I have seedlings! My first-time wintersowing has proven successful so far as the broccoli and cauliflower are concerned...at least they germinated. I have some concerns about how I'm going to keep them from freezing, as it will be in the low-20's tonight and probably similar temps for a few more weeks. I covered the containers that have germinated with an old flannel sheet, doubled over, for tonight. And I saved some of the seed, so I'll get a 2nd shot if this first-attempt fails. But I'm hopeful, and I've developed a plan. If the seedlings make it to the point of having their first true leaves, I'll transplant them first to a couple of large black tubs I have. I'll add some composted soil to the dirt that is already in them, transplant the babies, then cover with a piece of clear plastic that has some small slits in it for air transpiration. This should work like a cold-frame and give them some growing room while I finish getting the garden beds ready. Hopefully by March I can move them into their permanent beds and, with luck and good weather, be eating garden-fresh broccoli and cauliflower by mid-April!
I would transplant directly into the garden, but we've been deciding how to deal with the flooding problem that has taken out part of my beds for the 4th time in the last 9 months. Today Larry helped me "plant" a long board at the east end of the garden to help prevent runoff water from getting into the beds. That had to be done so I don't lose anymore compost or other materials that I want to add to the beds. We also need to create a diversion - a berm of sorts - that will help divert water before it ever reaches the garden. It is just unbelievable how much rainwater rushes through my garden when we get a heavy rain, stripping away the beautiful black dirt I've created and the wood chips that cover the walkways. Anyway, now that we've got at least part of our water-diversion plan in place, I think I will go ahead with adding compost and peat moss to rebuild the existing beds a bit, plus start laying out the foundation for the new beds.