Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 2012 - In like a lion, then became T Rex - how will the month end? (Part 1)

 I know from keeping a garden journal that every year starts out the same.  That week or so in February that gets into the sixties scrambles the mind and make even the most pragmatic gardener think they can plant a few seeds. And then you spend the next two months in agony protecting them.  Let me explain.
Broccoli Raab sprouting

The first peas breaking through

Week 2 - 60% of all the seeds have sprouted - It was raining a lot at this point, but since they were under winter row cover, they were not getting too wet, and even with the temps dipping down below 40 at night, they were still doing OK.  Notice my now 1-yr old pyrethrum to the right - the flowers of this plant of the chrysanthemum family are what is used for organic pest control.  They overwintered well and are coming alive under the canopy of my cold frame.

Ready to transplant - 4 varieties of peas, two different kinds of swiss chard and spinach...

From the far left, my speckled troutback romaine, more spinach, magentaspreen, and then my broccoil raab.  I knew that I needed to plant at least one bed right away - and between rain showers, got the bed ready.

I had already removed all the rest of the carrots from last fall, and now just added some new soil mix - the soil had compacted some, and I needed to top off the bed.  Had to be careful on the one end, as that is where I stuck the rest of the garlic I had leftover last fall.  You can see it starting to come up.

These are really ready for transplanting - roots are coming out the ends.  I love using these peat pots - I just plant them pot and all, and the peat adds a little extra to the soil mix.

First pea box planted - peas, romaine, chard, and spinach, and fall garlic.  I watered lightly, sprinkled with sluggo, and also put copper tape around the edges.  I knew the adhesive wouldn't hold long in our damp weather, so tapped in some copper tacks every so often around the box.  Hopefully the sluggo will destroy any slugs in the raised bed, and copper tape will keep any more from getting in.  Will let you know how that goes. 

Then I covered up the bed using the existing tubing where it was set - I didn't worry too much about making the tubing higher, as it would take at least a week or two and some warmer weather before the peas were climbing up the netting and I needed to make adjustments.

And then before I could get the next pea box planted, winter returned with a vengance.

Torrential rain.  Numbing cold.  And wind.  One day we had 60 mile an hour winds.  I didn't worry about the row cover on my peas and seedlings, strawberries and garlic, because we have had wind that strong before and they were ok.  But last year I must have had more clips on, because when I came home from work, all the covers were blown off.  And it had been raining all day, and it was 39 degrees out.

I rushed out and covered everything up quickly.  And added extra clips.  Stupid me, I didn't think to check the seedling trays to see if there was too much water in them.  So the peat pots sat in about an inch and a half of water for several days before the weather cleared enough for me to get to them.  I think what saved the seedlings was the pellets I put in the soil mix to absorb excess water, and the heat cable.  I didn't know if they would be ok or not, but it was too cold and wet for me to do more.

Finally the second weekend of March, it cleared for a couple of hours and I was able to go out and plant the next box of peas.  That was when I discovered that the seedlings had been sitting in all that water.  It did affect a few of the seedlings - but not the peas or Broccoli Raab.  I ended up having about 6 hours between rain storms to get everything planted and row cover on, and to do a few other chores around the garden.

I planted the broccoil raab in front of the peas - and because they will get tall, I did the row cover a bit differently. That seemingly blank space in from of the spinach is where I planted radishes.  Just to see if I could this early.  This was the bed that the cucumbers were in last year, so the tubing to support the row cover goes up to the top of the 2 x 4 frame that supports the netting.  So I started the row cover at the back, and brought it down over the front, so it is a lot taller inside and allows me to let tall plants grow without having to adjust the row cover or tubing.  This was a great decision on my part - it is what saved me the next week from total disaster.

The back of the 2nd pea bed.  I will be redoing this a bit to allow me to uncover it during the day.  will explain in another posting in more detail.

1 comment:

  1. Goodness, you are jumping the gun a bit. =) Can't wait to see the lion/t-rex pics, though I know it will be bad. =/