Winters Seem Just Too Long For Our Short Summers

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Bob Bauer
January 11, 2019 (Last Updated: ) | Reading Time: 3 minutes

January 11, 2019

Winters seem just too long for our short summers. I guess that's why so many greenhouses get built. Extending the growing season is one way to shorten the winter. Lots of the recently constructed large greenhouses around here feature fans at the vents, heaters, and grow lights on all day long. There isn't enough sunlight in the winter to promote healthy growth of their crops. If you think they are growing tomatoes you would be wrong, although they require the same complexity. The cash crop that is flourishing today is ganja. I call it pot, but I'm not cool.

The investment in time and money in these large structures makes greenhouse growing in the winter a farming operation more than a gardening one. They have to push out the accumulated oxygen and draw in carbon dioxide, while keeping the humidity and temperature at a healthy level. It gets way too wet inside because the plants respire so much. The plants require light on the lower leaves as well as the top. Nutrients probably need to be adjusted as the plants enter the budding stage, and pesticides are required. Manufacturer mislabeling caused state licensed grows to fail due to unauthorized chemical residue, causing a black market boom.

January 12, 2019

My garlic is throwing shadows. This is the sign of spring I look forward to. My patch of spikes in the sunshine gets my motor running. People plant fall bulbs for early spring color but I like to eat what I grow. Peas are next to plant with February 2nd the earliest planting date. They don't like "wet feet" so avoid planting in low ground. Raised beds are ideal for peas because they drain quickly and are not soggy like the rest of the garden is this time of year.

I raise the dirt up along my pea trellis with compost to help keep the seeds from rotting in the wet ground underneath. February 5th is an outdoor planting date for spinach, so it's time to get that row prepared. February 15th begins the transplanting of your indoor started spring crops. Prep your ground now. Let the 2019 growing season begin. You know it will be the best garden yet because your anticipation and actualizations are already rewarding you with a sense of joy.

January 13, 2019

My son grew the sweetest spaghetti squash last summer. He found out that his sandy loam soil does not have enough nitrogen to grow healthy veggies, so he started watering with a week solution of fish emulsion. His garden thrived. It grew into a jungle. Then he noticed there were not as many blossoms as I had on my plants, so he did some research and discovered that potassium and phosphorus are required for flowering and bud production. When he added them to his fertilizing schedule the flowers arrived.

Then he discovered that pollination was not occurring, so he brought in flowering plants to the garden to attract pollinators, and they got the job done. The spaghetti squash grew everywhere, hiding under the pumpkin leaves, under the butterfly bush, along the fence line and into the neighbors yard. I don't know if he ever got an accurate count. It was like hunting for Easter eggs.

February 26, 2020

It's time to start your eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and celery indoors for planting out in nine weeks. Celery seeds are so tiny that I need magnifying glasses to deal with them. They require that you only press them onto the seed starting mix and not bury them. Mist them and cover them with plastic. From then on it's easiest to bottom water. After you've grown a crop you will never complain about the price of it in the grocery store.

It's fun to try, once, but it's not a habitual attraction. You'll marvel at how long, straight and juicy the store bought product consistently is, and wonder how it's possible to keep the supply chain filled. They seem to take FOREVER to mature and you need to mark the row so you don't step on them. You'll probably forget to water them too.

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