Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The New Bed and fall garden!

Finally we finished bed #4. Enthusiasm had flagged on all accounts, easily attributed to the mind-numbing heat for all of July, with the unfortunate addition of potentially West Nile carrying mosquitoes at the cool times of day when we would rather work, such as the early, mid and late evening. Certainly I neglect to mention the early morning, which would have potential, except that this household full of night owls hate to go to bed early, particularly when it's hot in the house by the end of the day and when we can't open up the windows and set up the fans to exhaust the hot air until 10:00 at night, we aren't getting to bed until after 11:00. Of course the really dedicated would be up at the crack of dawn and take a mid-afternoon siesta....

So the work schedule dropped off quite considerably, and as the time was coming to plant the fall garden, and as we needed the bed for the fall garden, we decided to put in a big push and get it done, and we pulled out the last big rock at about 6:30 pm on 8-8-08, picked up a yard and a half of "planter's mix" from a local garden supply, shoveled it out and wheel-barrowed it into the back yard and mixed it into the existing soil remaining in the bed minus the many rocks and gravel we'd removed. At about 10 pm, John and I were planting up most of the bed with seedlings we'd grown; watering, mulching with straw, putting in hoops and row cover for shade and hoping for the best, as we were leaving town for a week and would be leaving the garden in the hands of the boys. We finished up at about 11:30 pm and made our flight without difficulty the next day.

I talked with the boys daily while away, and Russ was watering every day with a little help from Brian. Nearly every seedling survived, although Russ did say that "Some things died..." the day before our return, and as I had no other information than that, I was a little nervous until I had a chance to go see for myself. I had taken the precaution of saving some seedlings in their seedling flats in the shade of the garden beds under the mature plants, and this was a good idea although I didn't have to re-plant more than two or three. The only other problem we've had since involved a rise in our local water table, flooding out the basement of a neighbor and causing the garden beds to stay saturated after a good two-day rain storm that dropped about 2 1/2 inches in two days. I had to go out periodically and dump out the water flooding the seedling flats, and although the established plants looked fine, the seedlings all looked a little oxygen starved for a couple of days. It's drying out gradually now, warm and dry again, and seedlings are perking up today.

Fall garden seedlings planted so far include:
Pac Choy, beets, 3 or 4 types of kale, chard (different types), orach, broccoli (2 types), and collard greens. More to follow as I can make room for them.

I'm presently watching the angle of the sun shift fairly rapidly, and planning the design for my green house. Soon I should pull out the remaining plants (except for Brussels sprouts) in former hoop house #1 and #2 and plant cover crops. I'm impressed with the rate of speed with which the garden changes in character as the season progresses.


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