian. I want some dirt beneath my nails–I expect my Fedco package tomorrow, and I’ll get the onions and leeks started, at least, down in the basement.

    • February 16, 2015 4:38 pm

      I don’t know how you guys do it! I’m a weather wimp 🙂

      Looks like Fedco, Territorial, Johnny’s and Seeds of Italy.

  6. Karen permalink
    February 16, 2015 7:53 pm

    Do you have a certain way you like to store your seeds?

  7. Bee permalink
    February 16, 2015 8:40 pm

    Yep, did the green onions, potatoes and peas today with the small fry “helping.” Tomorrow it’s transplant some lettuce, seed some more and plant more peas and potatoes, plus radishes, carrots, chard and spinach. And then, of course, there’s the @#$$&$%^ weeding, now that it’s starting to warm up.

    • February 16, 2015 8:57 pm

      If only the weeds didn’t grow faster than the veggies! We’re sure enjoying this weather 🙂

      • Bee permalink
        February 17, 2015 7:55 am

        Yeah, how come nobody wants to add one of those weed-growing genes to make the veggies grow faster instead of making them Round-Up resistant? Oh well, the less gene tinkering the better; too many Franbekenfoods out there already…

        • February 17, 2015 8:31 am

          Yes, I often think that about the raspberries compared to the Himalayan blackberries, if only …

  8. February 17, 2015 6:20 am

    First year to start seeds in our hoophouse, exciting! But t-shirt weather in February?!!! Dreaming of lettuce…

  9. Devon permalink
    February 17, 2015 6:06 pm

    What kind of trays do you use to start seeds? I’ve been scavenging 4 inch pots but that is taking up too much room. I’m thinking of investing in something uniform and smaller.

  10. Jessica permalink
    February 18, 2015 7:58 am

    For three years in a row, our seedlings have died. I am sad and dejected and I’m going to buy starts this year. Next year though, we’re building a greenhouse.

    • February 18, 2015 9:36 am

      Jessica, bottom heat really helps much more than total heat in a room. You’ll get through this season and be off and running next season I bet!

  11. February 18, 2015 9:38 am

    I’m surprised that your seed storage looks exactly like mine! Lol maybe that means I’ll be as good at gardening as you one day 🙂 Except my seeds all fit in one shoebox.

    This year I found out for sure that the garden never stops in TX. I overwintered cabbages, lettuces, mizunas, garlic, and perennial onions. My cabbages are January Kings, planted in November. They are quite big, but still not really heading up. Not sure what triggers heading…day length? If that’s the case, I may be too far south. I planted the new spring crop of greens 2 weeks ago and roots this week. Hopefully the beets and carrots come up in this rain. I don’t water anything in winter because 1. it’s cold and I’m a wimp, and 2. I have a lot of clay…it doesn’t even have to rain as long as it’s not hot out, the soil will still be wet. I like to grow plants that I can neglect (though getting seeds to sprout under this style of “management” is kind of difficult…)

    • February 18, 2015 10:41 am

      Sounds yummy! We lost a lot of winter veggies in early November 😦 Then it got warm again! If it gets too warm, JK may not form a head and bolt instead, but I’d wait it out and see, sometimes it takes 200 days for it to form a head. So different than the quick hybrids I plant, but well worth the wait.

      LOL seed storage! It stays organized for a bit…and then becomes a mess until winter.

      • February 18, 2015 3:11 pm

        It was pretty darn warm in the first week of Feb and pleasant for nearly all of Jan, but now it’s cold again. The cabbages look and feel like they want to make heads, but right now it’s just a wad of leaves, not a tight head. I think I’ll try a hybrid next time that’s pretty and purplish like JK, because at this rate it will be hot by the time the cabbages are ready if they don’t do something soon!

        We had the earliest hard frost in all of my memory in November this year, but my little carrots and beets made it just fine with just a thin piece of reemay type fabric on them. No fun about your winter veggies…How cold did it get up there in Nov? For us it was down to 26 or so. Other than that cold snap, it’s been warm enough to overwinter lettuce with no protection. I usually can’t do that.

        • February 18, 2015 4:35 pm

          Try DeadonF1 it’s about 100 days or so and it looks the same. It’s one of those that you have to grow just because it’s so pretty in the winter garden 😉 It tastes good though too.

          We had a week of cold down into the teens, the lowest night was 12F, which surprised me enough that I did lose some dahlias because I thought they were safe 😦 It’s hard to get an accurate prediction for our microclimate, Portland calls us an “outlying area”…and when they predict for our town it usually has something to do with the high winds that blow just over the ridge and don’t reach us. I have to subtract 10 degrees usually from the forecast or add and inch of rain and that’s usually about right.

  12. February 19, 2015 6:50 pm

    Thanks, that is one I’ve been eyeing. I’ll try it next fall.

  13. February 19, 2015 8:59 pm

    The only plant I have good luck with starting early is peppers, which is weird. But if I start them too late they don’t flower soon enough to set much fruit. Aiming to make a hoarde of homemade sriracha again this summer, as well as freeze a bunch for winter breakfast scrambles. JEALOUS of your warmth there lady, the picture of the maxin’ and realxin’ cat felt like a laugh to me!

    • February 19, 2015 9:26 pm

      I did not make enough sriracha 😦 I’m hoarding it now! I hope your weather moderates soon, I can’t even imagine.

  14. HEather permalink
    February 20, 2015 2:43 pm

    do you buy your own potting soil? Anything specific?

    And what peppers do you guys grow for sriracha?

    • February 20, 2015 2:54 pm

      Heather, I do, Black Gold is the easiest to find around here, but you might have a good local one too.
      This plus a small scoop of organic fertilizer added:

      I just grew jalapenos and padrons last year for my hot peppers, both are really productive and it (Sriracha) tasted excellent! We eat a lot of the padrons when they’re green and what ever is left over after we get sick of them gets fermented 🙂

  15. HEather permalink
    February 20, 2015 3:59 pm

    thank you so much – I actually can order that through our hardware store and had it in my cart. I notice it has added fertilizer, so I think that would do it just fine and I can fertilize with compost tea and actually, when I repot, I try my best to pot into our 2 year old compost mix as it seems to adapt them well.

    Thanks again!

    • February 20, 2015 4:45 pm

      We just got in the habit of adding the fertilizer for the transplants we sell because by about 30 days we’ve leached out the available nutrients from watering almost every day. But your plan sounds good 🙂

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