The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How early can you plant spring crops?

Winter weedingI hope that when I reported that the Persephone Days were over, you didn't rush out to plant your spring vegetables.  Once daylength is longer than ten hours, surviving crops like kale will start growing again, but that doesn't mean the ground is warm enough for seeds to sprout

Lettuce, onions, and spinach can all handle soil temperatures as low as 35 while most other spring crops like the earth to have warmed to at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  I tested the soil temperature in the sunniest part of our garden last week, and the ground underneath our quick hoops was just barely 35 degrees, while unprotected soil was hovering right around freezing.

Most of the plants under my quick hoops are starting to grow again, but the tatsoi totally perished in the winter cold.  That means I had a spot just waiting to plant spring lettuce!  Rip out a few weeds, toss down a bucket of composted manure, then sprinkle on lettuce seeds, and the first garden bed of 2012 is seeded for March harvests.

Our chicken waterer takes the mess out of backyard chicken care.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I am itching to plant some beds as well. I will have to buy some row covers and give your quick hoops a try!
Comment by Eric in Japan Wed Feb 1 10:42:25 2012
I think you're significantly warmer than we are --- maybe you could plant some lettuce even without a quick hoop!
Comment by anna Wed Feb 1 13:48:37 2012

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