January 11, 2009 – This will be my first entry, so I need to catch up on what I have been doing. I read John Jeavon's book book on high yield gardening, and plan to use his techniques. On August 30, 2008 I planted some jalapenos, some broccoli, some cilantro, basil, and oregano. All were in containers, but I transplanted the broccoli outside later on. The jalapenos lasted outside in a container until December, and one was on the verge of blooming. However, a hard freeze killed it, along with some basil I had transplanted. Cilantro and broccoli thrived through the cold, and here 4 months later the broccoli is about ready to harvest. The heads on it right now are about 2 inches in diameter; not sure how large they should be when I harvest. Had I planted it in more fertile soil, it would have probably been ready 2 months ago. I have some basil and oregano in containers, and they are doing OK in an East-facing window. The oregano is doing quite well and spreading, and I will transplant it outside when it warms up.
Today I planted 20 broccoli seeds and 20 snow (sugar) pea seeds in flats. I set the flats in a small plastic swimming pool, and put a small amount of water in the bottom to keep the soil moist. I go to Europe tomorrow, but when I return they should be ready to put outdoors. The Collin County Master Gardener site recommends February 10th for the peas (and for carrots and for lettuce) and February 10th for broccoli. Later on I will plant zucchini, crookneck squash, okra, tomatoes, and marigolds. These will need to go out in late March.
I fly to Europe tomorrow, but when I return in two weeks I will double-dig the bed. I removed turf from an area that is 5 feet wide and 25 feet long. I plan to have several 5x5 beds, with a 1 square foot stepping stone in between that I can stand on and work each bed. On the double-dig, I will spread an inch of mulch, remove a foot deep strip, put it in the wheel barrow, loosen down to 2 feet, and then transfer each 1 feet strip into the next trench over. Sounds complicated, but there are some YouTube videos showing how it is done. I dug a trench today just to see how much work it would be, and there are a lot of rocks in the soil. It was fairly easy to dig down to the 1 foot level, but beyond that there is a lot of sticky clay. This is also the rockiest soil I have ever seen; I keep running into white rocks the size of my head.