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What seeds are we starting this week?

Asparagus!

Purchasing crowns is another alternative to starting from seed. Crowns are about two years older and will be at a harvestable size earlier.

Starting from seed does require more time and a delicate transplanting hand. Seeds can take up to 21 days for germination so patience is a virtue.

Asparagus seeds should be started in 4″ pots and sown at approximately 1/8″ deep. Avoiding multiple “potting ups” is one of the keys to success.

These beautiful perennial edibles can supply food for up to twenty years! Bed preparation, soil fertility and nutrition will certainly pay off immeasurably.

Female asparagus typically produce less than their male counterparts but produce tiny flowers that the chubbiest Bombus occidentalis (a vulnerable species of Bumble Bee) will attempt to squeeze themselves into. The striking red berries on the wispy fronds are quite a sight to see in the fall.

We have had enormous interest in purchasing our divided Spring crowns…our household has yet to come to an agreement as the mouth watering flavor of our Asparagus is priceless (I am being humble here).

Another inquiry is if we have Asparagus seeds available: not yet…we are putting our energy into the future.

Happy Growing!

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What zone are you in? Above frozen ground..

The USDA has a tool that outlines annual extremes for minimum temperature across 13 areas of the U.S.

An example of a zone represented in Southcentral Alaska is zone 4.

The USDA map has minimum temperatures of -30F to -20F for zone 4.

We can use this zone tool to help guide us when adding perennials (plants that live more than two years) and biennials (plants that complete their lifecycle in two years) to our garden spaces.

If I am shopping and find a “zone 7” plant , I may be able to grow this plant as an annual but the rate of overwinter survival will be less as the minimum temperature for a “zone 7” plant is 0F to 10F and the minimum temperatures in zone 4 may be way too cold for this plants survival without certain extreme protection measures.

When we are discussing annual plants (those plants that complete their life cycle in one year) we need know our frost free dates. This is the span of time where we can reasonably expect not to have killing frosts (28F and below).

For my landscape and microclimate growing spaces this is from May 1 (ish) – Sept 30 (ish). As nature doesn’t always fit in the “box” we can expect seasons to extend and sometimes shorten.

Nature is dynamic…not static

Certain plants can withstand much colder temperatures and overwintering with meticulous care of the soil, the enhancement of natural microclimates and a keen understanding of individual plant species coupled with extensive season extension. Taking growing risks is a fun garden challenge I look forward to every year.

We can use these tools as a guide to direct us towards plant choices and landscape design. Check your zone for perennials and biennials and know your frost free dates for annuals.

Here is a link for the USDA hardiness zones: https://plants.usda.gov/hardiness.html

Here is a link for frost free dates: https://www.almanac.com/gardening/frostdates

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What seeds are we starting this week?

Long season leeks… 120+ days

Some leeks are known to grow very s-l-o-w-l-y and we want to give them just the right amount of time before setting them out. We are roughly 12-14 weeks away from our target transplanting date.

Some folks find sowing seed in 10×20 trays (with drainage holes) and hand dropping seeds works well. Using this method, seeds can be planted 1/4″ deep and roughly 1/4″ apart.

Once your glorious leeks reach about 2″ in height, they can be transplanted into larger individual containers such as cell packs or 2″ pots.

Once leeks have reached about 5″ in height- a hair cut is in order. Trim back to 2″ and enjoy a zesty snack. 10 days to 2 weeks prior to your target transplant date start hardening off your leeks to the outdoor elements.

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A children’s garden

With my new born strapped to my chest, we spent countless hours in the garden together. As out little grew, our garden changed…the running, jumping, skipping and falling of a toddler demanded a softer growing space.

With the big “8” around the corner, our garden will change yet again. Our daughter wants her own space to grow, experiment and “be”.

Plants that were quite fun during her toddler stage were dwarf varieties like “Tom” pea, lettuce and tomatoes. Berries are always a fan favorite- be careful with the thorns. Colorful pint sized garden tools and a heaping pile of soil were all the tools we needed for a fun filled afternoon.

As we both continue to grow I am appreciative of the time we have together to tend to our inner and outer garden.

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What seeds are we starting this week?

The light is returning onto the land as we slowly approach the growing season. In this interim period, the long season fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs can be sown indoors in the hopes of a plentiful harvest come fall.

This week we are starting wild or “woodland” strawberries. This edible ground cover is rumored to have been consumed by cave dwelling folk.

Bare root plants can be purchased and transplanted in early Spring as an alternative to having plants grown indoors for nearly half a year.

Wild strawberries can and should be divided in the early Spring once they are well established (about 3-4 years).

Perennial food plants require nourishment and protection from severe fluctuations in their local climate. Well aged compost is an excellent overall Spring fertility side dress.

These gorgeous berries do not store well and are best consumed fresh or preserved into your favorite treats.

We are tirelessly working on adding wild strawberries to our seed offering…fingers crossed for fall 2021!