It was a beautiful 64-degrees this afternoon, so my first batch of seedlings took their first trip outside. My husband was in the garage painting, so I used our back steps as my planting bench.

seedlings ready for transplant

This seems like a good time to let you know what I'm growing, at least in this first little batch of plants. I've never grown an early spring (or late autumn/winter) garden before. Although, as mild as autumn was last year, I had tomato plants until early December. I've just never grown the plants associated with those gardens: peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. My husband loves cauliflower (not my favorite, but I'll eat it), and we both enjoy broccoli and cabbage, so I thought it would be fun to try growing those things. I'm starting small with 6 broccoli, 6 cabbage, and 4 cauliflower. I also put in seeds for 2 spinach plants, but they didn't do anything until March 3, when one finally popped up out of its pod. I'm going to sow some spinach directly in the garden. Maybe I'll have some luck with it out there. I've also got 6 tomato plants started - 3 each of 2 varieties. I'm experimenting with getting some early tomatoes this year. It seems to be tradition in this part of the country to plant tomatoes in early May. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll actually have a tomato sometime in May.

These are the varieties I'm trying this year:

  • Broccoli - Green Sprouting Calabrese

This is an heirloom broccoli that produces lots of side shoots once the main head is harvested. It's been grown in the U.S. since the 1880's.

  • Cauliflower - Early Snowball

An heirloom variety, introduced in 1888.

  • Cabbage - Red Acre

We love red cabbage in our salads, and this heirloom variety is supposed to form early and store well.

  • Spinach - Bloomsdale Long Standing

Popular since the 1920's, this variety is supposed to mature quickly and hold up well when it starts to get warm. That's if I can get it to sprout.

  • Tomato - New Girl

An early-maturing hybrid variety.

  • Tomato - Stupice

An early-maturing heirloom from the former Czechoslovakia. It's supposed to be quite tasty and also do well all through summer.

roots growing out of peat pod

As you can see, the roots on my tomatoes are ready to move up to a bigger home.

seedlings transplanted into peat pods

Almost all the seedlings are in peat pots now, and I'm not sure if I mixed up one of the cauliflowers with a broccoli, but I'll find out later. After a night of rest and adjustment to their new pots, they'll go back under the lights tomorrow morning. I hope they do well, so I can start working on getting them used to the outdoors before they move into the garden beds.