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Next Steps For Your Spring Garden

Have you noticed?  The days are getting longer, like, really longer.  We’re half way through the month of February, which puts the Spring Equinox about five weeks out.  Five more weeks, and we’ll reach that magical time in spring where our days are over 12 hours, and they just keep getting longer.  Folks, it’s garden time.

If you caught my post last month that details what you needed to do to get your seed starting gear ready for spring, and if you followed-through, your seed starting gear should be ready to go.  This is good news, because the time to start seeds is now – now as in this weekend and next weekend.

You have a couple of plant categories you should get started this month – the cold season vegetables for transplant, and the warm season plants that need a long run time to get established.  Note: If you start warm season plants now, you will need a place to keep them until late May or early June.  A greenhouse or warm window sill with the addition of a grow light is usually sufficient. 

Here are some of the seeds I’m starting in the next couple of weeks:

Cold Season Starts (this week)

  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard
  • Spinach
  • Purple Orach
  • All Brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, mizuna, tatsoi, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower)
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Lettuces (all varieties)

Warm Season Starts (next week)

  • Tomatoes (all varieties)
  • Basil

Many other cool season vegetables benefit from direct sowing in your garden (i.e. carrots, beets, turnips, radishes etc.), so save planting space for these seeds that you’ll plant later in the spring.

Again, check your bees.  If you’re in Colorado Springs I would strongly recommend that you check your bees either Saturday or Sunday of this coming weekend.  The temperatures will be warm enough to open up the hive, and you need to check their food supply.  We still have a couple of months before wild food sources become available to the bees (i.e. dandelions), so there’s still plenty of time for your bees to starve.  Open the hive, check on the colony, assess their available food, and take corrective measures if necessary.

If you keep meat rabbits, this is the time to have your does breed.  Rabbits suffer in the heat, and many does will not take to breeding in hot weather.  Have your does breed late this month or early next, for kits (baby rabbits) in late March or early April.

Order pullets this month if you need replacement hens for your backyard flock.  Many hatcheries sell out early – order now.

One last thing I would recommend you do this month is check your season extending gear, and patch-up or repair as needed.  Season extending gear can be anything from high tunnels to old plastic 1- gallon milk jugs with the tops and bottoms cut-off.  Whatever you use, make sure it is in good repair and ready to go – you’re going to need it next month or soon after.

So there you have it, your marching orders for February.  So, don’t get behind on your seed starting; if you get behind you’ll never get caught-up – plants don’t grow faster just because you started your seed late in the season.

And lastly, enjoy the first inklings of spring – the growing season is nearly upon us.

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2 Responses to Sustainability Experts Sound Off

  1. Tascha October 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Christine – what a great question and diverse answers. I’d like to think that the shift in demand is an indicator, but as you know, most of the demand is still through our traditional food sources (big chain grocery with an organics line, fast food with healthier choices). Jury is still out on whether they are truly sourcing from sustainable ag. And as I look around Colorado Springs, yes we have great farmers markets and CSAs, but many of the farmers markets are selling right off the same trucks that come from Mexico to supply grocery stores.

    What I do see is that people are questioning more and more information is getting out there. I also think that as the economy starts to pick up again that more folks will allow their money to follow their values (spending a bit more in order to get sustainably grown food).

    • Christine October 31, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

      Ya’ know, I tend to agree with you, Malik and a few others that the most significant indication of a “shift” is the fact that people are talking about this. Folks are having real conversations about food, agriculture, sustainability, GMOS’s, organic, and humanely raised. This is new and radical, and in my mind it is moving our culture closer to a sustainable food system.

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