It has been one heck of a long winter and I don’t believe a true warm-up will be with us for a while, but I finally fired up the my greenhouse last Wednesday. Normally I would be up and running the first of March but I held off this year as long as I could due to the extreme cold. My Greenhouse is heated by gas and I do not relish $400 NIPSCO bills when it should be half that cost, but, certain crops have to be started, like peppers, perennial herbs and perennial veggies grown from seed.
It was wonderful to work all day Wednesday and Thursday in a T-shirt. The greenhouse thermostat was set at 68 degrees but the afternoon sun brought the temps up into the 80’s. I started a few “early” peppers for those brave individuals who like to set plants out into the garden around the first of May. If you have a good system like Wall-o-Water tents, you might get a jump on early fruit, but if you’re just covering them at night to keep them from freezing you might be foolin yourself. I always recommend waiting till the later part of May to plant either Tomatoes or Peppers. An old adage: “If one plants one’s tomato into cold ground, and the plant survives until the warmth of the end of May, one will simply have a “pissed-off” tomato plant that may, or may not, give one fruit”.
I also started a number of flats of cool-weather crops like heirloom broccoli’s and cabbages, lettuces, mustard, Tronchuda, watercress, etc., which I plan to have available at the Goshen Farmers Market, end of April/beginning of May. In addition I am excited to be working with locally sourced worm castings that I am adding to my soil mix. I have
used worm castings in the past and have found them to be a great addition to potting mixes as well as house plants and used in the garden as a soil amendment or as a top-dressing. The problem has always been the cost of trucked in castings which tended to be cost prohibitive. Now we have a local source, which is a good thing for gardeners in our region. Check out “Positive Organic Living”. They have a website, and are on facebook. The owner, Brenda McBryde, let me take peek at her worm farm in South Bend last week. It was fascinating to see her tubs full of African Night-Crawlers, digesting GMO free grains and producing a dark, moist, rich supply of castings (worm poop for the layman) full of, (as I understand) healthy enzymes and micro-biological, garden friends. Her worm castings are available at a number of local retailers.
I still have plenty of garden seed available, and very soon, I should have an abundance of garden plants for growers who want to experience a broad diversity of organically raised, open-pollinated, Heirloom vegetable and herb transplants to enjoy for the Summer, 2014.