Hello, little arugula!
It's been almost two weeks since I planted my seeds and everything is starting to sprout. The arugula is coming along the fastest which is pretty amazing considering it's outside. Last year I started all my seeds in our front window because it's nice and warm and gets lots of afternoon sun. And I did that this year, too, except...I ran out of room on the windowsill. Oops! But then I realized that it's been so warm that I could probably just put the hardiest of my seeds (arugula, spinach and lettuce) outside in the sun as a sort of experiment. Well, luckily these past two weeks have been very warm so they all made it! Of course the threat of frost isn't totally over yet and I did bring all three pots in one night last week when it dipped down into the 40s overnight. But that's it! Here's the spinach:
Little green ones! The lettuce has also sprouted, too, but it is the smallest. Here's a blurry picture of the little lettuce:
The tricky part about starting these outdoors is that I've got to be very careful of the temperature getting too low and either bring them inside or cover them. I don't cover plants very much, though, since I'm afraid of forgetting to take the cover off during the day and steaming my plants to death (it can get really hot under there with just a little bit of sun.) But the payoff is that they've got to be pretty cold-hardy by now, so unless it does actually freeze they should be fine.
The more delicate plants are all in the front window. That's four kinds of tomatoes (Copia, Dr. Walter, Rutgers and Jersey Giant), Rosita eggplant, a sweet yellow pepper, basil, chives, and thyme. Here's the Copia tomato which, judging by my experience last year, will be the biggest of the four:
I say that they're going to be the biggest because last year, from the very start, the beefsteaks were always the biggest and fastest-growing. I guess if they're going to grow 6' tall they need to start growing early...
The Copia is actually a hybridization of a beefsteak, so they have lots in common. The Copia tends to be not quite as big (so I've read) and has yellow stripes. The Rutgers (developed at Rutgers University for Campbell's when they wanted a good canning tomato) is smaller than the Copia but is still fairly large. I decided to try Rutgers because of the local connection and also because I'm thinking of trying to can some vegetables this summer. And on that front, the Jersey Giant is also good for canning because it is long and narrow. And Dr. Walter? Well, could you resist a tomato called Dr. Walter? I certainly couldn't. Here are the little Dr. Walters growing:
Honestly, at this stage all the little seedlings look so much alike that I fear I would bore you all with pictures of each pot. Instead, let's go back outside where...
the mint is coming back! Always a welcome sight, especially this early on when it looks all innocent. You're only a few plants now, mint, but I know in a few months you'll be threatening to take over the whole garden.
Lastly we have this little cutie:
This is my Bartram's Garden strawberry! The man from Bartram's assured me that this strawberry had been growing outside all year long at Bartram's Garden so it would definitely survive the winter in my little backyard. Of course, it came in a very little pot so I transplanted it into the built-in raised bed kind of under some ivy which I hoped might protect it. And now it's got all those new little leaves growing! Good job, strawberry. I'm sorry I doubted you. Let's be friends?