We grow bedding plants as a way to get the season started at our early markets. Bedding plants are flowering annuals that folks grow for pleasure in pots and flower beds. We buy “plugs” of tiny plants from expert growers from around the country who take cuttings of special plants and root them. They arrive by FedEx and we “bump them up” into 4 inch pots. They grow for 6-10 weeks in our greenhouse and are then ready to sell. We specialize in unusual plants – how else to compete against Home Depot? So, you won’t find any impatiens or marigolds, but lots of gorgeous strange selections.
We are also slowly making our way through the top half of the greenhouse, weeding and putting down landscape cloth to try and keep it clean and weed free through the season. We are then setting up our makeshift benches on top of the cloth.
It’s been hard work getting the chickweed out of the gravel, using our fingers and a shovel. The first blisters of 2009 happily reside on my right hand. That’s one of the costs of taking the winter off.
Thanks goodness the weather has been more cooperative these last few days, with night temperatures above 45 degrees. That means the heater has not had to work to keep the plants happy overnight. We run circulating fans at night to keep the warmer air in the top half of the house mixed with the cooler air at ground level. They also keep the plants from collecting so much dew and inviting fungal pests.
As for veggie crops, the chard, fennel, onions and leafy greens are up and growing. This week we start seeding some of the sexy annual fruit crops that make our season prosper: tomatoes, eggplant and peppers which are all members of the Solanaceae family.
We will also head out to the field today to see if it is dry enough to do some early tillage. One of the worst things a farmer or gardener can do to the soil is to work it WET. You end up creating clumps of clay that will plague you for years to come. If it’s indeed dry enough, we’ll till and plant some peas. It’s early, but these super warm days and light winds have dried the top of the soil at least.