Saturday, May 9, 2009

heavy planting day

According to my PA master gardener guide, May 10th is the last day of average frost in Pittsburgh. I checked the 5 day forecast and the predicted low next week is 38 degrees. So I figured what the heck - lets get the remaining stuff in the ground this weekend.

This morning I planted...
  1. 3 squares of pickling cucumbers. These replaced some of my earliest cabbage and brocoli plantings which were killed by the critter.
  2. 2 squares of zucchini. These replaced a leek, which never took and seed saver lettuce, which also never took.
  3. 1 square of butternut squash - replaced a nibbled broccoli.
  4. 1 square of replacement carrots. The original 16 seeds had only germinated 6 carrots, so I added replacement seeds. I planted these replacements pretty thick, thinking I'll thin later. The single seed approach for carrots has certainly not worked well, as germination is a real issue.
  5. I finished the sun garden raised bed pea planting. I put in about 50 innoculated goliath edible podded snow peas.
  6. Like the carrots, the golden bantam corn has not germinated well so far. I planted the rest of these seeds with many of them filling in blank spots in my original planting. I bet the germination rate on this 4/13 planting was less than 20%. I'm hoping the cold had something to do with that and today's planting comes in nice and thick. I ran out of seeds and was only able to plant about 2/3 of this raised bed in corn.
  7. In the remaining space of the corn bed, I planted approx 17 Fin de Bagnol bush beans. These were from a seed savers seed exchange. Beans and Corn are supposed to do well together. I interplanted pole beans with my corn last year and it was really cute.
  8. I also tossed in three mini rows of green onions
  9. I completed the root crop raised bed. I put in 4 rows of beets. 2 rows of cylindra and two rows of early wonders. I didn't bother with the deep trench and screened compost approach that I used for the first two plantings. I just decided to plant traditional rows with pretty tight spacing for future thinning. It will be a nice experiment to see if the additional effort of the first two plantings results in better beets. I also reseeded some carrots due to the bad germination rate of prior plantings.
I found a couple interesting volunteers this morning. One I believe was an avocado core, which had sprouted in the sq foot garden. The other was a stick from a tree, which was growing and new tree. The kids were excited about the tree, so I replanted it in a pot.

Yesterday I removed the green manure from the high wall garden and added it to the green compost. I also added 5 large buckets of black gold compost to this garden and used my 8 inch fork to till it in. This will be a roma tomato garden. The tomatoes are hardening off outside now. I am becoming a big fan of green manure. The rye was about 3 feet tall when I tore it out. It was a fall planting that wintered over. The clover had formed a lush, 6 inch green carpet. This was a spring planting. They added about 10 inches of good nitrogen to the compost. It felt like I was completing the cycle as I would run alternating trips of green compost and black gold to and from this garden.

I also hilled up potatoes for the third time yesterday. They are just darn huge. I am basically out of available dirt to keep hilling them up.

The harvest is up to 9.25 pounds for the season. I also started tracking the number of harvests (basically trying to count our home grown veggie meals). We are up to 18 harvests for the year. We are grabbing lettuce, spinach, beet leaves, and onion and shallot tops multiple times a day now. The asparagus gives us 5 stalks a day as well. The Pok Choi is being harvested, but is disappointing as it flowered very quickly and it's leaves are sparse and small.

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