I began hardening off some spring crops last weekend. Onions, Swiss Chard, Chinese Cabbage, Pak Choi, Spinach and Lettuce were allowed to sun themselves outside a little at a time. I like to begin this process while I am home the weekend so I can watch over the seedlings to make sure they are not becoming stressed from the sun or wind. I also make sure they are watered during the time they are out.
After several days, the seedlings are usually ready to be shuffled outside before I head into work and brought inside after dinner. I will skip a day if the weather is expected to be especially rainy or windy. A cold frame would really come in handy right now.
Swiss Chard, Pak Choi and Chinese Cabbage were bursting from their soil blocks, so they were transplanted mid-week to the garden. I am not sure how they will do as some of our nighttime temperatures are still dipping below freezing. For now, they are under protection of a makeshift hoop covered with a lightweight row cover:
|Makeshift hoop covered with a lightweight row cover|
A simple dome made with two 10 foot PVC conduit has been placed over the 4x4 SFG. On very cold nights like tonight, the bed is covered with plastic for added protection. Tonight temperatures may go as low as 21 degrees F.
The SFG beds have been cleaned up and fresh compost added and worked in. They are ready for planting whenever the weather cooperates. The next few days will also remain quite chilly with nights still dipping below freezing:
Here are some pictures of the spring seedlings and other things that are growing in the garden:
|Onions Enjoying the Sun|
|Some overwintered bunching onions|
|Garlic peeking up through the leaf mulch|
I was planning on transplanting the spinach seedlings under the hoop this weekend. However, fluctuating temperatures must have confused them. Most of the spinach began bolting within a few days of hardening off (sigh). I will harvest the spinach and direct seed some more in the garden.