The snow is loosing its power, slowly shrinking away from the landscape it once covered so proudly. It leaves first from the streets, having already been reduced to an icy covering by the snow plows. Next it leaves from the south side of the house, an ever-growing strip of liberated earth. It shies away from the fence… the heat too much for it. In its retreating wake it reveals sticks thrown to the dog, trampled bushes, the hint of a garden bed, and a crocus, or two…proudly proclaiming to all that stop to notice, spring is here!
Inside the Williams Street Farmhouse, we have definitely noticed! Not only is the retreating snow reminding us to plant the brassicas and pot up the tomatoes, it is also reminding us that we never really finished the greenhouse before it snowed last fall. In fact, it seems we didn’t really do a very good job of cleaning up at all. Out of sight, out of mind.
So, back to those tomatoes… If you haven’t done it already, your tomatoes are probably ready to pot up. As long as they have their first true leaves, not just the seed leaves which are the first two little leaves opposite each other to sprout, you can pot them up. It’s best not to wait too long because tomatoes don’t like to have their roots bound up. When you pot them up, pinch off the seed leaves and bury the stem as much as you can because on a tomato, all of those hairs on the stem will grow into roots, which will make your plants stronger and healthier. You can use potting soil this time, which is cheaper than seedling starting mix. I like to put them in four-inch pots so that I can pot them up again later, again burying the stem and making them super strong.
You might also think about potting up your herbs or flowers if they have their true leaves and look like they are outgrowing their little cell. If you’re not sure, try pulling one out (gently turn it upside down and squeeze the plastic until it slides out- do NOT grab the stem and pull) and see if there are a lot of roots visible. If there are, it is running out of space and you should give it a little more room. Also pinch off the seed leaves, but only bury the stem to the level where the seed leaves were.
We have only 6 1/2 weeks to go before last average frost! I started my broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, another round of herbs, and some early lettuce. Wait a couple weeks for squash and sunflowers beause they grow really fast and will get root-bound before the weather warms up enough to set them out. The moon is full right now, so the next best time for planting starts April 14, with the best says being the 19th and 20th, and the 25th-28th.
If you are starting or expanding your garden this year, consider signing up for the Garden Design Workshop happening this Saturday, April 3, 9-12. Check out our new workshops tab for a full description and complete listing of all our workshops!