October 24, 2011

Broadcast Seeded Beets and Swiss Chard

The gentle Detroit Red beets.
The stout and tender Swiss chard.
Left: Two rows of sugar snap peas. Right: Double row of broad Windsor fava bean bed.
Left: Broadcast seeded Swiss chard and Beets. Right: Volunteer lettuce and radish.
Detroit Red beets and Swiss chard were broadcast seeded and then lightly raked over 2 weeks ago and are now sprouting beautifully. They still have 4 weeks to fill out and become established before the killing frost is forecasted for the end of November. The area the beets have sprouted is a bit thin so I'll probably fill it in with pre-sprouted Bloomsdale spinach seeds.

I'm currently pre-sprouting Bloomsdale spinach and Sugar Snap peas which seem to have problems germinating and breaking through heavy soil, it's a good way to check germination rates since these seeds are from 2009. Pre-sprouting is simple just wrap the seeds in moist papertowels and rinse with fresh water a couple of times a day until little rootlets appear and then gently plant them out singly in little holes. The seeds come up much quicker this way compared to just planting out seeds and watering the soil, germination rates seem to be higher with this method. This works especially well with eggplants and peppers which are notoriously finicky about sprouting at warm temperatures, just put the moist seeds in a warm place like on top of the refrigerator or near a heater.

Before this I have only gardened in the high desert of Idaho. A beautiful and wild landscape of high mountain pines, and desert valleys with sagebrush and dust storms blowing through. Rough country. Stark and uncompromising. Breeding rough private people who want of wide open vistas and to live the independent life. I miss the mountains. I miss the desert. But really, I miss the mountains the most.

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