|Crowded lettuce – I transplanted before I thought of taking a picture!|
|At top pak choi separated into a 72 cell flat w/kale seedlings on left|
This year, the experiment is baby pak choi and lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale. I used last year’s seed, saved in a plastic storage container to protect it from mice and damp, and sowed it in some sterilized 6-cell seed trays a couple of weeks ago. I had assumed that the seed’s germination rates, which are usually good with those two crops, would nevertheless have diminished, so I sowed many more of those babies in each cell than I would have had it been this year’s seed. But instead of the few little leaves I expected, LOTS came up and in no time were crowded. I had had a lot of success with the Pot o Gold Swiss Chard from Renee Shepherd’s Seeds that I planted last year in a pot and cut and ate for weeks, so I decided, a la the cukes, to try to grow some cold weather greens in the greenhouse.
I dumped the crammed pak choi and kale seedlings out of their cells onto a tabletop, gently separated them and replanted them singly in a combination of organic potting soil and seed starting mix. They now sit on a table on the east side of the greenhouse. I’m excited already. Kale and bean soup with last year’s canned Big Mama tomatoes, stir-fried pak choi with ginger, water chestnuts and mushrooms kale and orange juice and banana smoothies here we come. I hope. We’ll see. It’s all an experiment.
|It’s all an experiment, but a light-filled one that’s better than Prozac|
P.S. I realize not everyone has room or interest in a backyard greenhouse, but I wouldn’t trade mine for a vacation in the Bahamas. In addition to affording me the ability to start whatever off-the-wall veg variety I want, it’s my personal antidepressant. The channels in the plastic panels magnify and intensify light even on the greyest of winter days. I sit inside there with a book or greedily sort through last year’s saved seeds and imagine warm spring days. Best kind of drug. A greenhouse has its own set of issues of course. I’m currently fighting a white fly infestation on my experimental Meyer lemon trees and I’m not winning. Never mind. Totally worth it.