Monday, March 16, 2015

What to grow in March in Zone 6 & Making raised beds

For the last couple of days, Kentucky was in a flood warning due to the amount of rain we were receiving; and eventually I managed to transplant cabbage, onions, and garlic bulbs, since we got a break from the rain. James and I were able to plant Cabbage starts, red onion bulbs, some shallots and garlic yesterday. We planted garlic and onion around the Cabbage plants to deter snails, caterpillars, and other things. Although I have heard weak plants put off stress hormones that attract destructive bugs, I have found that even the healthiest Cabbage and broccoli plants are vulnerable to many insects-- even rabbits!

Because March and April will predictably stay cold at night, I am using cloches to protect plants during the night. As you can see from the photos, I am using plastic water bottles which. I cut the bottoms off the bottle to place over top of each Cabbage plant. The cap is left off the bottle to allow the plant to breath. Without thinking, I was cutting the tops off the bottles then realized it was more efficient the other way. There are many ways to protect plants using recycled materials, which you can see here: Cloches plant protection (early planting & extend growing season).

Cabbage starters protected by plastic bottles

Yesterday reach 74 degrees, with partly cloudy skies--which was perfect conditions for transplanting starters. Of course I had another tray of cabbage starts to transplant. That particular tray of Cabbage starts are some of the weak plants which I am growing separately from the healthy Cabbage. The weak plants are being transplanted to the compost bed. I covered these plants with plastic bottles as well.

weak Cabbage starters transplanted in compost bed

In the Hugelkultur mounds, we have planted up to 40 healthy Cabbage plants and over 100 red onion plants/bulbs. Yesterday I directly planted Buttercrunch Lettuce, two types of kale, spinach, Collards, and kohlrabi within the cabbage and onion plants in the Hugel mounds.
I did not directly sow seeds within the mulch because the tiny seeds may not grow through the big pieces of wood chips. Instead, I made medium-sized holes throughout the mulch to fill with garden soil. The fine, loose garden soil are better growing conditions for tiny seeds.
If the weather permits, I expect to present a flourishing variety of greens and root vegetables within a month.

We recently purchased 9 Brussel Sprouts plants, 9 Broccoli plants, and 9 Cauliflower plants which will be planted within the Hugel mounds.

4 Hugel beds growing Cabbage, Lettuce, kale, spinach, onions, collards, radish & kohlrabi
Today I directly planted 80+ Lincoln variety Green Peas. Because I have onions growing throughout the Hugel mounds, I am growing Peas in a different location since Peas and Onions are bad companion plants. Off to the side in the triangle garden, I planted Peas around the fence. My method was making a small circular ditch around the fence, then adding garden soil to the ditch for directly sowing the peas.

Peas planted around fence

I was also able to plant Maiden Pinks and Delphinium flower seeds. I planted the flower seeds in the raised bed (in front of the Hugel mounds). This raised bed is dedicated to some short flowers, herbs, and other vegetables with some tall flowers. The raised bed was formed within a couple of hours a week ago, by laying out cardboard, then dirt and mulch on top. I added logs to outline the raised bed/contain the soil and mulch.

flower seeds planted in raised bed
It was another productive gardening day for me. I planted Peas, flower seeds, watered the garden, then assembled another raised bed. The raised bed seen in the picture above is situated across from the bed seen below. It was also formed by laying out cardboard, small sticks and leaf litter with dirt layered on top. Here I will grow Perennial herbs such as Thyme, sage, mint, and catnip in the hopes that they spread their seed in the field next to the house. 

raised bed for Perennial herbs
The Forecast is giving another chance of rain for Friday, so I have extra days to assemble two additional raised beds. One raised bed I'm working on lays slanted on a bank, situated beside the Paw paw trees. This bed will be growing Goji berries. The additional raised bed (I have not started yet) will be placed underneath an Apple tree where I will grow a variety of other herbs and flowers.

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