Kitchen Garden

Overnight Rain

Overnight Rain, March 26, 2021.

Weather permitting, I expect to prepare part of the garden today.

While the soil is too wet to work, last year’s fencing and cages can be removed to create a space to fell two oak trees, one of which is leaning as a result of the August 10, 2020 derecho, the other needs removal to make room for the remaining one to grow unencumbered. I’m ready.

The seedling operation is ahead of previous years. The debate is whether to put the brassica seedlings directly into the ground, or re-pot them to give the roots more room to grow before transplant. I’ll likely do a mix of techniques and compare. The sprouts aren’t quite to the point of forming the third leaf yet it won’t be long.

New spinach seeds arrived yesterday. The old ones aren’t germinating properly so I bought a new packet of 1,000 Seaside Hybrid Smooth Leaf Spinach seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. I’ll start a couple dozen on the heating pad, and direct seed some as soon as the ground can be worked. My friends at the farm already direct seeded spinach, beets, peas and carrots.

Garlic is coming up nicely. It’s been in the ground for five months and I doubled the amount planted. I picked the best cloves for seed and hope for the best this year. We use garlic most days in our kitchen, so it is an important crop.

The beets I moved from the greenhouse to the heating pad are germinating. As soon as they appear successful, I’ll move them back to the greenhouse to wait for dry ground. The heating pad space will be to start peppers and tomatoes in channel trays. This year I’m going big with Guajillo chili peppers to make sauce for the coming year. In 2020 I experimented making my own Guajillo chili sauce and if successful this year, I’ll replace the commercial Hatch pepper sauce I’ve been using.

It’s been a challenge to use all the canned tomatoes. This year I expect to plant a lot of Roma-style tomatoes for canning and put up about 24 quarts. I’ve been freezing some tomatoes. While it’s easy, I prefer canned. Canned Roma tomatoes are becoming our mainstay for cooking chili, sauce and soups. It reflects a bit of refinement. In past years I canned any tomato I grew, skin on. Peeled Roma canned tomatoes are a much better option. I’m growing a large variety of tomatoes to eat fresh. My process is to germinate plenty and plant at least two seedlings of each type. We like the variety.

As we come out of the darkness there is hope for the day. That’s emblematic of so much in our lives during the time of contagion.