Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Spring... more veggies

I think I learned a few things from last year, so back in February, I pulled the square-foot wire grids off the beds and made sure we were ready to plant once the various mystic and symbolic planting dates arrived.  Found some more carrots too - we hadn't quite finished them all.  And a lone garlic plant, re-sprouting (I left it - maybe garlic takes 2 years to produce a head?). 

Then, in whichever weekend in March was nearest to St. Patrick's day this year, I began the planting work.  Twelve squares of peas (three different varieties).  Four of lettuce and four of spinach.  Sixteen squares of regular potatoes (I had parts of 2 five-pound bags in the pantry, all sprouting merrily, so in they went), and one square of sweet potato (ditto - but only one specimen to plant). 

Since then, I've added rainbow chard (2 squares, strictly experimental - we have never tried to eat this), broccoli (6 squares - from seedlings), bok choi (3 squares - from seedlings), carrots (2 squares), cucumbers (1 square from seed and 1 from seedling), canteloupe (1 square from seed and 1 from seedling), purple beans (3 squares so far - more to come), corn (8 squares), and eggplant (1 square, again, experimental).

If you add it all up, there are more than 64 squares there - and that's because we have a third box set up, this one 3' x 8'.  Just filled it with soil last weekend, so it only has the seedlings of canteloupe and cucumber and eggplant in it so far.

Another rather interesting surprise this year was that at least one of the onions set seed all over the top box.  I wasn't sure just what was sprouting at first and started pulling them everywhere they showed up.  And then I finally looked them up online and once I realized what they were, I left them alone - if we end up with a bonus crop of scallions this summer, it's all good.  I didn't replant onions this year - in the end, I couldn't get them to last the winter - they kept either shriveling up or getting moldy.

Everything that I've put in so far has sprouted (or it started that way), and we have the corn enclosed in the hardware cloth fence again.  I'm really hoping we get a bit more edible corn this year than last.  We took the few semi-seeded ears we got and stripped the corn off (love that Kuhn-Rikon corn zipper!) and froze it.  When we ate it over the winter, it was like August all over again - really amazingly good stuff.  So I'm hoping we get more than just one vacuum bag of frozen corn this year.

We are still eating the purple beans from last summer.  Getting close to the end of them, but they lasted the entire year. 

We also planted 5 tomatoes - 4 in the barrels from last year, one in one of those upside-down bag thingies, hanging from the pergola.  And I put red mulch under all of them that I could, after hearing from our neighbor next door that she saw amazing results from using it last year.  Oh, and 4 strawberries in the window box - it seems like the best place to keep the squirrels out of them, so I might get to eat one or two.  We'll see.  There are some pretty nice looking berries forming already.

We're already getting lettuce and spinach to eat - my parents were amazed that I was already picking food from the garden in May.  About a salad's worth each evening or so, which is absolutely perfect for us.

I'm going to train all of the vining plants up frames or cages or trellises this year - cucumbers, canteloupe, zucchini, etc.  The seeds for the canteloupe and cukes went in right next to the corn cage and will use that.

Our daughter came back from her first year of college with a small pot full of sprouting seeds this spring - supposedly the 4" pot has sunflowers, bell peppers, and strawberries in it.  I'm giving her some space in the third box to let them spread out a bit - well, the strawberries will probably go in a spot I don't intend to dig up at the end of the season.

Lots of planting to come this weekend - more purple beans, and 1 (ONLY 1) zucchini.  Spring is the best!