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Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #312 - Lots of seeds sown this past week do spring must be coming.
March 13, 2018

Those little cubes of damp soil mean that spring must actually be on the way. I sowed about 20 varieties of vegetables yesterday and now wait anxiously for them to appear. Of course those little cells are sitting in my germination table where a heating cable will warm their little feet to about 26 C (80F) a temperature that makes germination much more certain and much quicker. They will be covered with a clear plastic dome to keep the humidity high and therefore the soil damp enough to ensure germination without me having to water again until the seedlings emerge. What did I plant? All of the cool season crops from three types of Cauliflower through a couple of Pak Choi and some Chinese Cabbage and Kohl Rabi . I have been disappointed in my Peppers and Eggplant transplants for the last couple of years. They have been rather small at planting out time and so I have moved up their sowing dates and planted them yesterday as well. I added a few Tomatoes so that I can try to grow much bigger transplants in an attempt to have earlier Tomatoes. Once I get started sowing seeds it hard to get me stopped. Space is usually my limiting factor.

There has been a bit of gap since the last issue of “Dallying” and that is due to Canada Blooms, the great garden festival that happens at this time each year in Toronto. It is on until this coming Sunday. If you are around then go and enjoy some spring. This garden “bed” was one of the many fascinating things that caught my attention. For some great pictures of the show have a look at my garden writer friend Barbara’s blog. I’m not really involved with Blooms itself but I do organize a meeting there of about 60 members of my Garden Communicators Association and that seems to eat my life for a couple of weeks. We hear great talks and learn about new products and tour the show and just spend a lot of time networking with like minded people. It’s a great day at a great venue.

The sowing of a great many seeds starts the great space shuttle. These containers of Lettuce were growing happily under the lights. They have now started the outdoor hot frame season. I plugged in the underground heating cable a few days ago to move the frost out and moved these Lettuce pots out there yesterday to make room under the lights. The Lettuce will actually improve out there with much brighter light and slightly cooler temperatures. I just have to remember they are out there and go out and water them. That’s a yearly adjustment to my schedule which is easy to adjust to on warm sunny days. Hauling a watering can through a late winter snow storm has very little to recommend it but the plants in the hot frame are happy there and certainly appreciate their drink with maybe a little fertilizer to keep them strong. That walk to the hot frame does give me the opportunity to watch the Witch Hazel for its early blooms. It reliably blooms about mid March but there is no sign of it this year as yet. A couple of warm sunny days should soon cover it with the rich red blooms that are a reliable herald of spring in the yard.

Now it’s time to answer a few of my reader’s questions. To ask a question just “reply” to this ezine. Don’t forget to check the front page of the Website for frequent short ideas for current gardening activities.

Carol Asks? Can I put soil over the heating cable in my cold / hot frame so that I can grow lettuce and similar crops directly in the frame all winter.

Ken Answers! I try to grow winter crops in pots in my frame but that’s not very successful and replacing the sand in the floor of the frame with a good potting mix and planting directly into it, would probably provide a much better crop. Just seems like a big job that I may never get around to.

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