There really wasn’t a choice. The basement space is packed; the greenhouse is packed and yet there are hundreds of seedlings down there still needing their own personal pot! So, as soon as the weather cooperated in the least bit (that is, temperatures that rose above the single digits, teens, and low twenties) the planting began. Plus, I’m experimenting to see how early I can get flowers for the “Growing Kindness Project” bouquets. First were the ranunculus, who love colder temperatures.
The ranunculus were pre-soaked and pre-sprouted in the basement. The root systems were bigger than my hand on several corms when they went into the ground so I was pleased. Hopefully that will mean lots of big, beautiful flowers in a few weeks. They went into a raised bed with hoops and light row cover and seem to be very happy after a few days in the ground.
Then came the snapdragons, stock, and sweet peas which can also tolerate colder weather. This was my first experience with doing snapdragons in those little 3/4″ soil blocks, and I was totally surprised at how well they did. Definitely a game changer for me. An old gal CAN learn new tricks! I wasn’t as happy with the stock in soil blocks, but they did well in the row trays initially and then were transplanted into a plug tray. Extra work, but when space is the biggest issue and time is not, it was the best method for my situation. The sweet peas were seeded 2 seeds to a 2″ pot, pinched at 6″ and planted cheek to jowl.
These plants were only minimally hardened off, spending a couple of hours in partial shade with just a bit of breeze for a couple hours two mornings, then moving to the greenhouse with a fan and open door, and now in the ground. But, notice the hoops and floating row cover which went on as soon as the planting was completed in bed 5d. It will allow the plants protection from full sunlight and wind until they get established and the temperatures settle more. This actually acts as a hardening off period.
Across the main path, bed 5c also got sweet peas on its trellis and a row of stock in the center, but there are “Liberty Bronze” snapdragons on the left and “Benary Princess” asters on the right. You can see that the hoops and row cover extends over all three beds, 5a, 5b and 5c. I wasn’t sure about planting the asters out this early, but a flat of plugs in the greenhouse showed absolutely no effects of a 24 degree night in the greenhouse so out they went!
There weren’t quite enough plants to finish this bed, but there is another flat or three of stock coming on that will finish that row, and on the far left will go a row of annual phlox that just need to get a bit larger before going outdoors. I switched from the potager beds to another job that really needed to get done.
While the soil was perfect for digging, and before the next rain arrived, these “Summer Berries” yarrow plants needed to get in the ground. The plants were set, a few layers of newspaper fitted around them and a layer of mulch were added. These are on the end of one of the former berry rows that are currently planted in daffodils.
So that’s six crops planted in Mid-March (maybe it’s March Madness, but we’ll see!) 1) Ranunculus 2) Snapdragons 3) Sweet Peas 4) Stock 5) Asters 6) Yarrow!
If you’d like to see what other gardeners come up with for a Six on Saturday post, visit The Propagator, who hosts this meme.