Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pea trellises and seedlings

On Sunday, March 22, I bought the supplies and built these pea trellises. Lowe's didn't have the right width of plastic mesh to go up high enough. I bought the mesh that was 2' wide to go around the bottom of the trellises. I figured I'd go back and buy a second roll to add to the top once the peas start growing. The package says the peas take 7-14 days to germinate. Today is day 9. Two seeds have popped out of the soil, but I'm wondering if they were just flooded out by rain we had a couple of nights ago. See how green the grass is? Which reminds me...I need to put down newspapers and mulch in my walkways before the weeds take over.

I also started a flat of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and onion seeds a couple of weeks ago. I had them in my laundry room (the warmest room in the house) under the florescent lights. However, I think my lights are too far overhead and my seedlings became tall and leggy as a result of light starvation. Yesterday I repotted them into larger (4") peat pots. I planted them deeper in the soil and went out today and bought a florescent light to install under my kitchen cabinets. Now the repotted seedlings can sit on my kitchen counter under the lights for about 14 hours a day until they're ready to go outside. They already look happier, see?

Unfortunately, I lost several seedlings that didn't make it. I originally started 18 each of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and onions. I only transplanted the healthiest looking seedlings for a total of 3 cabbage, 3 broccoli, 3 cauliflower, and 9 onions. Also, I have my doubts that the broccoli seedlings will pull out of their slumped over lankiness. Everything else looks good though.

My next plan is to plant some more seeds, specifically tomatoes and peppers. I already have several varieties of each that I'd bought. Today I got online and ordered more: Cherokee Purples, Brandywines, sweet corn, and pole beans. I also ordered 3 types of basil, dill, and catnip. I don't plan to have an inch of unused space in this year's garden.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Work Day in the Garden

Today was a beautiful day - the first this year that I was able to be outside in short sleeves. So, of course, we had to use the day to get the garden ready. I had planned to add the compost from our compost bin to the garden to get the soil ready. But last weekend when I went to scoop it out, I realized that the tomato vines I'd added in October had not broken down and (worse) were all matted together so that the compost is an unusable mess. We stirred it up so that the heat of this coming summer will eventually break it down. But in the meantime, I needed to purchase soil amendments again this year.

Today we purchased 400 lbs. of composted cow manure with organic hummus. I spent the afternoon mixing that into 4 of the 8 beds in my garden. I prioritized and added manure to the beds that I've planned to house my cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower seedlings that are now growing in my laundry room. I also added it to the bed where I plan to plant pea seeds next weekend. Finally, I added it to the front beds. I don't plan to plant anything there for a while yet, but this is where I planted potatoes last year and they ended up rotting because of bad drainage. I think this is the neediest soil in my garden. Hopefully all the organic matter will improve the soil. The good news is that I was happy with the texture of the soil that was there when I started. And I saw lots of earthworms in the soil. Those are always a good indicator of healthy soil. Worms don't like deficient soil.

Jeff also had work to do. He noticed this weekend that our blueberry bushes look like someone has taken garden shears and snipped off the ends of the branches. See?

Anyway, he pulled the netting out of storage and covered all the berry plants. We're thinking the neighborhood wild rabbits have been eating the tender young growth. We hope it isn't too late in the season for them to snap out of it or else we won't be having any blueberries this summer.

Today's local weather:
High temp: 64 F
Low temp: 43 F
Sunny with light wind.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

And So It Begins...

Today I finally started my first seeds for the 2009 garden season. I had planned to start cabbage last weekend. But I got so busy with the "get ready for the coming week" chores that I didn't have time.

So today, I started seeds for 2 kinds of cabbage, 2 kinds of cauliflower, broccoli, and yellow onions. They are in a flat in my laundry room where it is warm until they sprout. Then I will move them under the lights.

I still have about 3 weeks before I can plant anything outside. I have bought lots of pea seeds to plant then. I will also plant lettuce and spinach then. I may even try some radishes this year.

This time of year is so exciting!

Today's local weather:
High temp: 32 F
Low temp: 24 F
Partly cloudy and windy