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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Plants and Planets

As of today we have 60 4' x 50' beds plowed and several of these will be tilled and almost ready to plant by this evening. this is over a full acre of market garden almost ready to go. Last fall I did not think we would be so far so soon. Of course I was thinking we would have winter and that has not happened yet. So we have had a lot of decent weather to work in.

Not that we have anything ready to put in them yet but in about two weeks we will have a lot of things to put in the ground. Mid March means the arrival of 300 day neutral strawberry plants and 300 asparagus plants (250 are green and 50 are purple). These have been mail ordered from Krohne's nursery in SW Michigan. We have used these guys for several years. They are by no means organic but they have high quality plants and good prices and good customer service to boot. So we stick with them.

We should also have a bunch of lettuce ready to go into a hoophouse. I planted lettuce 5 days ago and it has already germinated. I did 4 kinds, Simpson Elite, Marvel of 4 Seasons, Lollo Rossa (my favorite) and Rouge D'hiver. Other than the Simpson all are heirloom lettuces and all very beautiful and tasty. After you have eaten heirloom lettuces it is hard to go back to pedestrian leaf, green romaine and iceberg lettuce.

Come March 1st it will be time to plant the early tomatoes! I am frankly amazed that it is already time to do this. Last Saturday March seemed about 4 years away and now it has rushed up on me behind my back. But the tomatoes have to be big enough to go out in a hoophouse around April 1st and it takes a minimum of 4 weeks to get them to that point so it seems it is time.

Tonight there is a celestial wonder happening. Mercury will be very visible in the western sky at sunset and for about an hour afterwards. this is by far the best I have ever seen this planet. It is extremely rare to see it in the first place because it is so close to the sun and generally when it is visible it is very hard to see. I have seen it twice (maybe 3 times) before but nothing like this. It will be visible until March 1st and than it goes away again.

Ironically we are growing a new red onion this year called Mercury. It replaces Mars which did not germinate for us this year due to using old seed and the commercial seed suppliers had failures so no way to buy more seed. I think it is fitting in a year where Mars will be dim and Mercury will be so strong (well, for Mercury and albeit for a very short time) that we are growing an onion called Mercury.

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