Monday, April 7, 2008


We have a schedule dictated by the weather and it goes roughly like this:
-The weather gets fairly cold (30's, low 40's- not that cold) and it snows some. Perhaps a little sleet or rain will fall as well. I stay indoors and move some plants into South facing windows, and plant/transplant things as needed. I also do laundry and other house-bound things.
-Next, it warms up some and we have a day or so of melting and drying out. On those days it tends to be in the upper 40's or so and Russ and I run errands and take field trips on our bicycles.
-Then it warms up and we put on our sun hats, sunscreen, gloves, sunglasses, etc. and dive out into the yard to air out the hoop houses and water inside them and to dig in The Trench or prepare garden beds for planting or to plant. As soon as it warms up it tends to get quite windy and this urges us to work harder outside because all that warm air moving through is of course in front of the next cold front.
This last week we had enough warm weather that I admit that I overdid it somewhat both with the bicycling and with the hauling and pick-axing and general garden effort, and looked forward to having a "down" period in which to catch my breath.
And so, for the current garden status report:
Hoop #1 continues to require thinning as the plants are starting to size up. Of particular note are the Siberian Kale, Orach, Yellow Chard and Bloomsdale Spinach. The Red Russian Kale is well represented, but seems less healthy than the others- I'll wait and see. Onions are coming in thickly and need thinning or transplanting.
Hoop #2 took a little vacation while I pulled myself together after the vole visits. Last week I planted New Zealand Spinach, Beets, Turnips, Broccoli. I noticed that 3 onions I'd planted weeks ago, had gone untouched by voles.
I have another mini-hoop+ plastic covered section in the garden in which I had transplanted Red Russian Kale and Yellow Chard from Hoop #1, and some good-sized Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and Red Cabbage grown under lights and hardened off. These I transplanted about 2 weeks ago in my mini-hoop covered section, well mulched with straw and covered with floating row cover. These larger transplants have suffered! It freezes at night and they lose leaves to frostbite. If it warms up and I leave off the floating row cover, they desiccate in the wind. So far they have recovered, sending up new leaves and looking stronger given sufficient warmth, water and cover from the wind. I think overall, that it's best to seed the plants out in the hoop house rather than to transplant although my failures have been more related to hungry rodents than freezing nights and windy afternoons.
I've been preparing beds and planting out in the garden without cover and so far have planted 3 kinds of Peas ("Wando" started breaking soil yesterday), Turnip "7 top" and Purple Globe (both slowly coming up), Mizuna, Broccoli Rabe (coming up this week), Radishes, Chard, Beets and Carrots.
Indoors I have Onions, Leeks, a couple of Shallots, Celeric (looking a tad anemic), Tomatos, Fennel, Dill, Lavender, Sage and the last of the Cabbages, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts from the collection I keep sacrificing to the Hoop houses. I also through a bunch of old seeds mixed with other interesting options to make an indoor "micro-mix" in a seedling flat to see how it does. This is a mix of Chard, Mizuna, Corn Salad, Red Russian Kale, and Onions. Everything is coming up nicely.

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