Thursday, March 4, 2010

Early Spring

I think this time of year is what the garden books and seed packets call early spring. I might be a couple weeks too early, but I think there is finally starting to be a few new things to do. I spent all last summer working on a barren yard that looked really boring, and now I am excited to watch the garden fill out, and show me space where I can plant some more plants.

It's been a balmy winter hovering around 50degrees through most of January and February, where now in March, we have had a couple highs close to 60. Though today we have sat around 45 degrees all day long, so I know I can't be too aggressive.

February Activity:
I planted onion seeds in a pot around mid-Feb (the 13th or so). That is probably a little late, but I dunno - better than not planting them at all I say. There are a few of those overwintering onions still left in the ground, so that is pretty cool. On around 2/23, I planted a couple spinach seeds in pots, and a couple lettuce seeds in pots. All my seeds are up and growing.

Also, over the course of 3 or 4 weeks, I dug out a plot in the front yard - about 8 feet by 24 feet. I did this between my two dwarf apples that I planted 2 years back. I simply tilled under a patch of dandilions on the parking strip (which in oulying Seattle are all sans sidewalks), and just kept breaking up the big chunks of weed sod with a mattock (by hand - which was young mans work, but I did it anyways). I then went the extra mile and turned the compost pile which was full of sod from the excavation project last year and now almost completely decomposed and fortified with a fall and winters worth of veggie scraps from the kitchen and spread 4-5 wheelbarrow loads over the plot. I'll get up photos when I can.

Here is the garden plan I've made for the year:

March Activity
I'll plant my peas this month, and start a bunch of the summer crops (peppers and eggplant, I'll wait till April 1 for my tomatos).

I purchased a 50 ft semi-hard 0.5inch plastic hose - the kind used for landscape sprikler systems, and plan on using it to build a tunnel cloche frame - with a nylon fabric over them. I'll cut little trenches out of small scraps of the hose to create clips to secure the fabric. Its all a theory at this point, at garden stores there is a surprising lack of cloching equipment.

I've also laid out black plastic over all the unplanted garden area (which is nearly everything at this point) to heat up the ground. I'll remove it piecemeal as the garden goes in.

Other Planning

I plan on doing a garden succession this year - I've never done this before. I think the garlic comes out in late June, the lettuce should be getting regularly harvested and re-planted, the peas will come out in July. So in those spots in the garden, I want to be filling in any of the following, and am not precisely sure where, but here are the latest planting dates for these crops as I understand them for the Seattle area:

  • Broccoli - June 25
  • Chard - July 15
  • Carrots - July 15
  • Spinach - August 5
  • Lettuce - August 10 (I can probably get away with a little bit later)
  • Onions - August 15
  • And of course Garlic which can go in mid October

I've started thinking about flowers too, but these are sort of on the back burner - I have my hands full. I put a bag of cold wet seed starting mix and some echinacea seeds in the fridge, and those will get planted in pots in early April. Other seeds will probably just get direct seeded towards may, or else in pots in April. I am taking the flower garden much less seriously, but hopefully it will turn out nice.

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