A lot has happened since I started sowing seed indoors, back on February 21. I had three kinds of new-to-me seed for Mexican crops: Cempasúchil (Tagetes erecta) , known in English as Aztec marigold; chile Chiltepín (Capsicum annuum ‘Chiltepin’), also known as Tepín or Bird Pepper; and Pápalo (Porophyllum ruderale ssp. macrocephalum), a potherb (pictured at the top of this post). In early March, I also wrote about planting store-bought sunchoke tubers indoors. I am happy to report seminal success for the season to come:
The Aztec marigold seed promptly sprouted and developed true leaves, so I have moved the seedlings to bigger pots, awaiting consistent warm weather to be transplanted to their final spots in the garden:
Chile Chiltepín seeds were also sown in small paper cups, four per container; after three weeks, I had not a single sprout, so I sowed four more seeds per cup. About a week later, the first sprout appeared, and now I only have a total of six seedlings, so I would recommend anybody trying this variety, to sow seed well in excess, since sprouting was very scarce. My seedlings are still under the grow lights, but almost ready to be transplanted to bigger pots:
Pápalo seeds were also sowed four per cup, and were a little slow and spotty to sprout (took 11 days for the first sprouts), but then they continued to sprout, and developed quickly:
They were growing fast, so I transplanted to larger pots, and they will stay indoors until warm (hot) weather becomes consistent:
Sunchokes are amazing plants! The store-bought tubers started to sprout and develop roots just after two weeks in soil, and then, when tiny and fussy sprouts showed above ground, they grew at a prodigious speed, as it may be appreciated in the series of photos below, following the same plant:
And this is the final photo, from two days ago, before moving the plants outside:
Since we have not had a hard frost in a while, it was a good time to dig a spot at the back of the garden for the sunchokes. These plants prefer a sunny spot, with good drainage, and some shelter from the wind, so the area in front of the south-facing fence was just perfect:
Sunchokes are considered invasive, but there is no disquiet in this case, since this spot was already taken over by a bunch of mongrel strawberries, the result of neglect for a couple of years, in which at least three types of strawberries reproduced and threw runners in all directions. The sunchokes looked a little droopy at first, but are adapting well; I will continue to monitor their progress throughout the summer.
Going around the garden, I started to cultivate the soil in some spots for the new crops, and noticed that the garlic sowed in the fall is growing well, as are the perennial crops of other Allium, such as chives, shallots and knob onions. Below, photos of knob onions in the ground (left) and my first spring harvest (right):
I am sharing my recipe at Thursday Favourite Things #484, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.