The Official Start of the Garden Season!

The basement is (mostly) clean, the materials are in order, the light shelf is wiped down and the trays are sterilized and rinsed.  February 15 is the official start of the garden season in my house.

This afternoon, my garden partner is coming over to help mix the soilless medium, fill a few flats, and start leeks and onions (and maybe a little parsley).  As my CSA members and regular blog readers know, mid-February is when I seed the crop that is both the first to be started and the last to be harvested of the garden season: heirloom Blue Solaise leeks.

These blue-green beauties have won me the Best in Show Horticultural Division at the Clay County Fair for the last two years in a row.  But better than ribbons is the taste of those thick, creamy, nutty shoots in a soup, casserole, or just braised all on their own.

I’ve still got a few of them left in the garden from last year’s crop–they’re biennials, which means they set seed in their second year, and I will be saving the seed of 2008’s crop to start leeks in 2010–a year from now.  This year’s seedlings will give me seed in 2010 for starting 2011’s crop.

I’m also starting my favorite red Italian bottle onions–Red Long of Tropea.  They don’t get very big, but they are an excellent salad and short-cooking onion that can be eaten from the bottom of their glossy bulbs to the tips of their fleshy leaves.  On Monday or Tuesday, when my Territorial Seed order comes, I’ll be starting a new variety of yellow onions called “Talon.”

Tuesday night is our (hopefully) first (annual) community seed swap, so I’ll also be getting a number of seed packs ready for that in the next couple of days, and who knows?  I might find something else new and exciting to start for this year’s gardens.  I know I’ll need to be looking at my perennials seed packs to see if there’s something else that likes to be started extra-early.


3 responses

  1. It’s good to find such a rave review of the leek, Bleu de Solaise. I’m growing that variety for the first time this year. (Every year, it seems, my garden gets more and more French in inspiration). Have you ever grilled leeks? I’ll bet these sweet hearts would be awesome grilled.

    • I think I remember grilling them in a foil packet with other vegetables–but by the time leek season really gets going (at least for the really long season ones), it’s not really grilling season anymore. But then, I’m not one to be out grilling when it’s cold out!


  2. Another reason I’m missing the Pacific NW so badly. Territorial Seeds. I was buying from them years and years and YEARS ago…they were ONLY selling in the PacWest when they first started out. Luckily, the man who owned our local farm and garden center in Gig Harbor was a friend of the original owner, and not only carried the seeds but furnished us the (then small) catalogues as well, for those of us who wanted to try something new. I was loyal to them until I moved to AZ in 2003, and although they are nice enough to still send me a catalogue, I can’t order anything much here. Sob! I am enjoying your blog, BTW. I can’t remember where I found the link, I’m sorry, but I THINK it was “A Chicken in Every Granny Cart”

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