Posted by: Erin | March 25, 2009

Sprouts!

It’s been tough living in New England lately. I’m pretty sure we had spring my first year here, but ever since, it seems like we go straight from winter into summer. This year isn’t looking much different. We’ve had a few really nice days, but it always goes back to cold and/or windy. This past weekend, it was 25 degrees out and crazy windy. I went to the Bruins/Devils game on Sunday (and no, I don’t want to talk about it), and when I got outside, I realized it was warmer in the Garden, and, umm… it was SNOWING?? It’s nearly April. This has got to stop.

I get super antsy this time of year, because as the days get longer and we get more sunlight, my desire to be out in the garden becomes rather consuming. And right now, it’s STILL TOO COLD to plant much of anything. I’m going to start some seeds inside in the next week or two, once I’ve planned out what I want to grow this year (yeah, I know – I said I was going to do that like three weeks ago – I’ve been busy), but seriously – it needs to warm the hell up around here.

But there’s one slight upside to the still-cool weather: apparently, lettuce likes to grow in this kind of setting. I’ve never grown lettuce before, but I’ve wanted to try it for the last few years. The problem, though, is that everything I read says that lettuce should be grown in “early spring.” Well, that’s helpful. Here in Zone 6, “early spring” could mean anywhere from March until early May, the way temperatures jump around. Finally, I said the hell with it, and I bought some seeds at Target.

Usually, Target carries Burpee seeds, which is fine with me, but they also carry another line, Sean Conway. I’d intended to order seeds online from Burpee, since I wanted to get mainly organic versions of the herbs and veggies I want to grow this year (Target doesn’t seem to carry them), but I got impatient, so I went seed hunting on Saturday.

Sean Conway organic mesclun seeds

Of the Sean Conway seeds, there were some in their “Organic Garden” grouping, including a basil variety and a mesclun mix. I grabbed a small bag of MiracleGro organic potting soil, and off I went. (Even when spring is coming, Target is somewhat limited in its soil choices, and I didn’t have the energy/patience to go to Whole Foods for the Coast of Maine stuff I got there last time.)

Using an idea I got from Gayla Trail of YouGrowGirl.com (I’m telling you – I find the best stuff on Twitter), I salvaged a few plastic containers (which previously held mixed organic salad greens – how’s that for full circle?) from the recycling bin and proceeded to use my handy corkscrew to poke holes in the bottom. (Why a corkscrew? Because I was lazy and didn’t feel like getting out my tool box and finding a nail. It worked pretty well, either way, though the corkscrew might not be too pleased about it.) The containers fit really nicely into lids, which make handy drainage trays.

Lettuce babies!

I planted the seeds on Saturday afternoon. The back of the seed packet says the seeds are supposed to germinate in 10 – 14 days. So imagine my surprise when I looked this morning and saw about 20 little green bits poking out of the soil! Excitement! Green things!

mesclun_sprouts_03

From the looks of my happy little sprouts, I think they’re going to be the weird little green things just under the end of the red stripe in the photo on the package. I’m not sure what they are, but I imagine they’ll be just as tasty as the rest. Judging by where these sprouts have popped up, it must be that this particular variety germinated first – if it were all of them, there would be a lot more sprouts going on here. Wonder which ones will be next…

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