Friday, May 27, 2011

Dirt Watch - Holiday Edition

Around here, Mother's Day is when you can start putting in plants that can't handle frost: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and such. I'd bought some of each early this week, and have been slowly getting them into the ground as time allowed.

Today I finished up by planting bush bean seeds (a little late, but they should be ok). I'm not a green bean fan, but my family is, so eight of the little guys went in.

Also in the ground is more Swiss Chard. The original ones didn't fare well, and I think only one is still alive. I replanted there and added a couple more squares worth.

I have two tomato plants in big pots. One's a beefsteak variety and another of cherry tomatoes. In the boxes there are two Roma tomato plants. These beasties will climb the net trellis and are supposedly great to make tomato sauce. I've had good luck with tomatoes in the past, so I'm optimistic.

Also in the ground this week are cucumbers, a couple of green pepper plants, a square of parsley, and another of basil.

From the original seed stock I started with, the carrots seem to be doing great, as are the radishes. The lettuce and spinich is finally taking off, and the peas (snow and sugar snap) are climbing the net and already pushing out a couple of little pods. I'm pretty much writing off the onions this year.

I think I've made some basic mistakes during this initial year of Square-Foot Gardening. First off, I don't think I watered enough early on. I'm thinking about adding a drip irrigation setup next Spring. Second, I really need more sun in the backyard. I took out some overarching branches from the neighbor's tree, which helped, but I've got one massive branch about 45' up on a maple in my yard that needs to go (I want to get rid of the whole tree - maybe next year). I can do it from the ground with my rope saw if I can get the thing up and over the branch. Sounds like a project for this weekend, eh?

Thirdly, I didn't put enough dirt mix into the boxes to begin with. On the plus side, I used 2x10's instead of 2x6's as recommended, so even with the settling of the mix I'm still barely ok. But I need to really overload the boxes next time.

My final problem is that I bought into the hype about not needing fertilizer. I got some slow-release general purpose stuff that I've started adding to the dirt. We'll see how that works out.

Aside from the food crops, I planted a Hibiscus for Liz (because she wanted one, I give it 50-50 about surviving our Winters) and a few boxwood shrubs. Dusty Millers and Impatiens (the ol' go-to) are in the front bed and should be spectacular as they spill out between the pickets of the fence. Mucho hardwood mulch went in today.*

That pretty much wraps up the garden prep for the season. All that's left is to water and enjoy.

* I don't get this new "rubber" mulch. They claim it doesn't rot and will last for years. To me, the idea of mulch is that it does compost and improves the hell out of your soil - year after year after year. Oh well, what do I know?


LeeAnn said...

I'm exhausted just reading about it.

sheri said...

Rubber mulch = ew. I am partial to pine bark mulches. Not that you asked.

Also from the "I Don't Recall Asking For Your Opinion, Missy" Dept.: I was skeptical of those DIY drip irrigation "systems" (DIG brand, e.g.) but damn if they don't work. I've tapped into sprinkler heads with their little adapter thingies and run lines all over the place where the sprinklers didn't reach or where I needed extra water. They work great for us. Once you get into it there are tons on options for layouts and it's actually sort of "fun." That's sneer-quotes fun, but fun, nonetheless.

Ted said...

Now I must go research DIY drip irrigation systems. :) This is supposed to be a relaxing weekend, so what better way to relax than with a glass of lemonade and my laptop?