Gardening is one of the most profound expressions of faith in the universe! You toil to break the clods, you lovingly nurture your starter plants and tuck in your little seeds, then you wait and hope! Plus, around here, all in the know add remay or plastic at least until mid June!
The Talbert garden is off to a good start, all things considering. Potatoes and onions went in about a month ago with the broccoli, kale and swiss chard starts, dahlia corms and beet, mustard and turnip seeds three weeks ago, and the raspberry flowers are well developed with bees buzzing in profusion. Now we’re taking the big jump – last week the tomato and pepper plants went out and we sowed the green beans!
Here’s how the rasberries, potatoes, onions, broccoli and early greens look:
We’ve learned the hard way here in the PNW to start tomatoes in warm conditions (we use plastic tunnels wrapped around large wire cages), and to avoid the blight diseases by planting them in peat pots raised above the garden soil, with great care taken to minimize soil splash. Here is a look inside one of the tomato cages where you can see the pot, the cage and the plant.
Another key learning for us has been to sow the squash seeds indoors, then transplant them out as soon as their cotyledons (seed leaves) are fully out and expanded. Otherwise these seeds seem to be very hit and miss in their germination in our cool spring soils, even under remay. Here are our little winter squash starts, just out:
We covered these with remay right after transplanting, mulching and watering in. The summer squash starts were a little slower coming up under the gro-lights so they will go out today.
By the way, anyone who hasn’t tried remay yet as a cover over your seeds and starts through the early spring…TRY IT! Rain penetrates and the cloth is light enough to allow the plants to push up under it; it warms the air and soil considerably but leaves don’t burn when touching it as they do with plastic. One place to purchase it, or to get a look at it, is the terretorial seed catalog: http://www.territorialseed.com/product/1669/171.
We also decided to sow our beans this week, bush and pole beans, about 25′ of bed. We surface sow the seeds in rows with seeds about 2″ apart (I thin to the best plants later) and then cover with compost and remay. Last to go out will be corn – the starts are germinating indoors until the endosperm is absorbed. Otherwise we’ve found that the voles will tunnel under the corn beds and eat the seeds, leaving the sad little tops on the surface. We will probably get these out Friday.
I will keep everybody posted with pix of the development of the plants and yields over the summer. In my next post I will share some info on our preferred varieties of tomatoes, potatoes, beans and corn, and the suppliers that sell them.