New Crops in the Garden

Our nephew Glenn spent a night with us on his way home so that was a special event. He was in a mood for ravioli and we hadn’t made any in quite a while so we feasted on another of Nancy’s miracle dinners. It’s easier to pull off than you might think since we have loads of sauce in the freezer and it just doesn’t take too long to whip up a batch of pasta. Usually when we make ravioli, it’s for a crowd and that becomes time consuming but with just three of us, a single batch was all it took and we could sit at the bar and chat as we were constructing them. That was followed by another great Sunday – a UCF basketball game that went into overtime, some premium IT time where my iPhoto and iTune files were transferred from the laptop to the mini, and dinner with Tom and Tina at Mi Mexico, our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Got up Monday morning and finished off prepping for the corn, planted a couple rows of the last lettuce seeds for the season and picked a few pounds of green tomatoes for Nancy’s green tomato cake. That pretty much takes care of last season’s tomato plants – all are doing their thing in the compost pile. As is the first planting of sugar snap peas that have been played out for a couple of weeks and just taking up space on the trellis. I’m going to plant a couple of cucumber seeds there this week and hope for a warm enough spring to bring them on earlier than usual. My next target area for early spring planting is a short row that has two Kohlrabi plants remaining, both pickable. I designated that for three or four cherry tomato plants and those are ready to go so before the end of Feb I’ll have them in their new home. It’s early but the 10 day forecast has nighttime temps in the 50’s and above so that should be fine – all of the plants have been fairly well hardened.

Also transplanted my first tomato plant, a cherry, for the season (after picking one of the Kohlrabi’s mentioned above). I gave this guy the full, ultimate treatment which included: digging an 18” diameter hole, 18” deep; lining the bottom with dried, dead grass a few inches thick; almost filling it with new compost; then chopping in my special fertilizer mix; and finally moving the plant from the yogurt container to the newly prepared spot. My special mix includes some regular 8x2x8 commercial fertilizer, crushed egg shells, bone meal, sugar, epson salts, and this year, a book of match heads. I don’t anticipate any damaging cold this season but I have a wall of water standing by just in case. I’ll give this one plant a week to make sure it survives before planting three more in the same row.

The celery I planted last week is looking good, 100% transplanting success. I learned something about growing celery that I never thought about. In the past what I’ve done is let the plants mature then harvest the whole thing. I guess that’s because it’s how we’re used to getting it from the grocery store. But the recommended approach is to cut off the outer stalks as needed and let the plant continue putting out new stalks. I do that with kale, collards, spinach, chard and lettuce but for some reason it never occurred to me to do the same with celery. If that works, instead of planting so many individual plants, I can get all the celery we need from a smaller chunk of real estate.

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