The first seeds, planted outdoors on my balcony, to germinate, have been the arugula. I first noticed they were up on the 16th of March, 2010. The temperature was 2 degrees C. A few days later I noticed Deer Tongue lettuce and the Asian greens: Gailan and Tat Soi. They proceed bravely through Frost's realm and can be cut down by an icy visit. The danger zone could extend to the end of April, however, I will experiment and see what the seeds decide. If they consider they want to give it a go, who am I to say otherwise.
I have been awaiting the onset of the growing season impatiently. As I wait I prepared the balcony garden by applying a layer of mostly finished compost, mixing a batch of potting soil and filling the clay pots and setting them out and I cleaned up the perennials, cutting off dead leaves and such ...
Mixing in a layer of compost on 28/2/10
On the 5th of March I decided to plant some seeds and see what would happen.
I wanted to see what the seeds would consider the right time to sprout and the arugula probably sprouted around the 14th of March and I noticed they were up on the 16th.
This is what I find fascinating ... the seed, which is so tiny, particularly a seed from the Asian green family, knows! ... that built in intelligence experiences the correct conditions and it's 'all systems go'... Life is afoot.
Last year I took a similar photo of the earliest sprouted seeds and the date was 2nd of April, about two weeks later so each new growing season is unique and required our judgement and observation.
What Do I have on the Go Indoors?
I have started a tray of tomato seedlings - different varieties. A tray of Chinese cabbage - Wa Wa Sai which are ready to go in the ground. A tray of Trinidad Pimiento peppers and a tray of onions which I started from seed.
The tomatoes are now at a point where they need to be repotted into individual 4" pots and watered with organic fertilizers.
On the Sharing Farm ...
I work part time in the Greenhouse at the Sharing Farm in Richmond. The Farm grows food for the Richmond Food Bank and other community projects. The volunteers that come have been immersed in transitioning from winter to spring - harvesting any remaining food from the greenhouse and hoop houses, pulling out plants that had overwintered in these locations as they were beginning to bolt (flower and seed), preparing the boxes and beds for a new season by adding and tilling in a layer of manure and starting a range of cool weather loving seeds - Asian greens, lettuces, swiss chard and spinach. We are well on our way into spring with most the boxes planted and the seedlings up and coming.
We have had our share of setbacks. We would plant a box, come back in a few days and the seedlings would have disappeared. Did we plant them out too young, was the soil surface drying out and the shallow roots, unable to access water, succumbing? Were flocks of sparrows entering the greenhouse and helping themselves? Was it the pill bugs roaming around in the manure we had added or .... was this fellow to blame!?? Does he look like a likely culprit?
Mr. Pheasant the boldest fellow ever!
No one is above suspicion ... so Out you Go! too much to loose here.
In Conclusion ...
At the moment the season cannot happen fast enough and I am chomping at the bit. In a bit I will be wishing that we could slow it all down, so I will just remind myself to be here and now, get in step and enjoy the unfolding process.