Sunday, April 3, 2011
Read My Dirty-Girl Palm, Pea AND Toilet Rolls in the Dirt.
So, the snow peas went in yesterday with the help of pixies. They were eager for the fun bit (pushing the peas into the ground.) and quietly reluctant when it came time to put the meshing over the boxes.
Although they were both quite helpful and eager to help me smash the two long metal poles into the ground with a heavy metal shovel. It rang out across the neighbourhood like a morning bell: 'Wake up! It's spring!'
First, I had to dig out the soil from the pile of decomposing leaves I had buried the boxes in before winter. We flattened out the soil, and then the pixies squished the half toilet rolls in the ground, on either side of the chicken wire trellis I fumbled together. We were aiming for 4" apart, but some varied. That's what you get when you work with pixies. I've read about people just digging a trench along the ground and filling it with peas instead of worrying about spacing them, so I figured we'd just go with it.
Last year I bought rolls of plastic "chicken wire" (it's more like a netting.) I staple these cut-from-last-year pieces over the box, to keep the squirrels out. They are persistent little so-and-so's. And as I've mentioned before, my cats don't bother chasing them anymore.
When the peas are all done, (should be finished by the thirdish week in may) this box is going to be half pumpkin (On the edge, so it can trail out to a part of the yard we don't use.) and the other half sweet pepper. (I'll be brewing up some ever-so-yummy compost tea to liven up the soil after the hungry hungry peas have had their way with this box.)
TODAY I worked on a second garden box. Look, you can read my palm if you look real close. (feel free to let me know if you see more than a few weeks in my lifeline, eh.) These are the lettuce mix seeds.
I put in the first 6 rows, hoping my succession planting will work out. I picked up this little trick from a few different sources, but most notably a book from my Mom and Dad-in-Law/Love's house. About how you can plant far closer together, and then there's less room for weeds to creep in, and also planting things that are finished at different times, so early finishers get pulled first, leaving the later harvests to grow more.
So, the first row is a Bouquet Radish Mix (certified organic mix of Pink Beauty, White Beauty and Plum Purple.) These will be ready in 25-35 days.
The Second Row is a Bourmet Heirloom Leaf Lettuce Mix (organic, mix of Black Seeded Simpson, Green Oak Leaf, Red Deer Tongue, Australian Yellowleaf and Cracoviensis.) These mature in about 45 -55 days
The third row is a Five Colour Silverbeet Shard (Swiss Chard, and organic chard that come up in red, yellow, orange, pink and cream, and will make the garden pretty AND tasty! They should be ready to start harvesting in 55 to 60 days.)
I repeated this a second time, so there are 6 rows in, and then covered them up with the plastic chicken wire/netting, until I"m ready to put more rows in. I don't want 50 flipping lettuce heads ready all at once - although I know some of these will be coming to the farmers market with me in spring. Perilous Consciousness be damned, I've booked my spot for the year.
I had some coffee cans out there to help me space them. I'm not sure if you can see the rings in the dirt in the pic, but the radishes needed 4", so I used the mouth of the small can to make rings side by side in the to gauge the distance. The lettuce suggested 4 to 6" apart, so I used the big coffee can for that. The chard suggests 12 to 15" apart, which they will be by the time they are maturing, as the radishes will be out, and I'll probably pull half of the lettuces (the other half I'm going to try just removing the outer leaves or stubs so they'll continue to grow as long as they can through the summer.)
So, the deal with the toilet paper rolls... I read this somewhere too. This is going to help me know what is actually a plant as opposed to a weed. Some of these things I've never tried before, and I don't want to accidentally pull something thinking it's a weed. (Seriously, I know it sounds dorky, but I've done it.) I've also read that this can help keep slugs and cutworms out, if you just leave the cardboard tubes in place.
Because I've got nothing else really going on (except for feeding the family, writers block, and a slight fear of falling asleep and not waking up.) I've been all about the garden.
This might get repetitive. Just saying.