The past week was sunny and warm and allowed me to get the rest of the garden ready for planting. I spread compost and I turned over the rye grass. I didn’t transplant anything but I did direct seed a few things: carrots, beets, swiss chard, cilantro, lettuce, arugula, radishes, broccoli raab, dill, and a few sunflowers. Not much to show for that though. I also worked a lot in my flower gardens getting the weeds out, fighting the gout weed, mulching and doing some transplanting.
However, this is supposed to be a vegetable garden update. So here it goes. (Note you can click on any photo for a larger version).
Here’s the overview as of 5/14.
There are a few new structures in our garden. The first is the composter.
With the chicks and their bedding we realized that we will have a lot more material to be composted. For safety, their litter needs to be composted for a while before its spread on the garden. We don’t want any chicken diseases. So we asked on Free-cycle for pallets and last weekend my husband built a two bin composter. We decided that the pallets were hard to move back and forth in front as doors, so we got some new lumber this weekend Matt made two swinging doors. He also braced the top of the pallets with a notched 2×4 so that they stay square. We’re already putting it to good use.
The second new structure is our tomato frame. The tomatoes moved one row towards the back of the garden this year. We never took down the tomato frame last year so you could see it in all the previous overview photos. We need to improve on the strength of last year’s structure. We’d used heavy posts for the ends but used strapping for the center posts and cross pieces. At the peak, it was loaded with tomatoes and leaning, and the cross pieces almost pulled way from the posts. We had to prop it up with metal bars. Here it was last October, though the worse part was at the other end where the Amish Paste tomatoes were.
So this year we kept the end posts but got 2 more 4×4 posts and some new 2x4s for the cross pieces. The new 4 x4s are a bit taller than the other post, so I guess my Amish Paste tomatoes which like to grow and grow will go in the middle.
So with the new tomato frame in, I’m ready whenever I decide its warm enough for the rest of the tomatoes to go in. We don’t really seem to have a frost in the forecast and haven’t had one since April 30th, however common practice around here it to wait until Memorial Day. Rain’s in the forecast for the next two weeks so I’ll probably wait a bit longer.
Now on to what is growing in the garden. I was very thankful to see some potatoes sprouting today. I think I was too eager and planted them too early. I dug around to check on some earlier this week and the Adirondack Blue had begun to rot. Other varieties showed signs of sprouts, and the first ones up are the Irish Cobbler. I may re-plant the Adirondack Blue since they take up half a row.
In row 2, the cold frame is filled with lettuce. I took the plastic off the window I broke this winter and cleaned out the bolting mache. I’ll transplant chamomile and bread poppies in there when they get bigger.
The lettuce outside the frame is starting to size up.
Row 4 has the hoop frame, now open. There is a bolting kale and some good size lettuce. (No photo) This row will have melons, zucchini and wintersquash. I’m planning on putting the melons under the hoop frame for extra warmth so its remaining in place.
Row 5 is for peppers and tomatillos which are growing wonderfully under the lights. The peppers have been hardening off outside this past week but I’ll wait to plant them because of the cool rainy weather forecast. At the far left side of the row are my three artichokes.
Row 7 had rye grass planted the earliest in the fall. It was very well developed. I’ve noticed as I’ve turned over other beds that if any of the green blades are exposed, it continues to grow, rather than decomposing. With this row I had no hope of turning it all under. So after I turned it over to break up the roots, we covered it with newspaper and watered it. It will get planted with pumpkins and winter squash and I’ll just cut through the newspaper. Hopefully that will mean less rye grass and other weeds to pull out later.
The last section of the garden has the perennial fruits and vegetables. The raspberries are sprouting and spreading.
Rhubarb and sorrel are both sizing up. Strawberries have signs of buds.
And the first asparagus spears poked up this week. This is only the 2nd year in the ground for the crowns so we won’t harvest them. We’re glad to see they are bigger than last year.
And behind it all, the apple trees are about the bloom.
So this very long posts wraps up with one more view of the garden in the middle of May.
Cool weather crops are in, beds are prepared, and we’re just waiting on the weather to transplant out the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, pumpkins, tomatillos, that are under the grow lights inside!