I served on a jury this past week. It proved to be an educational yet (for this gardener) a highly frustrating process consisting of many episodes of hurry up and wait, while outside, the sun was shining and the garden singing its siren song of spring. Nonetheless, with the threat of a rainy extended forecast, I managed to get a lot of gardening done in the past few days. I also donated PLENTY of blood to the local black fly population, ensuring the continuation of the species. No, no, don’t thank me. Everyone must do their part.
I was eager to fertilize, finish distributing compost and to get the compost worked into the soil before monsoon season set in. I managed to finish all the garden beds, and to lay the IRT plastic mulch over the tomato/pepper and squash beds. I then set the new tomato cages in place to help hold the mulch down. The tomatoes are getting big. I can’t decided whether I should pot them up, or try and plant them despite the cool wet weather. If removed the tomato cages, could plant the tomatoes and cover them with floating row cover. Other suggestions, anyone?
I set out all my brassica starts. I had Violet Queen Cauliflower, 2 different varieties of Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Red Cabbage, Broccoli Rabe, Purple Pac Choi, and several varieties of broccoli. These all went in the bed in the photo on the right. The brassicas I set out early in May from purchased starts look great, they settled right in and are growing well under the row cover. Those can be seen in the left photo. I need to work more on my succession plan of brassicas, and get some Cheddar and Graffiti cauliflower, cabbages, Brussels sprouts and more scheduled.
I also sowed some radish and carrot seeds using my handy planting jigs. Next week I’ll plant a second square of each. I figure with this rain I should have good carrot germination.
The last task was to get my potatoes planted. I used the deep hole method again, digging a hole, setting the seed potato in the hole, then covering it with soil. As the plant grows I’ll continue to fill in the hole with soil and compost. I planted an assortment of Carola, Yellow Finn, and fingerling potatoes. Now that the ‘taters are planted, I feel like I have a bit of breathing room. Well, except for the tomatoes.
This week while it rains outside, I will content myself with starting a few seeds, kale and greens for chicken salad, chard, herbs, and maybe some cukes and squash. If the sun comes out, or the rain stops, I will sow my second planting of peas, and some beets.
Another big project was weeding the hoophouse, and preparing the cuke bed. I’m going to use the IRT mulch for the cukes and melons. I weeded, added compost and fertilizer, spread the IRT mulch, and planted some Socrates cucumbers, which are supposed to be cold tolerant. We’ll see how that goes, the soil felt pretty warm. As lettuce comes out, I will do the amend and mulch the rest of the hoophouse, which will be planted with cukes, melons and tomatoes. Melons and cukes will be encouraged to scramble out the side and climb the fence just outside the hoophouse, and the tomatoes will be in special cages.
Other tasks on the list:
Make some remesh cages for the pole beans and get them planted.
Make a raised bed in front of the blueberries to add some additional space. I think I’ll put squash in this bed to give myself more room in the garden proper. I’ll make the raised bed frame easy to dismantle so that at the end of the season, I can move the blueberries a bit further apart. The original spacing, designed to be hedge-like, just feels too crowded.
Non veggie garden tasks include seeding in some thin patches of lawn, dividing some perennials, especially hosta plants, in the front garden; weeding the flower beds, especially the violets out of the front bed; and mulching all the flower beds. No rest for the wicked I guess.