Monday, May 2, 2011

May Day Brings Spring, Finally

This weekend was the first real "spring" weekend. Temps in the 50's and 60's. A glorious weekend. Began the weekend at the FEDCO Annual Tree Sale. Picked up my potatoes and onion bulbs that I ordered a few months back. This year I'm going to be field testing some peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower for FEDCO. I'm pretty excited about this. A brand new experience for me. They've all been planted and are sitting indoors as they prepare to sprout. While at FEDCO I also got a peach tree, some more horseradish root, and a bunch of strawberries. I've got a strawberry bed that has been producing delicious strawberries for 3 years now. Last year I noticed the berries getting quite a bit smaller and also weeds trying to take over the bed and this year the weeds appear to be winning. Rather than fight it all I will plant a new strawberry bed in the upper garden. I'll pick off the flowers this year as that's what you do in the first year of strawberries (it sends energy back down to the roots making the plants stronger). We'll pick from the old patch one more summer while the new patch settles in and then we'll till the old patch under next year.

Two weeks ago when I put in the greens, roots crops, and peas I put some hoops of floating row covering cloth over the greens and roots that flea beetles love, namely radishes, kale, and pac choy. One concern I have is that they will make it too hot under them. Those are cool season plants. I'm willing to give this a try as those darned flea beetles do a number on my plants every year. I have more trouble with them than any other bug...well maybe not stink bugs. Here's a photo of one hoop. You can see the weed infested strawberry bed in the background.

Last weekend I also began to clean up in the flower/herb garden near the house. I'm slowly going to replace quite a bit of the ornamental flowers with herbs for cooking and dyeing fiber. I'm hoping to sell herbs this summer. We'll see. Of course there are some flowers that just have to stay. Such as my roses, dianthus, butterfly bush..and I'm sure there are others that haven't even come up yet. I set up my cold frame near the house and have decided that this will be a permanent spot. I will just have to get another one built for the veggie garden. It's working beautifully! As my seedlings I've started indoors get bigger and need more room I take the cool season seedlings and move them into the cold frame. Working like a charm and giving me more room under the lights for the tomatoes, peppers, basil and such. Here's a picture of the cold frame with things like spinach, lettuce, kale in it.
These cool season crops have also been directly sown in the main garden. We'll see which do better. I don't know about you but for me the direct seeded stuff always seems to do best. But maybe this cold frame will change that.

Garlic is up; easily 2 inches tall. Peas, lettuce, radishes, and spinach are just pushing up through the soil.

That's all for now. No real topic to discuss just a quick update. But I do feel a "sludge compost" posting coming soon.

Happy Spring and Have Fun Planting!

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