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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Blogger Aliceson said...

You get an A for effort for sure! I sure hope the row covers are enough for the broccoli. We didn't have any problems with our broccoli last year as far as hot temps go but I guess it really doesn't get too hot here. Ours lasted all Summer and after we harvested the big heads there were tons of little florets that kept our fridge (and freezer) full. I'll be crossing my fingers for your broccoli. The rest of your plants look great!

The smartest thing we did last year was a soil test. So important to know what kind of soil you're working with and how to adjust it to maximize production. I'm basically wingin' this whole garden thing too and learning as I go but I guess that's what it's about, trial and error.

Thanks so much for joining in on the first Garden Monday! Can you tell I'm still excited?

March 23, 2010 at 10:09 AM  

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