Growing a Year's Worth of Vegetables
This must be my fifth or sixth year trying to grow a year's worth of vegetables in my home gardens. I say trying because I will usually get a year's worth of some vegetable but only a fall's worth of most. I grew a year's worth of broccoli two years ago, and last year, I grew a year's worth of onions and leeks. I had 180 baseball and softball sized onions in my kitchen and now I'm down to about 30.
At the moment, I have something like 100 Ailsa Craig, 80 Patterson, 40 Walla Walla sweet onions and 30 Giant Musselburgh leeks in my front window sills. These were started on the first of the year along with Graffiti and Snow Crown cauliflower, Green Magic and Arcadia broccoli, and Franklin brussel sprouts--36 all together. The onions have been trimmed once, but it looks like they could use another trim.
I started pepper and eggplant seeds two weeks ago: Ping Tung, Rosa Bianca and Diamond eggplants, and Jimmy Nardello, Carmen, Pablano, Anaheim, Glow, Lesya, Leutschauer, Golden Marconi, Italian Pepperoncini, Jalepeno, and Quadrato d'asti Rosso peppers. I soaked them in previously boiled water for about 8 hours and planted in organic jiffy mix--80 cells. They are just starting to come up today, and I've put them under one of the four foot T5 lights so they stay compact. I recently learned about pruning pepper plants--chopping the apical meristem after about the third complete set of true leaves to encourage lateral branching and a sturdier plant. I noticed how bushy the peppers at a local farm were and so I did a little research. I'll try pruning this year and let you know how it goes.
I started 23 types of tomatoes two days ago--90 cells. I started cross-breeding my own varieties and so I have to grow those out for a few years to see what stable variety emerges. At F7 you have a near certain stable variety. This year is F2.
Next to start will be flowers and herbs, and then I can take a break from starting and focus on transplanting--until April anyway, when it's time to start the Giant Pumpkins. I usually wait until May to start the other squashes and melons. I may get a jump on the melons this year. Here in Colorado, we have such a short season. I'm also growing Luffa this summer and I hear those need an extra long season too.
I just love being in the garden and eating food I grow. I've read that soil microbes are supposed to help lower stress and anxiety. Between that and all the extra vitamin D from summer sun, it's no wonder garden season makes me so happy. That, and there's a very good chance, I'm part Hobbit.