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Monday, February 20, 2012

Almost Spring

We had promising weather of spring for a few days but in reality spring is a few more weeks ahead. The very limited spring that Kansas gets. I noticed the tulips and day lilies have started to grow and are now a few inches out. I did go out and give them a little fertilizer since they have started growing.

Today the weather is very windy but still a rather mild temperature of 46 degrees F. The date to begin planting winter/early spring was the 15th of February but I did get a late start and started planting February 17, 2012.. Today I am planning to plant a couple more trays.  I still make soil blocks since I have found them the easiest and cheapest way to produce seedlings. It is almost like just growing in a tray but you do not have to transplant by trying to carefully dig out the seedlings since the are going in little cubes. It seems like a chore and you have less of a survival rate. It is amazing how well the cubes stay in contact without falling apart if you are careful with the watering. The technique is slowly picking up in the United States but has been used for years in Europe.

The following were the seeds planted 2/17/20:

Garden Wild Kale

This is a new variety that I am trying this year that I  purchased from Bountiful Gardens. This is a variety you can select strains that are adaptable to your own farm environment.  I am not sure if I will collect seeds yet but will wait for them to grow and see if I like them.

January King

This is a cabbage that has been around before 1885. It will be the first time I have grown the variety myself and will see how it does in this area. 

Cabbage, Savory, Samantha 

This is a another savory cabbage. It is a compact growing type. My seeds were from Johnny's Select Seeds. I did not see them for sale in this years catalog but it is still poplar in Europe. Maybe Americans do not like the pointed heads on this type.

Chard, Swiss "Rainbow"

I really like this Swiss chard. It is both colorful and flavorful. I use it in stir-fries and in soups. I grow this every year now.

Today My plant is to plant:

American Blackcurrant

This seed was purchased from Bountiful Gardens to grow as  permaculture at the edge of my wood lot. I have had them in the fridge for over 60 so I will try planing them.

Wonderberry, Garden Huckleberry, Sunberry

I have tried growing these before and still have seeds I purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. I will again grow these seeds. The wonderberry is a cross made by Luther Burbank. The fruit is only good for deserts so I am not sure if it will be a plant I will keep growing. I have wild plums, grapes and other. The seeds might be worthwhile to keep in long storage just in case.

Today I will plant some more cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables.

Chinese Cabbage "Michihil"-Ferry Morse
Broccoli "De Cicco" - Ferry Morse
Gonzales Mini Cabbage- Pinetree
  At first I thought this would be great because it produces a small head. I do not      think I will grow again after these seeds are gone.

Cauliflower "Summer Harvest Hybrid" - Burpee
This is the first year to try this cauliflower. Cauliflower does not like to grow for me in Kansas. The weather goes from winter to summer very quickly with little or no real spring type weather.

Brussels Sprouts "Catskill" - Ferry Morse
I have started to have some luck with brussell spouts. This type has so far been the best. Brussels Sprouts are still a little tricky. I will try again starting them in August to over winter. I seem to have luck growing them that way.

Update 2/20/2012:

The cabbage planted 2/15/2012 has started to germinate.

I find it interesting that the USDA zones this area as the Smokey hills while the KU website shows the area as the Flint Hill and most of Dickerson County is.  It gets rather flat between here and the Smokey Hills near Salina, KS. We used to be  zone 5 but a few years ago they changed the area to zone 5b.

 USDA Gardening and Plant Hardiness Zone Map for Kansas

USDA Hardiness Zone:
Zone 5b: -15F to -10F
PlantMaps Hardiness Zone:
Zone 5b: -15F to -10F
Days Where Temp Exceeds 86°F:
61 - 90 days
27a - Smoky Hills
Freeze Data:
Average First Frost October 11 - 20
Average Last Frost: April 11 - 20
Current Drought Data:
Drought Conditions: Normal
Palmer Drought Index: 0.30
Local Climate Data
MonMin FMax FPrecip In.

Flint Hills Map
drawing of outline of this region on Kansas map

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