Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Waiting for spring, thinking of fall
I was just about to post the below entry to the blog when I noticed that my publisher, Storey has added my book to their 'coming attractions' section! Exciting! For a preview of the book, click on the website below where there is a 12 page sneak peek!! Once on this page, click on 'preview the book' button under the cover image.
Ok, back to regular blog business:
It's a funny year.. it's just 10 C outside my window today (well below the normal average for this time of the year) and pouring down rain. I was hoping to pop up to the garden to sow more salad green seed while the soil is nice and moist, but I think I'll hold off, as I'm worried it will wash away! Tomorrow looks even wetter and windier.. hopefully, by late week, we'll be back on track..
This is the time of year, mid-June, when I start to think about seeding transplants for fall. Sounds funny, doesn't it? But, kale, broccoli, cabbage, collards and such that are sown in mid June are ready to be moved into the garden around the first of August. This allows ample time for them to mature before the onset of the cold weather in late autumn. In my upcoming book, The Year Round Vegetable Gardener (Storey Publishing, Dec 2011), I wrote a piece called 'A Year in the Life of my Grow Lights', which chronicles just how handy a grow light can be to a non-stop harvest. Our lights get a small break from mid-May to mid-June, when the last of the warm-season crops are moved into the garden, but then they are put back into high production for fall and winter crops.
As a kale-addict, I always start at least six different cultivars in mid-June, including our favourite, dinosaur/lacinato kale, an heirloom type with long, strap-like blue-green leaves. I think it's called dinosaur kale for it's texture - blistered and bumpy - which resembles (what I think) dinosaur skin must have looked like. Check out this photo at left - dinosaur kale touched with our first hard frost last autumn!
You can also use your lights in late spring through early summer to provide non-stop fresh kohlrabi, lettuce, zucchini, cucumber, and other salad green transplants. Once the heat of summer arrives (IF it arrives!), many seeds find it difficult to germinate. I often find it easier to give them a few weeks under the lights before they're moved into the jungle of a garden.
On a side note, I'd like to say thank you to all the wonderful folks at Shoreham Village in Chester - especially Linda Bell! Each spring I gather up about a dozen flats of annual flower, herb and veggie seedlings to plant in their wheelchair gardens. We usually get the gardens planted in late May, but this year, due to flu outbreaks at the senior centre, terrible weather and such, we didn't get the job done until yesterday. They now look fantastic and I can't wait to go back in a month to see how they're growing.
Hope your day is sunnier and drier than mine!