Saturday, March 2, 2013

Swiss Chard, Kale, And A Seedling Update

Today I planted 4 seeds of both Swiss Chard and Kale.  Well I guess I planted 8 of each, 2 in each section, but I will cut back the weaker or second one to sprout.  I will only keep 4 of each.  This is important so each little section in the tray is not over crowded, and so the remaining seedling can get all the nutrients to grow.  Planting an extra seed just help bump up the germination rate, pretty much guaranteeing that a seed will sprout in each section.  And some of my seed packets have 250 seeds in them, it's not like I am ever going to plant that many. 

Swiss Chard
This is our second year planting Swiss Chard.  This is one of the first veggies to go in the garden, along with kale.  We are planing Rainbow Swiss Chard again, from the same seed packet we purchased last year from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  I love the rainbow variety.  You get stalks in varying shades of off white, yellow, orange, and pink.  As long as you cut your swiss chard on a regular basis, it will keep growing back.  I always cut the outer larger leaves, leaving the new ones to grow in the middle.  We planted this last spring, and it lasted until late fall.  We will cut up swiss chard and use it in salad, saute it like you would spinach.  I made a swiss chard gratin last year that was great.  This is what the swiss chard seeds look like:

This is our third year planting kale.  We planted it at the condo when we lived there too.  This year we are planting Blue Curled Scotch Kale from Baker Creek.  Last year we had a Red Kale, and I really wanted to plant a more traditional kale this year.  This stuff is so hardy, it's takes plenty of abuse, and still produces well.  Kale is also one of the first plants to go in the garden, and one of the last to come out.  If you don't cut it on a regular basis, it will bolt and flower or go to seed.  Sometimes during the summer we just can't eat any more, so I will a big cut and cut them way down.  Just like the swiss chard, you can easily blanch the leaves, and freeze.  We have been using up both from last summer, and still have more in the freezer.  There are so many uses for kale.  It's great in smoothies, you can chop up some in mashed potatoes, put it in omelets, make kale chips, use it in salad, soup, saute it, really it's very versatile.  The kale seeds are much smaller than the swiss chard seeds, they look very similar to the cabbage seeds, itty bitty little round black balls.  If you drop one, it may never be seen again.

The rhubarb seedlings are doing very well, they love the grow light they have been under this past week.  They are starting to get their second leaves in. 

The cabbage was an early sprouter, these things germinated in just a few days, and they are growing very fast.

The cauliflower seedlings were just a day or so behind them, but they are coming in a little slower. 

The pepper seeds have not sprouted yet.  Hopefully raising the temperature in the dirt this weekend, while they sit on the warm running dryer, will help them along.  Doesn't surprise me  though, peppers take a while to germinate, and they are slow growers.  I am guessing the kale and swiss chard will sprout about the same time as the peppers.

I am waiting for the snow to go away, last year our beets, swiss chard, and kale all went in the ground mid March, I don't think they will be going in as early this year. 

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