Preparing and Planting (A Little)

This past weekend was so absolutely GORGEOUS, we totally forgot to get a Sunday post done! Seriously, the beautiful weather we experienced over the course of 48 hours was something to write home about. Both Saturday and Sunday were magnificently warm and breezy, it was an absolute shame to have to be indoors at all. But we weren’t, not for the bulk of the weekend.

Most of the glorious day Saturday was spent readying two of the square, raised beds for the greens and romanesco. With the weather being a little wonky this month, we waited until the end of the ideal transplanting time (end of the second week of April) to move some (not all) of these plants outside. We raked up each beds’ cover of leaves and tilled up the existing soil. We found one bed to be in really good shape soil-wise, while the other left something to be desired. The massive rains of the past couple weeks did nothing to help soil erosion, that’s for sure. But we did put some of the compost to good use. Between that and some potting soil we had leftover from last year, we filled in one of the beds quite nicely.

After the hard work, it was time for the easy stuff — transplanting!  We chose the strongest of the greesn and romanesco from their temporary dixie cups and moved them to the beds. So now we have one bed of argula and romanesco transplants:

08bed-1
Sorry for the blurriness…also the chicken wire. More on that in a bit.

And we have one bed full of kale, mesclun, lettuce, and spinach transplants:

08bed-2
What the heck is that pole in the middle?? We’ll get to that too.

So far so good in each of the beds. In the one with arugula and romanesco we scattered a bunch of dill seeds (companion planting). The spinach in the second bed is looking a bit troubled at the moment, so it’s likely we’ll add more seeds to the mix in the coming weeks.

As for all the accouterments, you can thank the insanely active wildlife that’s taken over the backyard this month for that. Already the squirrels are out in full force, and the birds have become morning alarm clocks. The chicken wire makes for a great barrier and nothing has gotten in that bed. In the second bed, that stake is holding up a piece of bird netting, which is doing a fine barrier job as well.

In addition to dealing with the greens, we also transplanted or little basil seedlings into planters, and we placed a couple in the cold frame to see how it would do there. They seem to be fine in the warm weather, but with cold and rain on the way, we’ll probably bring them indoors for some portion of the week.

We also set about planting an early crop of peas in the bed with the trellis.

SAMSUNG
The pea-trellis bed from last year.

Unfortunately, we did not think to cover that bed with netting or wire, and we found evidence the next day of squirrels digging in the soil with their little, squirrely mitts! Thankfully not many of peas had been dug up, and we have more to replace any that were captured. You bet your boot that a piece of bird netting now covers the bed.

The best surprise of the weekend came from our strawberry plant. Last year we planted two strawberry plants in a large pot with a decorative, iron trellis. One plant didn’t make it, but one soldiered on. Late last year we move the pot next to the small cherry tomato bed by the house so that we could keep an eye on it. Over the course of the winter we watched as the thing became frozen, buried, and defrosted. This past weekend, we removed some of the dead leaves from the cherry tomato bed and found that the strawberry had thrown out a number of shoots into the bed! Better yet, they were growing!

08strawberries
The strawberry, taking over!

This situation is making us rethink the fate of that bed. We still want to plant tomatoes in it somehow, so we might try to carefully trellis the vines on the ground. Or we might just leave the whole thing to become a strawberry bed (no complaints!). Or we might move the strawberry elsewhere. Funny thing is we actually found more shoots on the other side of the pot growing in the teeniest line of soil next to the house. One way or another, that strawberry is determined to live, and we’re going to do our best to make sure it has a long and happy life!

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3 thoughts on “Preparing and Planting (A Little)

  1. fmajewicz 04/15/2014 / 4:59 pm

    Yikes, with all your planting I hope the snow storm we are getting right now will not affect you. That would be an awful shame to have cold weather and snow destroy your garden.

    • Garden State-ments 04/16/2014 / 9:15 am

      Luckily, the brunt of the really bad weather skipped over us. That said, we did get a ton of rain and it’s going to be colder over the next couple days, so we’re keeping a close watch on everything. (Good thing we didn’t transplant all the seedlings! We’ll use our backups in case any currently outside don’t make it.)

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