Planting seeds in January

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Though it is still pretty cold inside right now is the time for me to begin start planting seeds for this spring.  These include bok choy which are very cold tolerant, onions which do pretty good in the cold but could use a head start on these to get some good sized bulbs by the end of the season.  I also started some daisies which I will let mature plenty before bring them out.  Finally I planted some spinach to try to grow some greens for consumption in my grow box given how much empty space I have in here right now 🙂

For my seed starting mix I start with some coconut coir, though you can find this in the gardening section I typically grab a three pack at the pet store at nearly half the price.  Though looks like you can get it at a pretty good price on Amazon these days with free shipping.

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All you have to do is add 1 gallon of water and let sit for a about 10 minutes then still a bit with a trowel.

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Though this works great by itself as a seed starting medium I typically add a couple cups of vermiculite (to lighten up and moisture control) and a handful organic fertilizer to add some trace minerals to give the seedlings a head start when they emerge.

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Finally will fill the Name Your Linkplant trays with your seedling mix and add you seeds, not watering should be required since the soil should already be pretty moist.

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Complete by add some popsicle sticks with some handwritten labels or use a discarded yogurt container from your recycling container to make your own plant labels by simply cutting them into strips like shown below.

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Winter garden survivors

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Saturday we had a rare occurrence here in the Pacific Northwest, this large ball of warm gas, which in some areas they refer to as the sun made an appearance.  It raised the temperature so much I had to take the cover off my winter garden so I decided to do a little weeding and take some pictures.

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The Chinese cabbage (bok choy) is looking great and I need to remember to cook with it shortly.

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The kale and Swiss chard is also growing strong…think I might have some cooked greens in my future.

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The parsley and onions needed a little cleaning up but still nice and green.

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The garlic bulbs planted last fall are now starting to emerge with some stray cilantro in gabs between them.

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The arugula is still alive but a little mangled from some of the snow that the hoop cover did not keep entirely off.  For the beginning of February the garden looks the most alive it has ever been this time of year.

Winter veggie and Turkey Omelet

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Had an abundance of turkey from Thanksgiving and plenty of veggies in my winter garden so figured a nice healthy omelet for dinner might help out the recovery from the nutrient lacking foods I ate the day before.

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Specifically I used Kale, spinach, green onions, and bok choy.  You can see the recipe I used for this veggie and turkey omelet here.

Harvesting some Bok Choy from my winter garden

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I got my first harvest from my winter garden, I could have given this a couple weeks more but the plants were starting to get crowded.  Not ever cooked Bok Choy I went with the idea that everything is better with bacon and made some Bok Choy with bacon…or maybe could call it Bacon with some Bok Choy.

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Not only delicious but given its low calorie count (14 calories per 100g) and being high in Vitamin A/C/K and a good source of folates, calcium, and iron.

Quick winter garden update

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The weather is starting to get colder (yesterday woke up to 37F) but still in safe ranges for my winter garden which is doing great.  An abundance of Kale and arugula and chard and bok choy are getting pretty close to harvest.  Broccoli is taking its time like it should.

I also planted some chives, onions which I started from seeds several week ago.  I have also planted a bulb worth of garlic to harvest next summer.

What I am growing in my winter garden

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I normally get burned out over the spring/fall and don’t do much for the fall/winter season.  This year I decided I want to have a nice selection of winter veggies so I am going all out and start my winter garden.

In the garden now are kale, broccoli, bok choy, carrots, spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula (one of the most profitable vegetables), bunching onions, garlic, and leeks.  I wanted to grow Brussel sprouts but I should have started those about 4 month ago.

I grew the lettuce, broccoli, onions, and leeks from seeds in the grow box and transplanted them a few of weeks ago.  The bok choy, kale, and arugula were an impulse addition when I saw the plants on sale and struggling at my local grocery store.

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All of these plants should do pretty well with the mild winters we get here in the Pacific Northwest…but our hard rains and occasional snowfall could lead to their downfall.  For this reason I came up with this structure which when the rains and/or low temperatures come I will cover with 2.5mm plastic sheeting.  Though I plan on adding one more set of cross pieces to prevent sagging in the middle, I consider this design a bit of a hybrid between row covers and a full blown hoop house.

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This will provide plenty of space for the plants to grow and ease of getting under the structure to harvest in the rain while not large enough to hopefully not catch a little wind and sail away.

I am excited to continue to collect my harvests all year round.

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