Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 5, 2011

So, to give equal time to both my gardening and animal husbandry obsessions, this post will be about plants rather than chicks.

Despite the rain, mixed with heavy rain mixed with light showers over the past week, I found time to make it out to the garden.  Mostly I was out there to plant what NEEDED to be planted out.  However, I couldn't help but admire the growth (albeit slow) of my initial salad green plantings.  I definitely can start harvesting outer leaves of these for salads.  That said, we prefer to wait until more items are ready to go into our salads, like radishes, carrots and the like.

During a break in the weather, I took some time to augment my tiny bed #3 with compost, and plant a mixture of Savoy Bloomsdale Spinach (from Laura) and my traditional Space spinach (from Territorial). Given the size of the seeds, and wetness of my compost, I didn't even bury them, but rather used the board trick I got from Laura.  No clue if this will work or not, but it is worth a try.  I mean, who has a supply of dry sifted compost on hand to sprinkle 1/8" deep over a bed, hehe?

I also did something similar to several varieties of carrots to replenish our supply.  The ones that overwintered are very hairy and need to be pealed to eat.  Speaking of which, it is about time to harvest them so they don't go to seed.  Thoughts on what to do with carrots you need to peal to eat?  Hmm?

Anyway, now to what I actually went out there to do.  In the back of bed #4, I augmented the soil with a kitty-litter-bucket of compost.

And with my hand trowel, I worked the compost into the soil a bit, chopping up tons of worms in the process.  Poor little guys. This back portion of my only bed without a trellis will be the home of my initial plantings of broccoli and cauliflower. 

This season I'm planting more cauliflower than broccoli, as my wife likes it better, but I am planting a ton of it to freeze for the off season.  My goal is to add it to mashed potatoes, saute it with bread crumbs, use it in stir frys, etc. Don't these seedlings look good?

That taken care of, it was time to turn to my flat of succession salad greens.  First to be planted were my green wave mustard green experiment.  I'm sure long-term readers recall my fascination with mustard greens, leading back to my trying one from a local CSA.  The rainbow colored wavy leaves had a nice mustard bite to them, and would be perfect to add to our salads since I don't like to use dressing for home grown salads.  Unable to find the variety I knew I liked, I have settled for this variety from Territorial.  I went with two plants to see how it grew and if I'd like it.  They germinated well, but were slow growing under lights.  I wonder if they'll take off in the ground?

Then, as the rain began to pick up, I raced to get rid of the rest of my salad green seedlings.  It was very easy to peal apart the soil blocks from their neighbors and throw them in a shallow hole, pressing the compost in around them.  For the seedlings that were growing in the wrecked soil blocks, I did my best to plant them in straight compost.  It doesn't look pretty, but I'm hoping it all grows in nicely as spring moves into high gear.

Oh, I forgot, I also filled in the row of green onions above the salad greens, and filled in radishes where I could find space.  I still remember the first year I planted radishes.  The package said 22 days, so I was expecting to eat radishes every month.  Wrong!  The first planting took 5 weeks to germinate and mature.  It wasn't until my late spring succession planting that I got anywhere near the 22 days it published.  Deceptive advertising, ROFL.

So, now my garden is coming along nicely.  I still have space in the back of Bed #1 (above) and in the front of Bed #4 when I remove the carrots.  Not sure what I'll plant in those places.  Maybe some beets and a squash plant or two, both for roasting.  My brother introduced us to them last fall and I wanted to grow a limited number of each to try my hand at adding variety to our veggie diet.  As I've said many times over on NW Edible, I wish I could cook half as good as the former chef, now stay-at-home mom and urban homesteader Erika.  /sigh

Enjoy your garden!

1 comment:

  1. The lettuce looks great! I'm sure the plants from the wrecked soil blocks will do fine...I've had a few crumble and just stuck the exposed root into the ground and they've done fine.

    You can use the carrots in soups or stews...I like to add chopped carrots to a split pea soup...and it is definitely soup and stew weather out there... we had a pretty good hail storm here this morning...