The frosty mornings aren’t too convincing, but the buds and blossoms everywhere are a sure sign. We’re excited about it here on the farm.
The fall fields have been tilled (rather, disced) and turned under to now look like spring fields waiting to be sown. Though we are just as anxious as you, we are cautious to direct sow for a couple of reasons: 1) the Saturday markets don’t start until the first of June, so we try to plan and plant accordingly, and 2) the temperatures are still a little unpredictable.
Both the air and the soil temperatures need to be taken into consideration. Too cold, or too wet, seeds will likely rot. But don’t let us stop you from trying; we have peas up measuring about an inch and a half, so it is possible. Let’s all remember that sometimes when gardening we have to try and try again and that goes for anytime of the year, not just early spring.
Peas and radishes are great seeds to start with as they are likely to perform in cold soil (45 degrees). Leafy greens, carrots, beets, parsnips, and brassicas (broccoli family) prefer 50 degrees.
Wait to plant the warm weather veggies like summer squash, tomatoes and cukes, as they like 60 degrees. Peppers, eggplant and melons do best at 70 degrees, so we coastal growers will always have to “baby” such crops.
Keep in mind, too, that some seeds are very picky, often old seeds are less likely to germinate. So if you aren’t seeing results, and you think you’ve done everything else the best you can, check dates on the seed packet.
Of course those with greenhouses get warmer temperatures sooner and have an environment to start seedlings to later transplant. For those folks, we say, all systems go! Sow sow sow, especially if you don’t need to coordinate harvest schedules with market schedules.
Our Humboldt coast friends at Redwood Roots Farm are harvesting full-size head lettuce out of their greenhouse right now, so yes, it’s time!
We’d like to remind you not to put all your eggs in one basket. Plan to plant in succession so your garden and harvests will have more longevity. Go get your grow on!
Our propagation houses are filling up here at Ocean Air Farms, onions are looking great, leeks and artichokes are right behind them too, and soon the first big round of broccoli, lettuce, kale and chard, will be sown.
Also as many have asked, yes, you will be seeing much more of our produce at the Wild Rivers Market this season. In the meantime, there are just a few more harvests left of spinach, salad mix, and kale mix, so get into the market and grab some while you can.
We’re off to play under the sun, in the breeze, tending the strawberry patch and weeding the garlic.
“In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
— Margaret Atwood
Del Norte Gardening runs monthly. Paul Madeira and Julie Jo Ayer Williams own Ocean Air Farms in Fort Dick. Have a question or suggestion? Email it to ocean