I haven’t posted in almost a year. It has been a rough year for planting. Last winter, on the 24th day of January, I started onion starts, lettuces, artichokes, and kohlrabi. On the first day of February, I started about 50 tomato plants. On February 16, I started about 50 more. Early February I also started peppers and a few flowers. By February 23, 2004, I had planted radishes and snap peas outside in the garden because it was so nice and warm so early last year. Everything thrived and grew beautifully, with only a few minor setbacks. I had started my tomatoes a bit early for our area, southwestern Idaho, so I could do an experiment with trench planting my tomatoes.
Then we put our house on the market. I planted my garden anyway. I planted at the church. I gave some of the plants to my friends and family. Then we sold our house. And moved. And I lost my entire garden. I have no idea how the second year with the bark mulch (a.k.a. Back to Eden method) worked amended with chicken compost. I have no idea how the tomatoes did trench planted. I know that the tomato plants I gave to friends did fairly well. But I don’t know which of the new varieties were the best, or how they grew. I feel like I lost a year of knowledge. More, really, because I was in the middle of multiple year long experiments and will have to start those from scratch. But the good news is that I am getting settled in my new (colder) climate. This year, I will begin learning all over. I will try to share what I learn here and we can learn together. I have been reading up on Permaculture and SPIN farming (among other things) and will be sharing that information soon. 🙂
That being said, if you live in southwestern Idaho, now is the time to get cracking. If you want big, beautiful peppers by the time you are ready to plant them out, I would start your pepper starts as soon as possible (By the way for colder planting zones you either want to start more cold tolerant varieties like King of the North pepper or any of the small peppers – most bell peppers don’t grow as well in colder zones as the smaller sweet or spicy ones).
Also start your onions (if you haven’t already) and cold things you want to get a jump on – lettuces, artichokes, cabbages, broccoli, etc. The tomatoes can be started now if you want to trench plant them, or you can wait and start them more mid to late March, depending on how early you want to plant them out. Last frost date for the Boise/Meridian area is May 10 according to the Farmer’s almanac. I like to give my plants a pretty decent head start, and I also plant them out early because I use walls-of-water around them to protect them from late frosts. So I would probably start my tomatoes mid March. Trench planting might be something I will try again another time, but for regular planting, mid to late March is a good time to get things going.
In my new planting zone (4b-5a depending on the exact location in the valley), the planting season starts a bit later, but not too much, so I need to get busy here too. Although I am pretty sure looking out and seeing the snow still more than a foot deep in places, that I won’t be out there planting radishes and snap peas next weekend. 🙂 Happy planting! If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will try to address them asap. Thanks!