The Responsible Survivialist


Another Good Week in the Garden
May 8, 2010, 8:15 pm
Filed under: Gardening

Had some good clear weather this week, though today was a bit windy and chilly. Since I had Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, I got a lot more done.

Potatoes Going Strong:
My potatoes continue to be the best growers in the garden. I can see why the Irish planted them so heavily. Here they are at the start of the week.

potatoes at three weeks

I’m going to have to hill them up with soil soon.

Salad Crop in the Ground:
The lettuce, spinach and broccolli are now planted in the raised bed against the house. I planted a bit more lettuce than the other two (15 vs. 9) but then I like salads and a staple of them is lettuce. And spinach but since I have my moringa plants to add to the spinach, I went lite there.

Or will have moringa when I re-seed after the squirrels cleaned me almost out. Just they wait, first good frost to kill worms come the Fall and I may be frying squirrel meat in the skillet.

(cue evil laugh)

lettuce in the ground

Against the wall are from left, okra, 5 plants, yardlong beans, 3 plants, cucumbers, 6 plants. I had originally planned to put the yardlongs on the fence in the second raised bed, but on further consideration, they are climbers and need room.

After talking with a friend, I think I’m going with a PVC trestle set up he’s used in the past. Instead of going straight up with it, I’m going to angle it out. Imagine a trestle with its base against the wall and the top part directly over the outside of the bed.

This does two things. First it lets the plant leaves on both side of the trestle get sun, if you get the angle right. Second, fruit from the plants hangs down through the trestle, making picking easier. We’ll see once I build it. For now, I can let them grow but by mid-week they will need stakes to climb on.

What I planted today only took about 2/3rds of the space. I have been leaning towards planting some asparagus this year but I am having real trouble finding seeds. Seed Savers doesn’t carry any, nor have I seen any at the various hardware stores.

I did find a seed packet at Lowes I thought was asparagus but after I got it home discovered it was my yardlong beans, which seem to also have the name asparagus beans. I found a picture of them…WOW!

yardlong beans ripe

A few of those will make a meal.

The nursery I get my compost from has asparagus starts, so I guess I will pick some up next time I’m there.

My new seeds came in from Seed Savers. I ordered more Stevia on Tuesday and saw that they had the Paris Market carrots back in stock. Ordered those and threw in a package of Dill, since I plan on pickling many of my cucumbers this Fall. The carrots will go into the front raised bed, with the second crop of tomatoes in about a month.

I also saw that my ramps have for the most part died off. There are a half dozen or so that have done well, and I think I’ll replant them at the end of the raised bed.

They are perennials, which means they should come back next year if they multiply. I just don’t know. From what I can find on the Web, people don’t cultivate them.

Call this a experiment in process.

First Tomato and Carrot Bed:
I cleaned out the backside flower bed today. A lot of weeds. Guess when I’m 80 something, I won’t be able to get down on my knees and weed either.

first tomato bed

I didn’t finish it because Joyce and her daughter Joy are going to take the Peone, the big flowering bush in the picture, next weekend. I’ll turn the soil and add the compost after its out. No problem because tomatoes don’t like cold temps and Joyce is predicting one more cold spell before the end of the month.

What do I know, at 80, I bet I’ll be able to predict the weather too…lol.

It doesn’t matter either way, the tomatoes are not ready to plant.

Lessons Learned:
I wait too long to transplant my sprouts. I realize that now. Take my tomatoes.

tomatoes replanted

They are way too long and skinny. I’ll give them a few weeks and if they don’t bulk out then I’ll pitch them. I’m about to start my “friends and family” crop of seeds and I now know to get them into bigger pots as soon as they pop out of the ground.

Also learned – Some plants are very quick off the line. The beans especially take no time to sprout. Though some take almost forever. The peppers and the spinach took several weeks to break the ground. Now if that’s because there wasn’t enough heat on them, I’m not sure. They are planted in my garden but I have a second crop seeded with a stronger light on them, so we’ll see if that makes a difference.

And finally – Don’t fall in love with every plant.

When I hilled up my potatoes at the end of the day, there were a few plants just breaking the soil. Hilling up meant they would now have another 3-4 inches of soil to climb through to reach the Sun.

Given the other plants that were already so tall, I doubt these late bloomers will make it. I almost deferred the hilling up to let these plants grow. Problem is, that will screw the early sprouter. If they get too big, they will “set” and I won’t see any potatoes from them. Better to sacrifice the slow ones that risk the harvest.

Here’s a pic of the bin hilled up.

potatoes hilled

I’m going to have to add the next board soon to the bin.

By the way, you can’t see it in the picture, but Joyce started a sweet potato and we planted it in the bin in the right front corner. Don’t know if it will do the same as the potatoes and grow more after hilling but what the heck, we have room to experiment, don’t we?

ADDED: I worked a few hours at my sister’s place, getting her flowers in while I used her washer and drier to do my laundry. She wanted to go by the nursery so I picked up my asparagus shoots, seven of them, which are now in the ground. Joyce said not to plant the ramps or they would get a cucumber taste, so I picked up some Bok Choy Tatsoi, which is another leafy plant like lettuce, used in salads and stir fry.

I also picked up some Nasturtium seeds to plant on the borders of my two tomato and carrot raised beds. They are a good companion plant for tomatoes. Did you know the blossoms are eatable? They can be stuffed with cream cheese and served on crackers. Won’t that be a sight for my next dinner party?

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