Last week we started some of our summertime seeds. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and basil all benefit from being started indoors 6-8 weeks before our final spring frost. Ours will be ready to go into the garden in mid March. We will check on our seedlings, and make sure they stayed watered as they continue to grow.

Speaking of seedlings, we started some cold hardy plants in December, and we can start thinking about putting some of them outside. These are kale, cabbage, collard greens and kohlrabi. Plants that can handle a frost or light freeze, but do not like hot weather. The sooner we get them into the garden, the more time they will have to grow before hot weather arrives in late spring. Of these plants, kale is the most cold hardy, so we can put some of those out in January, but we should wait a few more weeks on the collards, cabbage and kohlrabi.

Our leeks are growing nicely. While much of the leek is edible, the white part of the root is most desirable. There is a way to get the plant to grow more of the white root… it is called “blanching” the leek. This can be done when the leek is about the thickness of a pencil. Push soil up around the leeks, and bury the stem to the height of the first leaves. This will prevent sunlight from reaching the stem, and it will grow as white root instead of green stem.

Elsewhere in the garden, the kale and collards that we planted in the fall is ready to be enjoyed. If you don’t need a lot of it at once, just harvest the bottom leaves, and the rest of the plant will keep growing and produce more leaves.

Our winter lull in the garden will come to an end soon. There is not much to do in December and January. Once we hit February, we will be planting each week, and will quickly fill our gardens up with cool season veggies.