Eager broccoli and other observations from the spring garden

broccoli seedlings in cell trayIt’s taken me a bit longer than usual to get into the gardening spirit this year. Pressures of work and family have left me with little time and even less energy and motivation for the other pursuits that provide a much-needed escape. I thank the earthly spirits for a mild winter which has provided a jumpstart to our growing season. And now that the March light is striking the earth at a sharper angle, the days have lengthened, the daffodils are on the verge of opening, it seems that my gardening spirit has finally re-emerged.

The winter has been so mild that the ground never really froze, so several weeks back I was able to plant my peas and even sowed several rows of spinach. This past weekend I was able to get my broccoli, leeks and scallions started in cell trays set on heat mats. The broccoli must have been quite eager because seedlings emerged in less than two days with near 100% germination. After 4 days the first leeks and scallions are just beginning to show themselves.

emergent garlicMy garlic bed is finally showing signs of life. In past years, my garlic had emerged in the fall, overwintered under the snow and ice, and then resumed its growth after the spring melt. I’m growing it in a new bed this year and until this week, there hadn’t been a single emergent shoot. Naturally, I was assuming the worst, that all 100 cloves had simply rotted away in too-damp soil conditions. (Editor’s note: The garlic ended up growing beautifully producing nearly 100 heads).

pineapple blossomFinally, I am happy to announce that I will (hopefully) soon be the proud papa of a brand new baby pineapple! Four years ago, in another of my grand experiments, I decided to root the top of a pineapple according to some instructions I ran across online. It rooted nicely and as it grew I transplanted it into larger and larger pots until this past fall I could barely lift it to carry it back into the house to overwinter. This being Massachusetts and zone 6, I never seriously considered that it would ever blossom, and if it did blossom, I would have expected it to occur during the summer. So we have a winter pineapple in Massachusetts. I’m sure many people have done the same but, even admitting that this is mostly the result of luck and serendipity, I also feel a certain level of pride in this accomplishment.

About John

John spends his days as C.O.O. of a health communications company researching and developing innovative communications solutions to enhance patient-provider engagement and learning. His passions include gardening, cycling, hiking, kayaking, and fishing any and all of which he would be thrilled to do full time if he could figure out how to make a livable wage doing so.

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2 Responses to Eager broccoli and other observations from the spring garden

  1. Courtney March 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    I feel you on the “mild winter/ slow start to gardening” issue. We’ve had hardly any snow here in Montana all winter. Really, I think we’re at half of our normal snowpack, which doesn’t bode well for summer fire season.

    But! The growing must begin! I noticed my first spring bulb poking through this week. Next weekend is devoted to turning the frozen compost pile and prepping beds.

  2. PVE March 9, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    On your pineapple “adventure,” MO, include patience.
    Much as JRE & his avacado tree. Unfortunately, his prize was chewed up by Frisky, the family pet at the time.

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