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Dead-o-winter garden ramblings

February 10, 2011

There isn’t really much to share this time of year.

But here you go anyway:

On average there would be only about 8 weeks until my last frost date here in North Georgia. I found the data below for my county on the extension service’s website; even though the “average” last frost date might be somewhere around April 15th the spread is wide (Mar 8 – April 25) in just the last 15 years.

2010 Mar 8 29.7
2009 Apr 8 28.5
2008 Apr 16 31.0
2007 Apr 10 31.2
2006 Mar 27 25.6
2005 Apr 25 31.4
2004 Mar 23 24.7
2003 Mar 31 26.6
2002 Mar 28 30.1
2001 Apr 19 31.0
2000 Apr 10 31.9
1999 Mar 28 31.3
1998 Mar 23 31.7
1997 Mar 17 29.7
1996 Apr 11 29.3
1995 Apr 2 30.7
1994 Apr 1 29.6
1993 Apr 23 30.4

Regardless, it is time to go into a full seed starting mode. Most of the cool weather spring crops should be started by now as well as the summer plants requiring the longest growing season (in my case peppers).
From the previous experiment I had a tray of chard and kailaan that was ready to move off the mat; can anyone guess which ones are the ruby chard?

I stole a KMart mini wire shelving unit from where I kept my “network” equipment placed it under one of the lights so that all 3 shelves a sunny angle in front of the window. This will leave room for 4 trays on the mat per below:

In the two trays of soil cubes I have planted
raddachio
bok choy
broccoli
celery
“jalapeno gigante” peppers
poblano/ancho peppers

In the next couple of weeks I’ll make a couple trays of cubes to accommodate this year’s tomato scheme (2 x 32 should suffice lol).

Any day now a couple of experimental trays should arrive as well. They are 128 cell “Speedling” trays that look to me to be good for the “mass” plantings of greens I intend to put out in late march or early April : Rainbow chard, spinach, and lettuce.

Why all the greens?

Last weekend we craved fresh garden produce and I scavenged all the things I could come up with in this February state of a garden. The haul included the tailings of the broccoli side shoots, a smallish head of cauliflower, a small head of cabbage, a few ruby chard leaves, a couple of modest kailaan plants, maybe a dozen brussel sprouts and finally some leaves off the brussel sprout plants. I mixed with garlic and onion and stir fried it all in a makeshift broth that included some funky oyster sauce and spicy sweet & hot pepper sauce plus a little ginger and honey.

How was it?

Pretty decent for a garden scavenger dish; in fact it was delicious:

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Mrs. Cohutt permalink
    February 11, 2011 8:16 am

    Mmmmm….this post is making me hungry.

  2. February 11, 2011 3:23 pm

    Are your lights really high above your starts or is it just the picture? My lights are about 3 inches from mine.

    That stir-fry looks good. Now all you need are some backyard chicken and eggs to throw in there 😉

    • February 11, 2011 7:11 pm

      Ros my lights are 125w high output cfl greenhouse lights in a reflector, not the usual mini florescent tubes . They put out a pretty decent dose of light and can be effective from up to 2-2 1/2 ft above and cover a 3×3 square.
      Once the blocks spout I’ll move them off the heat mat up closer to the lights on the shelf. The whole area has several hours of winter sun each day as well.

  3. Bruce permalink
    February 13, 2011 7:24 pm

    Dang, a little beef…

    Years ago we had a mild winter and I started tomatoes in the basement the last of Feb. I picked my first tomato the 4th of July and we had fresh tomatoes until the following January. At the first frost I picked all of the green tomatoes, wrapped them in newspaper and stored in the basement. They ripened progressively giving us fresh tomatoes for a long time. I also froze some of the tomatoes whole for sauce and stewing.

    • February 13, 2011 9:52 pm

      Did some of that here last year too.

  4. Rick permalink
    February 15, 2011 5:22 am

    Hey Cohutt where did you get the heat mat from and how big is that one? I’ve seen the small ones, thanks Rick

    • February 15, 2011 7:06 pm

      From Amazon search for “heat mat” and there are a couple of 48×20 offerings.
      The particular one i bought was this one http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002LVU4YI/ref=oss_product
      It was cheaper a month ago, seems like in $60s

  5. Rick permalink
    February 16, 2011 10:48 am

    Thanks Cohutt I found one on there for 60$ I got the temp controller too along with a seed starter book , man last year wore me out I kid you not I planted 3 times in the fall trying to get stuff going but the weather really messed things up either to hot/cold or wet! needless to say I think at best out of those 3 plantings of the same things over and over I had about a 30-40% success rate (except for the onions and garlic they were 100%, like you said anybody can grow those! including me) so maybe with the starter mat and seedlings my success rate will improve.
    When I was in ATL I had a hydroponics system that worked really well (but I had to battle the white flies) but I was wanting to use the land here since we live in the country now , whole different animal to tame here , We have raised beds and row crops and a small orchard of trees. I do have a 400W halide light I used in my Hydroponics that I can use for starting seeds, funny how those lights attract the local L/E we always had them fly over in helicopters in ATL till they seen that I was growing tomatoes, even down here they have the army(coming out of Ft. Stuart with the thermal vision I reckon) help with scouting for the locals growing the illegal crops and last year they came by a couple nights totally lights out(seen them w/my NVG) and hovering around my pasture where the well/pump house has the 400w light inside starting seedlings (again tomatoes) wish they would just drop on down and have a cup of coffee with me the kids would love to see that along with me a couple of BlackHawks in the field that would be a Kodak moment for sure! Thanks again for the help, Take care my friend!

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