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

Sun-crazed planting

Pea transplantThe sun was shining, the snow was melting, the soil was warming...and I went a little nutty planting things.

I'll start with the least nutty part --- transplanting week-old pea seedlings. I've never tried starting peas inside before, and from various anecdotes on the internet it sounds like it's best to set them out as early as possible. Originally, I'd planned on keeping them inside for two weeks, but at a mere seven days the tap roots were already butting up against the bottom of the container. So I set the seedlings out inside a quick hoop where I'd used both plastic and row-cover fabric to preheat the soil. (In case you're curious, the combination gave me about a three-degree bonus over either layer alone.)

Lettuce and kale seedlings

Moving down the line to slightly nuttier behavior, I next set out a flat of week-old baby kale and lettuce that was mostly still at the cotyledon stage. I wouldn't have even considered this if I wasn't able to put the seedlings directly under quick hoops and to promise them a one-week grace period before winter returns. Still, the babies looked awfully tender out there in the winter dirt, and I'm not so sure they'll make it.

To hedge my bets, I set them out in three locations --- in the back garden where I'd been preheating soil for a while but where the ground was soggy wet, in the mule garden where I hadn't been preheating but where the sun had been shining hard on moist ground, and up against the west face of the trailer where the ground was actually a little too dry due to resting under the eaves. (I watered that last area lightly after planting.) Even if most of the crop fails, the experiment will be handy for pinpointing which zones are best for really pushing the spring envelope, so the seedlings' sacrifices won't have been in vain.

Speaking of pushing the spring envelope, I concluded my Friday craziness by moving a quick hoop off barely alive kale and onto dormant Galleta strawberries. The Galletas are already supposed to be an ultra-early variety, so I'm hopeful that a little soil preheating will net us homegrown fruit in early May...or maybe we'll just end up with early, frost-nipped blooms despite the row-cover fabric. Only time will tell.

(I know I didn't take enough photos to match the words in this post. Did I mention I was a little sun-crazed?! I'll do better next time.)

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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 did a bit of sun crazed planting too. We had a few days in the upper 60's so I ended up transplanting a couple flats of seedlings that where about 4 weeks old. It appears the 10 day forecast has changed to include one day below freezing (30F) so I may have to protect them for a night. I was considering watering them with warm water to help the soil stay warm and keep the seedlings safe that night.
Comment by Brian Mon Feb 22 09:52:38 2016

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