This year we are taking out the front lawn and building raised garden beds for growing our own veggies. Although we are certain to have sporadic snow and sleet several more times we are getting close enough to the last frost date to start seeds that do well when the soil temperature is 40 degrees or more.
Right now it’s time to start:
cole crops (broccoli, kale, cabbage), alliums (onions, leeks, scallions and garlic), tomatoes
You should start these indoors as close to a fluorescent bulb as possible, turned on for about 16 hours a day. You could try to skip the light but your starts will probably be long and leggy. That is great in a swimsuit model but not in a veggie start.
I placed my seed trays up on my pickling crocs to get them closer to the lights. Another option is to buy small corded fluorescent fixtures, suspend them from thin chain which you can purchase by the yard at Home Depot, then attach them to the underside of your cabinet with cup hooks. The chain will allow you to lower the lights directly over the starts and raise the lights as your starts get taller.
Since our heater is running quite often this weekend I’ll be checking them frequently to be sure they don’t dry out. I’ve started red kale, Nero di Toscana kale, broccoli, leeks, scallions, storing onions, celery, saucey tomatoes, and an ultra early slicing tomato.
I started peas directly in the backyard earlier in the week. If the front beds were ready I would have direct sewn European salad greens (claytonia, veche, arrugula, and raddichio.) I purchased some hoops and cold covers but by the time the garden boxes are done this year I won’t likely need them. I’m hoping, though, to make this an annual garden so I’ll be using them in the fall and into next winter and spring.
Spring will be here soon and hopefully I’ll have flats of good, sturdy starts to transplant when it comes.