Not a Poblano

Not a poblano
What am I?

Well, we all know about the mystery melon (more later, stay tuned), but this Happy Cat Organics not-a-poblano was a surprise. It doesn’t really look like a jalepeno, but that’s what it tasted like…in a delicious salsa featuring Greensgrow CSA tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and POD cilantro.

Delicate Roots

True Lemon Cucumber SeedlingLast week we had lows dipping into the 30s and this week we hit 91 degrees. The farmer’s tan has commenced.

This afternoon the remaining pots were prepped (emptied of old dirt, cleaned, sprayed with foul-smelling organic anti-fungal, lined with a couple inches of evil styrofoam, filled with organic dirt, pre-watered, and topped with a tomato cage) and planted.

Very happy Boothby Blonde and True Lemon cucumbers from Happy Cat Organics have taken up residence on the little blue deck and have been surrounded with one orange cosmo each (to help attract bees), Swiss chard, and lettuce.  Rather than using the horribly ugly jury-rigged bamboo trellis that was employed last year, POD sprang for a few more tomato cages to enclose the cucumbers and melons. One suspects it’ll be easier to train the climbers with the additional support.

For those of you who started your cucumbers or melons from seed, you’ll want to carefully transplant them, disturbing the roots as little as possible. (Peat pots can be planted directly, but alas, they generally suck.)

Last year two plants per 5-gallon bucket were given the go-ahead but this year, once the seedlings have survived the transplant, only one will be allowed to continue. (When last year’s plants were removed from the buckets they were pretty rootbound. And, since fungi and mildew always seem to attack them, the extra air circulation may come in handy as well). Because the root systems of cucurbits are pretty touchy, resist yanking the doomed seedling from the dirt — just nip it off at the soil line.

As POD had run out of space (and energy) indoor seed-starting, the melons were direct seeded this afternoon. Happy summer.

75 Seeds

starting seeds
65 Seeds

And counting: only 6-7 weeks before planting on deck commences.

Despite the cold rain falling on freshly seeded radishes, the flowers (cleome, lavender, and the random seeds saved from last year’s annuals) and Happy Cat poblanos found their way onto the sill. In a couple more weeks, cucumbers and melons will join the ranks.

Already, POD’s beginning the forget-me-not notes for next year… and this, dear readers is why Plants On Deck got started in the first place. Unable to remember all the little things discovered throughout the growing process, this serves as a resource to my future forgetful self. Although the organic soil potting soil has been sterilized, next year POD’s going to spring for a specialized seed starting mix. It’s lighter and less likely to harbor diseases.

Try to keep your seeds warm and moist (but not wet) as they germinate — approximately 70-80 degrees.

Making a List

And checking it twice. It’s hard to believe as this week’s blizzard blows (please, read that as you will) but there were reasons for optimism last weekend. The sun was shining and the 40-degree temps were rapidly melting the blackened snow heaps still dotting Philly’s streets.  Plants On Deck Seed List

After reviewing a few previous posts, POD hunkered down with with a stack of seed catalogs and began dreaming. To save on shipping cost and distance, only two purveyors made this year’s cut. The winners were Cook’s Garden (Warminster, PA) and Happy Cat Organics (Elverson, PA). As wonderful as Territorial Seed Company and  Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds are, one is located in Oregon and the other in California and Missouri. Although D. Landreth (New Freedom, PA) had the coolest catalog, they didn’t offer the seaweed/fish fertilizer I vowed to try on this year’s garden.

Of course, there are enough seeds here for a multi-acre garden, but we won’t think about that.