Early garden start

The Ogre and I spent all day yesterday getting an early start to the garden. It is an awesome feeling to be on time this year and know that we are starting out a step ahead ( that advantage will soon be lost and I will be playing catchup, never fear).

We expanded garden space this year, turning what used to be the tomato plot into a full sized garden and deciding to spread out tomatoes- both within and between gardens. Yesterday we got our long growing root crops ( onions and potatoes) planted, along with some experimental early greens.

We planted 4 double rows of onions ( 2 red and 2 yellow) which if they grow well will yield about 200 onions. That should almost get us through the next year without buying store onions. I will be happy if we get enough to take us 6 months. We also planted 8 ( 11 foot long) mounds of potatoes ( red and yukon gold). This is the part that if they grow well, could scare me come harvest time. One row of each will be dug up early for baby potatoes and eaten duing the summer. We will replant that row for a late harvest row with the few seed potatoes we set back. We already have plans for a summertime renovation of the pump room downstairs to use as a modified root cellar, and if the potatoes grow well, we will need it.

The space for sweet poatoes is prepped, but waiting. Those get planted as plants and it is way too early to get them growing. In their space, I am running an early greens experiment and planted a row of spinach. If we manage to be done with hard freezes, we could be eating fresh spinach in less than a month and it should get to the end of its cycle about the time to plant the sweet potatoes. If it does freeze, we will just re-plant in another spot . Luckily, a single packet of seeds is not a great loss. Additionally, I planted 2 rows of peas and a row of sugar snaps. Again, a risk, since we could get an early freeze, but a small loss if we do. If we manage to slide through without bad freezes, we will be harvesting at memorial day. The fencing where the peas get planted will get overgrown by cucumbers later in the summer. The Ogre tried a new double fence arrangement which should support and make the cucumbers easier to harvest and contain.

An even better memorial day treat may come from an experiment that the Orge originated. He created three modified cold frames by wrap 3 of our 16 tomato frames with clear plastic and we early planted 3 plants- a Mr. Stripey, an Early Girl and a Cherry Tomato. I have my fingers crossed on this one, because if it works, we could have fresh tomatoes by memorial day or shortly after, instead of waiting until July 4. An extra month of tomatoes to eat is wonderful, but even better, if it works, we will do at least half of the tomato plants that way and will have extras to can/freeze as well.

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