I am currently hardening off some lettuce seedlings in the hopes that the lettuce harvest will continue over the summer. I decided to narrow the varieties down to the three that I think will be the most tolerant of the hotter weather: Simpson Elite, Pinares & Sierra MI. The spring sown leaf lettuce has all been pulled but the Pinares & Sierra MI are still chugging along – I will hold off on pulling these (or some of them anyhow), just to see how long they last.
|Lettuce - Hardening Off For Planting Next Week|
A couple of posts on Stoney Acres and Our Happy Acres got me thinking about starting some crops for the fall. The few times I tried growing crops for fall harvest, I was less than successful, probably because I would wait too long to start them. I’m still trying to figure out the timing on my plantings, specifically when beds that are currently occupied will be freed up for the next crop. There will likely be a lot of trial and error on this front over the next couple of years.
There is one bed, however, where no guessing is required and that is the garlic bed. This bed will be free by the end of July. So that gives me just over 60 days until our first frost date in early October plus an extra 30 days to get transplants to a good size.
When I ordered my seeds back in January, I didn’t really think about fall crops. So this week, I went to a local hardware store & browsed the skimpy offerings remaining on their seed stand.
I figured that this would be the perfect time to try a few vegetables that had not made it into my spring planting. So I purchased seeds for curly kale, broccoli & kohlrabi. I made sure that the days to maturity on the packets were around 60 days or less. As mentioned in the Stoney Acres post, I should add an extra 10 days to the dates on the packet as plants tend to grow a bit more slowly in cool fall temperatures. Unfortunately, I had very little choice in terms of variety.
So this is what I ended up with:
|Hardware Store Seed Purchase|
The specific varieties are: Dwarf Green Curled Kale, Munchkin Broccoli, Early White Vienna Kohlrabi. I love kale & broccoli, but have never tried kohlrabi. When I saw the seed packet, however, I couldn’t resist. Since I like every other member of the cabbage family (those that I have tried, anyhow), I’m optimistic that I will enjoy this as well.
And one last thing before I sign off. Look what was waiting for me on the porch the other day:
|New Seed Trays|
You’re probably thinking “So what? You purchased seed trays – no biggie”. Well, it is a big deal because these are Quadruple Thick seed trays.
I had purchased a few “regular” trays (read: flimsy) in the spring and they were already cracking on the top edges after only a month or two of use. Yes, they were only $1.45 each but every time I pick them up I have to be super careful, especially when they are loaded up with transplants. I just can’t see them lasting very long. I would much rather pay more & have a nice sturdy tray that will not bend, crack or leak. Not only would it last longer, but it would also be much less frustrating to use.
So I started a hunt for better trays. Unfortunately, we do not have the same variety of products that folks in the United States have. Often, you either have to pay an exorbitant amount of money (shipping on some of this stuff is MORE than the cost of the item!!), make a trip across the border, or simply do without.
Luckily, I found the trays I was looking for on Amazon.ca (btw I am not affiliated with Amazon in any way, so this is simply an fyi link). They were $30 for 5 trays (with free shipping – yeah!). In the United States they are quite a bit cheaper - $14.95 - but you have to pay for shipping. I’m sure there are probably many other suppliers in the US that carry them as well.
$6 for a tray is a lot more than $1.45. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have to say these are absolutely AWESOME! The difference between these and standard trays is dramatic. They do not flex at all when they are loaded up with transplants. The plastic is very sturdy – the closest thing I can compare it to is the thick, smooth plastic pots large shrubs and trees come in (not the thinner corrugated type pots). I am using one of the trays for my lettuce transplants and I love it…these will definitely last for years and years. The manufacturers motto is that it’s “the last plant tray you will ever buy” – and I believe it!
Till next time…☺