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

Mid-spring planting

Soaking peas

The planting calendar looks totally different now that I have a soil thermometer.  This week, I had planned to plant the rest of the peas, a bed of garbanzo beans, and a quick hoop of broccoli and cabbage to make my own sets.  Then I was going to wait two weeks and plant carrots and parsley.

Pea sprouting out of the groundBut my seed germination temperature chart notes that all of these vegetables require the same soil temperature --- 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  The mule garden soil is currently 41 to 43 degrees, with lots of sunny weather in the forecast, so the ground is only going to get warmer.  After learning all of that, I couldn't figure out why I would wait to plant my carrots and parsley.

In fact, I probably could have put all of these guys in the ground three weeks ago.  Although the soil chilled down a bit afterwards, it was just barely warm enough to plant a bed of peas on February 20, and the sprouts from the pre-soaked seeds are already two inches out of the ground.  If I'd trusted my soil thermometer and taken full advantage of this early spring, could I have been eating carrots in the middle of April without even growing them in a quick hoop?  Maybe next year I'll be braver and give it a shot.

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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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