Late Sunday afternoon, Dan and I swung by a local nursery to pick up some seedlings for a salad box we put together for Mom for mother’s day. Perusing the offerings, I noticed how far ahead their beautiful onion, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage plants were compared to mine; naturally, a pack of each came home with me, and Monday I took a vacation day and stayed home to garden.
Blue skies and sunshine reigned Monday morning, so I hit the garden early to set out the plants. I loosened the soil, added compost and fertilizer in all the beds I was planting, then set out the plants, (which had been hardened off at the nursery).
The onions went in to the right of the garlic in the top photo, above the shallots along the back of the fence. I will plant leeks below he shallots when they are ready to set out in a couple of weeks. I planted the onions fairly closely with the intention of thinning them as the summer progresses for use in salads. Ultimately, I am aiming for 4″ on center spacing, or 9/square foot. I have yet to mulch the onions, but will once the stems get a bit sturdier and stand up, making the mulching process easier. I will use chopped leaves for the onions, as I did for the garlic and shallots,as it is easy to spread around the closely-spaced plants and I like to think the chopped edges of the leaves deter the slugs. Humor me.
The cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower got slightly different treatment. Half of the plants were planted into IRT mulch, and the rest were planted into the soil and mulched with chopped leaves, all at 1/square foot. I am interested in comparing how these cool-weather crops do with the different mulches. I will have more brassicas to set out in a few weeks and have yet to decide what I will do — I might re-create the experiment and mulch half with leaves, and half with the IRT and compare to see if a later planting in IRT will make the soil warmer than they prefer.
I need to add the plastic cup slug preventer but did not have any on hand, so will need to do that as soon as I can and hope for slow slugs in the meantime. When Dan got home, he helped me cover the plants with floating row cover to keep them a bit warmer and prevent the dreaded imported cabbage butterflies from setting up a nursery on the plants.
Onions, v. Candy (85 days)
Cabbage, v. Early Jersey Wakefield (60-65 days)
Broccoli, v. Packman (55 days)
Cauliflower, v. Snow Crown (50-60 days)