Thursday, April 16, 2015

March-April Garden update (Greens, herbs, & Root vegetables)

If you have been following the garden updates, you may know I began planting in mid-March. We transplanted Cauliflower, Brussels, Broccoli, Garlic, Shallots, Onions, and Cabbage to the garden about a month ago. At the end of March, we planted Spinach, Lettuce, Collards, Radish, Kohlrabi, Turnip, Kale, and Arugula from seed. The Radicchio was transplanted a week and or so ago. Now that it is mid-April, the vegetables planted by seed have established their second set of leaves and have grown almost 2 inches tall and wide.

 As mentioned in a previous post, we have been growing and transplanting fruit trees, fruit bushes, and vegetables by the Farmer's Almanac. I posted pictures of the fruit tree additions here: Blooming fruit trees in the food forest. On days that are 'favorable for planting root crops, greens, and flowers', we transplanted the Nectarine trees, plum tree, paw paw trees, blueberry and raspberry bushes. Of course on those days we would directly sow root vegetables and greens.

There has been a rain shower daily for the last week and a half in Kentucky, which has been perfect growing conditions for greens and root vegetables. As you can see from the photo above, water is retaining in between the Hugelkultur mounds. Many root vegetables will rot in wet soil, so be sure to provide plenty of drainage. I highly advocate tall Hugelkultur mounds which allow for good drainage during rainy season in the Spring months, while retaining water in the wood-- which releases during times of drought in the Summer months.

James and I wanted to experiment throwing out seeds in the compost bed. We were excited to find that nearly all the tomato seeds we scattered came up. During their germination period we kept a sheet of transparent plastic over top of the raised bed and weighed it down with rocks. Tomato plants particularly germinate well in warmer soil.

compost raised bed growing tomato starters

All the plants continue to grow quickly. Here are some of the photos I have taken in the last couple of days of the Spring garden:

pineapple sage growing in herb & flower bed

French Lavender growing in herb & flower bed

Peas growing around trellis circle

The last couple of days have been favorable for planting above-ground and vining crops, I transplanted the Pumpkins and directly sowed Pumpkin seed within the first Hugelkultur mound I made (in front of the house). Where I am growing Pumpkins, the powdery brown mix you see in the picture below is wood ashes on top of the Hugelkultur mound.

Also on the days favoring vine crops, I directly sowed (from seed) Acorn squash and Butternut Squash, and transplanted Tomatoes. James added a trellis to the set of tomato plants on top of the Hugelkultur mounds.

Yesterday I noticed the seeds sprouting in the flat area of the garden. We're not exactly sure what's sprouting, but radish, turnip, beet seeds were planted in the flat. In the photo below you'll notice a the flat area in between the Spring garden (four mounds in the background) and Summer garden (three mounds in the foreground of the picture).

Yesterday on the 15th, we transplanted two Red bell pepper plants and basil plant, because it was a favorable day for planting above-ground crops. I was a little apprehensive buying and transplanting tomatoes and peppers so early in the season. But to take precaution in the event of a late frost, I am watching the weather forecast daily.

Today and Friday (Thursday&Friday, 16-17th) will be "poor planting days" according to the Farmer's Almanac, so I will not be transplanting anything, but may directly sow Swiss chard.

I'll be finished planting greens and vegetables and fruit trees on this property soon, and in about a month, James and I will be planting potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, corn, and other things at my grandparents' property. 

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