Meanwhile, back at the mini’stead

We’re in the dregs of February. Probably one of the most bleak times of the year. Cold, grey, and no green in sight.

But if you’re a green thumb, a real, hardcore, DIY’er gardener—February is when you finally get to bust out your seeds and start getting dirty.

I’ll give myself a little bit of credit, last year was one of my better years. My seeds to plants ratio was probably one of the highest ever. My peas and peppers were astoundingly plentiful. But every year has its successes and failures. I want a farm and I have to admit, my backyard overwhelms me.

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Last year was my first great success with peas and my absolute biggest failure with tomatoes ever. Great winter squash, terrible melons—but I don’t even like melon. Pretty lame green beans and my idea of making cornichons was a total bust. Excuse me, if they don’t ripen at the same time how the hell do you make it work? One cornichon at a time? The French would.

Lessons for this go around? Don’t plant sunflowers in the middle of the bed. They were stunning but made everything significantly more difficult and more shady. Same goes for the borage. 2012 was the year of the flowers I guess. Well, 2013 is all about greens and cultivating an allium bed. And tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

But there is only so much that you can start in February.

So, I put together two trays. Alliums: cipollini, leeks, red + white scallions. Brassicas: winngstadt + golden acre cabbage, broccoli raab, baby bok choi. Black + long eggplant. Herbs: Fennel, dill, thyme. Flowers: nicotina, datura, love in the mist. And some greens: Orach and amaranth.

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The calendar at Skippy’s Garden is the one that I’ve used for several years now.

5/10 is a reasonable last frost date for the area, but I am moving a little ahead of the game—the winter has been relatively mild. And if nothing else, in my experience, a little extra time is good when it comes to peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. I’ll pot them up into larger pots before the final transition to the garden. My official planting calendar is based on a 5/2 last frost date.

From my sources, I hear it is supposed to be a long, cool, wet spring into early summer. Not ideal to warm your bones, but it is great for brassicas and greens, so I am giving baby bok choi, broccoli raab and cabbage a shot.

I love working in the office and looking at the little dirt-babies getting ready to grow. Look at that glowing happiness:

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