Thursday, April 3, 2008

April 3, 2008

Tons has happened in the last two days, so this post will be a double header.  Last night was amazing. I laughed, I cried, I smiled.  Little Women at Village Theatre is amazing.  It's a new work.  An adaptation of the classic novel, which as a boy, I haven't read. hehe.  The acting was great, the music phenomenal and the vocals out of this world.  In other words, everything I've come to expect from the best regional theater in the Puget Sound region! 

We got home later than usual since dinner was delayed by problems at Red Robin until after the show (Denny's was the only place open that didn't have a drive-through window).  All I got to do last night was check email and a few forums/blogs.  Since and both Judy's and my blogs were down for server maintenance yesterday, not much happened.  So after sleeping in today, a once in a blue moon event when the kids stay over at the folk's house, I got a ton done on my day off.

The first thing I did was plant my potatoes.  Our cold snap appears to be over (hopefully for good).  The weather report yesterday called for low temps of 32, 36, 40, 39, 37 for the next several days (and highs in the mid to high 50s).  Sure enough, the potato bins registered soil temps of 55, ten degrees higher than the 45 needed for planting potatoes per Mel's book. 

I had planned on waiting until this weekend to plant them, but with a forecast of rain, I wanted to take advantage of the gorgeous sunny day (short sleeves and everything)!  That meant I didn't get a chance to cut the bigger seed potatoes in two or three and let the ends dry out overnight.  So I just planted them whole.  I spaced out one pound of seed potatoes in each bed, one for my Butte russets and the other for my Yukon Golds, with about 6 inches of dirt around them.

Notice that I just have them nestled into the Mel's Mix that looks freshly mixed since I sprinkled a tad of fertilizer for acid loving plants (I didn't buy the special Osmocote that Ciscoe recommends) since I had this on hand and it supposedly works well.  In mixing the fertilizer in, I noticed that the dirt wasn't as deep as I thought in places (I didn't even TRY leveling the hole I dug).  So after I laid them out, I sprinkled about 2 inches of Mel's Mix over the top and watered it in well.

Tada!  Potatoes planted! Finally. Months of planning and waiting are over. Now to wait until the spouts are as high as the top of my boards before I add 2 more inches of dirt.

With that project done, I moved on to fix my leaning hoop house...

All that rain and snow we got over the cold spell did a number on it, but it held up and the seeds didn't seem to mind that it leaned.  That's why I left a 4 foot path (not really, but it was an added benefit, hehe).  A few nights ago I got some 3/4" PVC pipe and cut it into 5 or 6 inch pieces.  So all I did was take the plastic off and store it, then use galvanized clamps to secure them to the beds. 

I chose to put them on the outside of the beds for a number of reasons.  First off, it was faster and easier than digging up dirt (and some of my seedlings). Also, I didn't want any potential leaching (more than my treated wood that is).  Lastly, I figured that clipping the plastic to the outside of the bed will create a tight seal between the plastic and the bed.  See, I can rationalize being lazy. :)  It almost makes me want to put back up the plastic to try it out, but I don't want to cook my cool weather plants.  Besides, it's supposed to rain tomorrow so I'll conserve water that way.

Along the way I took a few pics of my seedlings to show how they fared throughout the cold spell under my coldframes...

Here are my radishes, aren't they cute?  I don't know how to tell when they're ready, but if they mature in 30 days from seed to harvest, then they should be done very soon.  /shrug

Here's a close-up of some of my peas.  I got fairly poor germination out of new seeds, though in digging I found several appeared to be possibly close to breaking the surface, so I lightly covered them with a very thin sprinkling of dirt and let them go.  This weekend where I find blank spots I'll re-seed.  I want 32 pea plants in that row.

I didn't take a picture of my lettuce, but all but my Italienischer (I believe).  The Red Sails took forever to sprout, so I'll give the Italienischer more time. It's just sooooo much later than the Salad Bowl, a month in the ground.  I know I'm a novice, but that doesn't sound right.  Maybe I'll replant the square this weekend. Not sure.

Speaking of this weekend. I'm putting together a to-do list, rain or shine:

-Cut off the peat pot tops.

-Re-seed the blank spots

-Succession plant more Spinach, Lettuce, Onions, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots  and Radishes.

-Plant Beans and start corn. (note these need to be pre-soaked, not sure how long, overnight is my guess). *

-Label my squares with plastic knives.

-Reconnoiter about building my deck in the next month or two.

-Build a trellis for my peas, 30 inches high to accommodate all three varieties of pea I'm growing. 

-Possibly build a Self Watering Container (SWC) or two. 

I'm considering planting my tomatoes in SWCs in between the beds against the garage wall to free up 8 or 12 SF for more veggies.  I'd like more lettuce and spinach and maybe more cukes.  Building SWCs looked really difficult from the instructions on the internet, but Judy did an awesome job walking you through it so it looks doable.

* P.S. I had an idea. Judy started her corn indoors in peat pucks and she's been on me to try mine out. So I started 8 of each corn seed presoaking over night.  In the morning if I wake up in time, I'll start them in the peat pucks and put them on top of the fridge to germinate.  If that means I can't plant them this weekend, so be it.  I only hope they germinate quick inside at 70 degrees because the seeds won't get that kind of heat in my ground anytime soon.


  1. Aw, your radishes are so cute! They look much like mine, except mine are more haphazardly planted. I think the 22-28 day rating is for warmer times than now, cuz I'm pretty sure it's been 22 days, and they're barely starting their first set of true leaves. Oh yeah, watch out, radishes do (eventually) produce soft spines along the stem (much like squash), so wear gloves when you plan to harvest. It's a bit of a surprise if you're not expecting it.

    You might try germinating the corn in coffee filters/paper towels instead of using the peat pucks. Wait until the root just shows, then go pop them outside. Then you won't have to deal with peeling nylon netting on the peat pucks, and save the pucks for something that grows slower.

    I am glad for the warmth!

  2. Yeah, my problem is how will I know when to harvest the radishes if it's already been 22-28 days? Lettuce is easy, root crops are harder...

  3. When the plant gets super bushy the radish is probably ready. It's no big deal to dig one up and check, just put her back in if she isn't ready.