How to Series: Spring seed sowing part 1 – Lettuce, Spinach and Radishes

Now that I got vegetable planting calendar ready for year 2011, here are basic things I am going to follow for spring vegetable garden. Weather is amazing nice in NW, sun is out, days are getting longer and warmer. This is great time to seed, but weather can turn unpredictable and we can end up with snow in April or May. I have decided to sow all my spring vegetables in container or under cover.

Lettuce Seedling
Lettuce Seedlings emerging – April 2010

Raised Bed
Lettuce from last year’s garden (LEFTmost row)

– Lettuce : (40-50 Days in Spring)
Sow seeds in Late February (harvest micro greens/baby leaves in late March).
Sow again in mid-March for second spring crop (harvest by mid –late April)

Sow seeds in late February, preferable in container, so if weather turns freezing, container can be covered or brought inside. I have already seen lettuce seedling in my neighbors front yard, her lettuce bolted last year and seeds were scattered all over her front yard. Lettuce does not tolerate frost, it has to be protected in winter weather. Growth is limited due to limited sunlight this time of the year but micro-greens or baby leaves can be harvested as early as 3rd week of March. To maximize output, sow lettuce where maximum sunlight is obtained (southwest side of your garden).



Spinach growing in container – April 2010

– Spinach : (60-70 Days in Spring)
Sow seeds in Late February (harvest by mid-late May)
Sow seeds in mid-March for second spring crop (harvest by mid-late May)

Sow seeds in late February, in container OR direct seed in raised bed. Spinach is semi frost tolerant so be prepared to cover your raised bed in case of freezing temps/snow. Container sown Spinach can be brought inside in case of freeze. Spinach is cool weather crop so expect it to thrive in late March. February and March sown seeds are harvested around same time in mid-late May(March sown Spinach grows faster due to warm weather and better sunlight). As always, plant early crops where better sunlight is sought.


Cherry Belle Radish emerging from soggy grounds – May 2010

– Radish: (45 Days in Spring)
Sow in container late March/early April (harvest by Mid May)

Sow seeds in late March. I like to do first planting in container till frost danger is passed. And also slugs LOVE radish, since slugs are prolific in spring, I like to control slug damage by sprinkling sluggo/oatmeal/copper wire around containers. Radish are cool weather crop.

Contd…. (next to come: Green Onion, Broccoli and Peas)


Starting Vegetable Garden in 2011? Vegetable Planting Timeline



Groundhog day has passed, prediction is for early spring. Weather in pacific northwest is staying amazing (please no jinx). East and Midwest is getting pounded by freezing temps and unbelievable record snow. All while, we in NW have record high temps in January (for second year in row), February has brought sun. Well, last year January was unseasonably dry and warm and June/July saw mild temp and constant rain. I can take wintry January but please please let this years June/July be nice.

All this sun and warm temperatures are making me plan for this years garden. Here are some thoughts about prepwork and seeds to sow. Late Winter/Early Spring is all about cool season vegetables – these are frost-hardy, thrive in cool weather, and do well in early spring

February month is all about cleaning the garden, removing last years dead plants, removing weeds and put some soil, compost in raised beds.

I usually start sowing seeds beginning of March. I know, according to “the experts” I should start 8-10 weeks before last frost i.e. by Feb 1st week. But I like to wait.  Since I do not have fancy set up of racks, greenhouse and artificial light, waiting till March gives much better results for me.

Here is Planting calendar for growing vegetables in Northwest.

Type Indoor Sow Date Transplant Direct Sow Date
Green Onion 1-Mar 1-Apr
Lettuce 1-Mar 1-Apr
Spinach 1-Mar
Broccoli 15-Mar 15-Apr
Cabbage 15-Mar 30-Apr
Cauliflower 15-Mar 30-Apr
Swiss Chard 15-Mar 15-Apr
Peas 20-Mar
Tomatoes 1-Apr 15-May
Radishes 1-Apr
Fenugreek (Methi) 1-Apr
Beets 5-Apr
Peppers – Sweet/Hot 15-Apr 1-Jun
Basil 15-Apr 1-Jun
Carrots 20-Apr
Green Sorrel (Chuka) 1-May
Green Beans 20-May
Cucumbers 1-Jun
Cilantro 1-Jun
Dill (Shepu) 1-Jun
Zucchini 10-Jun
Brussel Sprouts 1-Jun 1-Jul

In my next post, I’ll take up detailed planting for each of the vegetables.

Year 2010 in Summary

Fall has passed and Spring is in short distance, I have been away from blogging for many cold months. Before I jumpstart on planning for year 2011, I want to look back at 2010, tally all expenses. Joy of growing vegetables is great, what’s greater is involvement of my kids, it’s amazing to watch – kids will actually EAT the usual and unusual vegetables we grow if they’re involved in seed starting, harvesting, watering.

It’s been good year so far. Joys of growing and harvesting are unmatched but If I have to put $$ to the year review, here it is. Of course manual labor hours are not considered 🙂
Total Spend = $130.21
Total Cost of Food Produced = $199.89

It’s boring to look at number but here’s tally of yearly harvest.

    Count $$
Summer Veggies Tomatoes (Agatha, Beaverlodge) 47 10.8
  Grape Tomatoes 85 8.5
  Mild Peppers (Cubanese, Jalapenos) 10 1
  Eggplant 1 0.2
  Hot Peppers 13 1.25
Roots Beets 1 0.5
  Radish 38 5.2
  Potatoes 4 lbs 3.2
  Turnips 7 3
Fruits Cherries 74 10
  Blueberries 79 8
  Raspberries 143 12
  Strawberries 73 15
Vegetables Green Beans 250 17.5
  Snap Peas 143 13.04
  Squash (yellow and green) 6 2.5
  Zucchini 8 6.5
Greens Bok Choy 3 bunches 3.5
  Chard 5 bunches 5
  Dill (Shepu) 10 bunches 10.2
  Fenugreek 35 bunches 34.5
  Lettuce 3 heads 4
  Mustard (Sarso) 1 bunch 0.8
  Rapini 1 bunch 1.5
  Salad (micro greens) handful 0.2
  Salad (Mesculan Mix) 6 servings 3.2
  Spinach 1 serving 1
Brassica Broccoli 1 0.3
  Cauliflower 1 mini 0.1
Alliums Spring Onion 26 3.5
Herbs Chives 13 oz 9.1
  Mint 26 snips 6
  Oregano 4 snips 0.8

Thank you for reading!