Our 2021 Garden: getting organized

I needed to divert myself with positive thinking, and what better way to do that than to think of gardening!

Also, I am striving mightily to NOT start those tomatoes yet, so sitting here and writing about starting them is keeping me from starting them. πŸ˜€

I will explain shortly.

First, I went through the seed packs and took out the ones that need to be started indoors. Here they are.

Then I worked out which ones need to be planted when. Here they are, in order of when they should be started indoors.

You can probably see where I might be having some problems.

Right around May.

It’s the tomatoes that are teasing me. I’ve never grown tomatoes before, and the Spoon tomatoes in particular are a new variety. Even in the reviews, I saw no one in Zone 3 that grew them. In my research, I have found articles from people in our zone who experimented with different tomato starting times, and they generally found that starting them earlier did not benefit them in any way. And yet… there are Zone 3 gardeners who have already potted their seedlings up. The down side of giving up social media for Lent is, I’m no longer seeing the gardening groups about it! But there are other resources and, at the very least, waiting another week will not cause problems. However, if you are a Zone 3 gardener who has experience growing tomatoes from seed, please do feel free to leave a comment! I am eager for the voice and advice of experience!

Next on the calendar are the gourds, in late April. Ozark Nest Egg, Birdhouse, Dishcloth/Luffa, Tennessee Dancing and Thai Bottle gourds. How many we plant of each will depend on how prolific the variety is expected to be. I’ve read that the Tennessee Dancing gourds, which are quite tiny, are extremely prolific. We’ll probably plant just a couple of seeds of those, and shoot to have one plant, while we’ll probably look to have 3 or 4 Birdhouse gourd plants. I learned from last year, not to jump the gun on our frost date of June 2, but we also need to keep in mind that we could still get a frost after that date, so I’d rather have more plants than less.

All of these will be trellised in some way.

Then there is early May.

Oh, my.

All the winter and summer squash, pumpkins and melons need to be started at the same time! Our winter squashes are Teddy and Little Gem. They’re small and I expect them to be fairly prolific, so we probably won’t be starting the entire packets of seeds, but we will likely plant at least half, depending on how many seeds are in the packages. We also have the tiny Baby Pam pumpkins, and I expect them to be fairly prolific, so we’ll likely plant half a package. The Crespo squash, however (listed as a type of pumpkin on the website) get huge, and will likely have fewer fruit per vine, so we will likely plant the entire packet of seeds.

The summer squash include Magda (light green), Goldy (yellow) and Endeavor (dark green) zucchini. Last year, few of them survived the late frost, so we didn’t have many of them. Even the surviving plants were not as prolific as the varieties normally are. We definitely want to have at least 3 or 4 of each. As for the Sunbrust squash, I got an extra packet of those, and we intend to plant two packets of seeds. They were a favorite last year, and we look forward to having lots!

The melons, Pixie and Halona, are small fruiting varieties. There don’t seem to be a lot of seeds in the packets, so we will likely plant all of them. Hopefully, they will be prolific.

A lot of these will be staked or trellised.

Next are the cucamelons and Montana Morado corn in late May. By which I mean, mid-May, so they’ll be ready to transplant after June 2.

We will be trying the cucamelons two ways; I potted up tubers from last year, which should mean getting an early start on them when they are transplanted in the spring, but we will also start a few indoors. It should be interesting to see what differences there are between them. Assuming the tubers survived their winter in the un-insulated old kitchen.

As for the corn… I have been researching that and I’m going to save my thoughts on those for their own post!

Then there are the sunflowers; Hopi Black Dye and Mongolian Giant. This will be another experiment. I got two packets of each. Last year, we direct sowed our giant sunflowers, then sowed another giant variety to make up for the losses from the first batch. They never really had the chance to fully mature. This year, we will start one packet of each, indoors, then will direct sow the other packets when we transplant the first ones outdoors. It should be interesting to see the difference.

Finding the space for all these starts is going to be a challenge. I’m hoping that, by the time we need to start so many seeds in early May, we will be able to use the sun room instead of fighting for space in the aquarium greenhouses. Last year, it was a somewhat chilly spring, and that wasn’t an option. However, if we can provide some sort of heat overnight, it might work this year, even if we get another chilly season.

While all of these need to be started indoors, there are also some things we will be able to direct seed “as soon as the ground can be worked”, which means in mid to late May. The bread seed poppies, kale and kohlrabi, peas, etc. will all be direct sown before any of these are ready to be transplanted. A lot of local people start putting their gardens in on the May long weekend, including transplants. If we had the things necessary to properly protect transplants from frost, I probably would do the same, but we don’t. Our attempts to protect them last year were not particularly successful. :-/ So we will wait for June on the transplants.

Now I just have to hold off another week, before starting those tomatoes!! πŸ˜€

The Re-Farmer

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