Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday Garden Club (a day late... AGAIN)

So, last week I was a little obsessive about what we were going to plant and when. All the planting times were jumping around in my head and I couldn't stand it. I had to get it on paper, so I did. Personally, I'd rather have put it in Microsoft Project but I don't have that software on my home computer so this will have to do. When my husband looked at it, he said, "Congratulations on making your hobby a job." Ha. I guess this is what happens when your career energy goes untapped for a while raising a family.
This little chart will help keep me focused and on track. As you can see, there is a lot to keep in mind. I'm happy to report we got a lot accomplished last week.

We planted the following:
Asparagus (40 plants)
Onions (25+)
Potatoes (at least 10, adirondack blue and fingerlings)
Strawberries (50)
Raspberries (2)
Blueberries (2)
Broccoli (16+)
Rhubarb (3)
Garlic (20+)
Shallots (20+)
Apple (1)

I also planted from seed:
More Mesclun Mix

I have gotten conflicting information on how to plant carrots. Carrots and parsnips are supposed to be cold hardy and you can plant them now according to our cooperative extension. In fact it says to plant as soon as the soil can be worked so we are late. However, according to the seed packets I need to wait until after the threat of frost. So, I planted a few for now and will plant a succession of rows every 21 days or 3 weeks so we get a steady harvest. If these rows never take off, I don't have a lot to lose except a little seed. I'll go back and replant there later.

I think we got the peas off to a late start also so we may not see an early summer harvest of those. I guess we will see. I have no experience with them.

I'm happy to report that the broccolis and cauliflowers are doing better. Our weather last week was on the cool side and we've had some very light frosts since planting but I put row covers on them. They did just fine. Just like I mentioned in last week's post our temps are going to go from the mid-50's to the 80's this week. That is going tough on my little broccolis. There isn't much I can do in the case of heat. Hopefully, if I keep them a little moist, they will do alright.

Also, our forestry project has begun. Nick did the bulk of the work on that. Nick and I were butting heads on tree placement so I finally told him to just get it done on his own. I guess I was a little annoyed. Good thing I didn't marry another landscape architect?

One of our neighbor's stopped by and commented jokingly that it looked like Arlington Cemetery out there. I don't think that's the kind of comment you want. Admittedly, the seedling protectors aren't very attractive but given some time these hardwoods are going to be a real asset.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday Garden Club (a day late)

I haven't felt like doing a lot of posting lately. Winter was especially wicked this year and I just haven't been up it. That is not to say that we haven't been hard at work. We've been busy training for our Half Marathon that we completed last week (adding a full five minutes onto last year's time, lol... but a lack of training thanks to bad weather will do that).

We've also been hard at work on the garden. We tested our soil in February and found it needed everything so we had a lot of work to do there. We planted seeds in starter trays the last week of February. According to my Aunt Joyce you best do it in January to get an especially good harvest, so we are behind but such is life. We planted two 72 cell trays and we have another small window tray (16 cells) containing eggplant and peppers.

Also, we put up some small wood borders around our garden and imported 6 cubic yards of compost to the existing soil. We doubled the size of last year's garden thanks to our awesome neighbor who let us borrow their tiller and their tractor to spread the topsoil. A 10 hour job took only two with the equipment. We had planned to rent some equipment but the rental company messed up the delivery date. We were upset by the whole thing but it ended up really working out for us. The neighbors let us use their 25 year old Troybuilt 5HP real tine tiller. They said we can use it every year and that'd be a savings of $100 a year! We brought our neighbor back a box of Salt Water Taffy from our recent beach trip as a gesture of gratitude. Country neighbors are the best.
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Nick on the tractor

We built some basic wood walls to keep the soil from washing away. We know that they won't last but they will do for now. Eventually we'd like to do dry laid stone. I'm keeping my eyes peeled at the local rock outlet.

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With temps a little more mild and only dipping into the 42 at night I think the "greenhouse" can sustain temps at 45 at night so I've taken some of the hardier plants outside so they can harden up a bit. I'll probably have to bring them back in soon.

I'm keeping the fragile eggplant and peppers inside with a heat lamp. I'm really just learning as I go. We did grow green peppers last year, but not from seed. We didn't even attempt eggplant.

I went ahead an transplanted half of the broccoli and cauliflower out in the garden yesterday with the crop covers. I may end up regretting this. But, we need to experiment a little to figure out what will work in our climate. I was so sad when our broccoli fried in the sun last year so it is so important to get an early start. It seems like in the flick of a switch temps go from 50 to 80. If this doesn't work, I'll know next time. Our favorite vegetable in the house is broccoli so I'm desperate to figure it out.

I just checked on the seedlings today and they look limp to me which isn't a good sign. It may be too cold yet even with the cover. I still have half ready to go and we made more than we needed so cross your fingers we will have a harvest! That will be our last chance.

My limp broccoli underneath row covers.

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