This weekend, it was finally time to bring our tomatoes, peppers, herbs, melons, and pumpkins to the greenhouse we built back in March. This spring’s weather has been pretty lousy, so the big move was much later than we expected.
We start most of our seeds indoors where they have the best chance to germinate, and then we slowly introduce the seedlings to the elements. A wintery April gave us few chances to harden them off outside on the porch. And by the end of April, after transplanting all of our tomato seedlings into 4-inch pots, and moving them in and out of the house every day, we were ready to start charging rent.
We’ve learned our lesson about starting too many things too early. We gave a tray of 72 tomato seedlings away because we simply didn’t have the room. We started a new tray, and since they’re canning tomatoes, we won’t need them right away.
A lot of the push to start things as early as possible comes from commercial growers, to whom having the earliest crop at the market means a premium. We’re happy to have home-grown produce as soon as possible, but we’re excited to still have tomatoes at the end of summer. We’re growing for sustenance, not profit.
Our greenhouse is eight feet square, and we thought it would have more than enough room. However, it immediately filled up. We’ve got quite a few plants we’ve started for friends and family, so we might have to start giving them away a little early to make room for all the things we’re starting this weekend.
The more tender vegetables will spend most of May in the greenhouse waiting for spring frosts to pass until they can safely be planted in the field, traditionally on the Victoria Day/May 24 weekend. Others, like asparagus crowns, hop rhizomes, onions, peas, and early potatoes can tolerate light frosts and go into the ground as soon as it can be worked. However with this eternal rain we seem to be getting and very little sun, the ground hasn’t had a chance to dry out.
The garlic we planted last fall gives us the best hint of what is to come this year. Long rows of tall, green leaves seem to be tolerating this spring a lot better than we are. They’re lonely out there, and we can’t wait to introduce them to the rest of the garden.