Better Late Than Never
Two weeks of having my new garden, and I finally feel like I’m making some progress with it. Digging the pathways and raised beds was quite the laborious task and took a lot more time than I anticipated. But I wanted to do the framework right, putting in deep paths with a deep layer of mulch so weeds and mud will be staved off most of the time.
Grunt work done, it was time to get planting. It’s already quite late in the seaons to be planting some of the cool weather spring crops. But since I already had the seeds, I figured it was worth putting a few in just to see what would happen. On April 24th, I sowed seeds for Easter Egg Radishes (Raphanus sativus), Sugar Snap Peas (Pisum sativum), and an “antique” lettuce cutting mix (Lactuca sativa). For the radishes, I put in a 3′ x 5′ section of one of my raised bed. For the peas and lettuce, I sowed them together in the same section of another raised bed, hoping the peas growing up the trellis will eventually provide enough shade to keep the lettuce happy a little longer in this unseasonably warm spring. If nothing else, I can hang a tent of filmy cloth from the trellis too. Granted, this little scheme of mine depends in part on the peas taking off themselves, a challenge on dry near-80 degree days like we’ve been having this April. Fingers crossed!
Radish Seeds Sugar Snap Pea Sees
In any case, I sowed 20 peas and broadcast a 2′ x 6′ section of the lettuce seeds. I wish I had talked to Harold, one of my teachers, a little sooner about some of his helpful tricks for planting in clay-rich soil like what’s in my garden. Next time I direct sow small seeds like lettuce and radish, I’ll follow his advice and cover them with potting soil instead of the existing dirt that tends to form a hard crust that diminishes germination success. (Of course this is only practical advice for the home gardener with a small manageable plot. Farmers would be hard pressed to do this.) Live and learn, right?
Next up on the “direct sow” list are carrots, swiss chard, sorrel, and chicory. I also need to get to work on starting seeds in trays for transplants of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and cucumbers. I already did this months ago for Weavers Way Farm so if feels like I’m way behind schedule. It’ll be a late harvest all around this season, but that’s fine since I’m only growing this plot for myself (and for the blog/you). I’m also looking around for some more unusual stuff: a hardy kiwi and maybe some ground cherries. The complete crop list, or at least complete as it stands right now, is captured below.
To keep myself organized, on my garden design sheet, I’ve broken out each of my four raised beds, which are three feet wide, into five foot sections. I feel it will be a good starting amount of space for most of the crops I am growing to feed myself and D over the summer and to put back some preserves for winter. Some crops will take up more than one 3′ x 5′ section, especially the ones I like…oh beloved swiss chard and tomatoes, I can’t wait to start harvesting you!
Oh, another exciting tidbit to share that’s garden related: I’m getting a hive of bees to keep as part of my apprentice work! I’ll definitely be posting a lot more information about that as I get started, but for now I’m dreaming of harvesting my own honey and maybe selling it with some of my homemade teas, either online or at the Headhouse Market. How cool would that be? I am also going to start investigating the best flowers for honeybees and make sure to plant plenty of them in my garden.
So who has a garden plan or inspiration to share?? I can use more ideas so let me know what you’ve got!