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Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #409- It's time to harvest the first Mesclun for dinner.
March 27, 2024

We may have had that final blast of winter last Friday and it did give me an opportunity to get the snowblower out of the garage for the first time, but, in the basement, under the lights, the first salad is almost ready to harvest. Mesclun mixes are available from many of the seed houses and they quickly produce a wonderful harvest of baby lettuce leaves to make that first salad. This pot will be moving up to the kitchen soon, where the sunlight in the solarium will keep us in fresh salad for a few weeks. We’ll just cut enough of this for an evening’s salad and then a bit more the next dinner time. The harvested plants will regrow quite quickly continuing to fill our salad bowls for some time. Another container will be seeded in the near future to take over the job when this one finally tires of its role.

Beside the Mesclun, under the lights, are the first of the transplants from the seeding plugs. These are all cool season vegetables which will be heading to the garden as soon as the soil warms enough to be crumbly as opposed to mucky. Looking good today but its supposed to cool off for a few more days this week. Anytime in early April would be a good start as we usually aim for the last week of April in my little corner of the world.

Up from the cold room this pot of Narcissus Cheerfulness is bringing spring into the kitchen. The first pot had very few blooms. I suspect that it did not have enough cool to break the flower’s dormancy. There should have been enough days but this winter many of them were not very cold and as a result neither was the cold room. There’s a few more to bring up as these start to fade and I expect they will perform as well as this one.

Now that those first vegetables have left the germination bed and moved under the main lights, there is room to start this next batch of seeds. About fifteen varieties of annual flowers and a few Tomatoes were seeded this week while Peppers and Eggplant have started to poke through the soil having been sown about 2 weeks ago. It’s a constant shuffle from germination bed to light racks to cold frame to garden to maximize our production schedule. Each year we try to reduce the seed order but somehow??? Then All America Selections sends me another batch of their new varieties to trial, fifteen this year, and sometimes a couple of the seed houses will do the same and there I am with another hundred seed packets looking for moisture, heat and light. I have to try them all, don’t I??

Just to make sure that the potted Narcissus don’t hog the spotlight, some of the big Amaryllis bulbs demand their space in the sunlight and insist that I bring them up from their cool dark corner of the basement. Most of these are bulbs or pots of several bulbs are old friends that have been brightening our winters for several years. In the picture the rear pot has the two bloom stalks with the pink/white blooms and the front pot has the four large bloom stalks just waiting to take on their starring role. There is another one soaking in the basement getting ready to take its turn on stage. These amazing plants actually start to push up bloom stalks in the basement when they are bone dry and there is minimal light and heat. That’s when I know its time to get busy and start rejuvenating them. Never a sleepy moment in a gardening addict’s spring.

Not all of the action is indoors. That’s the Garlic emerging from the cold wet soil of the vegetable garden. We tucked those individual cloves into that soil in October and here they are, finished with their long winter’s nap and bursting forth to tell us that the garden is awakening and ready to repeat its timeless cycle once again. We have just a few Garlic bulbs left in the cold room so it’s encouraging to see that they are about to be replenished.

The roads are easy to drive on as I am travelling around sharing my various presentations with hort. societies, garden clubs and corporate presentations for lunch and learns. I would love to come and visit your organization. Check out my web page at for more details on topics and availability.

If you have any gardening questions just “reply” to this emailed newsletter and I will attempt to answer them and then share them here if they are of wide interest.

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