My seedy side

People: Arugula!

Also known as – Coltivata Da Orto or Rouquette Arugula, or  “Rocket Salad.”  Can you name the *movie line?

Arugula – it’s a vegi-table.

I planted some seeds in trays on Thursday (for transplanting into the garden anytime after April 12,  and yesterday morning, walking past the assortment in bright morning light, some tiny little specs caught my eye…could it be?  Breath-held-hope…YES!  Arrugula!  It has sprouted, this cruciferous vitamin-and-nutrient-packed wonder, beating all the other seeds I sowed.  *sniff  So emotional.  :)

Happy, however, to see the cabbage, kale and lettuce giving pursuit now.  I have seedlings.  Lots and lots of seedlings!

The growing season

The Denver Metro area is 5b on a growing-zone map, which means we only have about 132 frost-free days to grow a great garden.  Our final frost date in the spring is listed on various websites between April 30 (wishful thinking) and May 13 or 16.  I just use Mother’s Day as the general rule.

For any frost-sensitive plantings (tomatoes!), just wait until after Mother’s Day to plant them.  I don’t care if it was 142-degrees on April 27th – don’t do it.  Don’t fall for it.  Just wait until Mother’s Day!  Trust me on this, people.

You have to expect First Frost in the fall right at the autumnal equinox, aka “first day of fall.”

Do NOT fight me on this!

Now, ’tis true, you can grow lots of things before final frost in May and certainly after first frost in September (around the 3rd week).  They just can’t be the best of the summer tenders (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, etc).

I have had beautiful pots of pansies and a wonderful harvest of tomatoes right up to Thanksgiving some years.  My petunias, which start to look tired and fried in the heat of August perk right up and bloom profusely in October each year.  But watch those frost dates and don’t be hasty!

Overall, put your finger on Mother’s Day and plan backwards for gardening this year!

We are 5 weeks ahead of final frost today.  Here is what you can plant:

Seeds indoors: Broccoli, parsley, cabbage, onions, eggplant, and cabbage can still be seeded indoors if you start right now, otherwise it will be too hot for them by the time they are big enough to transplant (but you could still buy seedlings).  You can also start planting eggplant, lettuce, Swiss chard and peppers indoors right now.  The lettuce and chard could be transplanted to the garden in early May, whereas the eggplant and peppers would be ready to sink into the soil in late May.

Seeds outdoors: Peas and spinach are good to go being planted outdoors this week.

Established seedlings into the garden: You could pick up some broccoli, cabbage or parsley at a garden center and plant them outdoors right now, too.  They can handle some frost or even a {blasted} snowfall.

 Today, however, my heart belongs to arugula.  <3

*Movie reference: “Arugula.  It’s a vegi-table.”  Steve Martin as Vincent “Vinnie” Antonelli in My Blue Heaven (1990), a fun family flick!

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