Garden Starts

Finally… it dried out enough to till and start working the garden. I am exceptionally lucky to have a man in my life who likes to till. There is nothing other than a newborn that has as much lurking potential as a freshly tilled garden.

Today I cut and ashed the sprouting potatoes I managed to save back. The only time that did not get sprouted are red, so I will need to grab some red seed potatoes tomorrow. For the rest ( purple, yellow and Kennebec) I have over 100 potential plant starts. I am a little low on the Kennebecs, and we fell in love with those last year, so I may grab a few more of those when I get the reds. I only have a dozen of the purples, but they produced badly and were very insect prone, so we are mostly keeping those as novelties and to eat as they grow in the summer. they need to sit in brown bags on the gardening work bench for about 48 hours before planting.

I was planning on planting first round of peas, snow peas and spinach early this am, but late last night realized that they were calling for a couple of days of rain… which meant not only missing the raining days, but also the following days it took the garden to dry out again… so I bolted outside last night at 9:30pm and planted a row of each ahead of the rain. That will allow me to put a second round in the garden in about 10 days to stagger harvests, rather than just getting the first round in then.

Knock wood, the tomato seedlings are still growing, but the peppers have not sprouted much at all. I rearranged them under the grow lights and put some under a plastic “greenhouse” lid on the porch to see if additional light helps.

I love the feeling of dirt between my toes and soil on my hands. This is the time of year that awakens my hibernating soul and makes me smile for no apparent reason.

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.