Since early February I've been bopping around Southern Ontario, attending various "Seedy" events as a vendor, and speaking at most of them too. This Saturday is Brampton, and if last year's inaugural event was any indication, there should be lots of interesting and interested people passing through the doors once again.
These events are fun because I get to meet some interesting people, see some familiar faces and talk about growing heirlooms.
On the down side is the stress that some of these conversations cause me. There are always some people that view growing food as a competitive sport, and are happy to divulge that, oh yes, "I've had my peppers planted for weeks now", or "I only got 20,000 leeks seeded this year", or better yet "I'm growing 2 million kinds of carrots this year."
To be honest, this stuff seldom stresses me out anymore. Maybe it's age, maybe it's my complete knowledge that bigger isn't better, and more is sometimes less. I'm just carrying on and doing what I do.
But I will sometimes take pause and think..."did I miss the boat-am I getting things in early enough?"
Then I stop myself and collect my thoughts.
It's just simply not too late for anything at all. And way too early for many things, especially this year.
I think that with the harsh winter we have had, that we just won't be able to get out on the land too early.
At this point the prediction is for a cold March, and with the amount of precipitation we've had, the ground, especially for us clay lovers, may be slow to dry up.
March will be a busy month to sow seed though, no question about it.
I've got all my onions seeded indoors under my lights, leeks as well and they are all nicely up. I seeded them in teeny tiny cells in a tray with about 300 cells. Ditto my perennial herbs such as oregano, parsley, rosemary and mint. They are all up too after being seeded 2 weeks ago.
I also made a point of getting my stupid hot peppers seeded like the Bhut Jolokia, Carolina Reaper and so on. I placed those trays on my heating mat as they appreciate a good bottom heat. With the woodstove going beside them, it's been imperative to check that they aren't drying out and keeling over.
It's looks like a good germination rate on all of them, a good thing indeed.
Opening the seed packs of the Carolina Reaper caused me to erupt into a coughing fit as the fumes assaulted me, so it's nice to know that the pain the seeds inflicted may not have been in vain.
Next week, I'll be planting the rest of the hot peppers, sweet peppers too and then the eggplants.
Again this year I will post a list of all the peppers and eggplants that will be available for purchase as plants.
Then it will be time for the artichokes, cardoon, strawberries (from seed), and a nice heirloom asparagus from France. I'll go through all my seed next week, and see what I've forgotten about that I'll need to get in.
The week after that, I start the tomatoes, preceded by the task of putting all the varieties in alphabetical order. March 15 is when I usually start, but I do a lot and need all that time.
The first week of April is more than enough time to get your tomatoes in and have them ready for the warmer weather. If it comes. Which I just bet it will.
I'll also start putting in some small crops in my hoophouses. Radishes, peas, spinach, scallions, lettuces will quickly get sown, and already there are mustards, claytonia, kales and a few other things popping up.
Today I was out in the hoophouse picking for a CSA delivery tomorrow. Hot is the word. As I picked the mizuna, arugula and red mustards, off went the winter coat, off went the sweatshirt, off went.... well you get the idea.
I will leave you now as I must apply a bit of soothing lotion to my sunburn. Yes....sunburn!