More Sowing, Potting Up & Waiting

Last week I sowed a couple of cell packs of Swiss chard.  I am growing the same kind as last year – “Fordhook Giant”.

So let me backtrack a little to my Swiss chard fiasco of 2013.  In the spring, I sowed a couple of cell packs with Swiss chard and everything was going well until I transplanted the seedlings outside where they were ALL promptly eaten by rabbits.  But I was determined to have Swiss chard so I started again (after putting up a make-shift chicken wire fence around all 4 beds).

My 2nd sowing was going ok until one of the seedlings keeled over – damping off rears its VERY ugly head.  Only 4 out of 9 seedlings survived, all of which I transplanted outside. And just as I was breathing a sigh of relief, I lost all four to slugs and/or earwigs – not sure which.  There was one saving grace, however.  I had not pulled up the original plants that had been chewed up by the rabbits & these started to get some new growth from the base.

So now for the good news - the few plants that survived, even in the face of all these problems, were awesome – huge, tender & delicious.  I am now much better prepared (I think) and will be able to (hopefully) avoid or at least minimize these issues going forward.

This past week I also potted up my peppers into 3” pots.  Most of them were ready for potting up, but there were a few that were still pretty small (because of the germination issues I talked about HERE) & only had one set of true leaves.  To make it easier on myself, however, I decided to pot them all up at the same time.

Sweet & Hot Peppers - All Potted Up
I am still in the process of creating my raised beds.  I need to have four (out of nine) finished asap so that I can transplant the onions, rapini and collards as well as get my peas in the ground.  I have finished constructing the beds themselves & moved three of them into place.  Easy.  Filling them with the triple mix that currently sits on my driveway?  Not so easy – kind of back-breaking actually.  But you gotta do what you gotta do.

Partially Filled New Beds
Both beds in this photo are 4'x 8' - Talk about pictures being deceiving!
Most of the delay in finishing the beds has to do with weather conditions which have been WAY below seasonal.  Right now we should be averaging around 15°C (59°F) during the day but we are LUCKY if we get to 8° or 9°C (46°-48°F).  And the wind chill is often several degrees lower - not exactly raised bed making weather.

My poor onions, collards & rapini are waiting to be transplanted – I have been hardening them off for over two weeks now (as I thought I would have had the beds finished way before this) and they are a bit worse for the wear.  My poor babies have been battered pretty badly by winds on at least 3 or 4 days & it shows.  The rapini, especially, seems to be rather delicate.  I probably should have placed them in a much more sheltered area - I just read that they tend to bolt if they are stressed in any way.  I’m pretty sure my rapini IS stressed – and now, so am I.

Hardening Off Spinach & Rapini
And just to make things that much more interesting, we are expecting 4 days of rain from a system that is apparently massive but very slow moving.  I mean, really...this couldn’t have come at a WORSE time!  I hope my seedlings continue to hang in there for just a little longer.

Till next time…


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