Sunday, February 8, 2009

First Bed is Planted

I am recovering from the flu, but decided to spend the day working on the garden. To start off, I planted rosemary in one of the beds in front of the house, two more Flame Seedless Grapes on the back fence, and put in one more Celeste Fig. I spread a little dog poop around each planting (except for the rosemary), because that keeps the dogs from digging them up. I then double-dug a 5x6 foot area in the garden, working in 1 cubic foot of composted manure and 2 cubic feet of compost.

I checked the 10-day forecast, and freezing weather is not predicted. So I decided to go ahead and put out some of my more cold-tolerant plants. The 20 sugar snap peas that I had planted in flats had only produced 3 nice looking plants, so I went ahead and transplanted them. Then, I directly planted in the ground around 70 more pea seeds - all 3 inches apart. I was nicking each one with a hacksaw blade, but about halfway through I stopped doing that as it was really slow. Besides, I will have some with nicks, and some without, so I can see if it really made a difference.

I was only planting the seeds about a half inch deep, but when I had planted about 50 seeds I looked at the directions and it said to plant 2 inches deep. Oops. The last 20 went in much deeper. I had been punching holes in the dirt with a really large nail. In hindsight, it would have been much easier to dig rows.

I also planted about 4 rows of carrots (but not over the spot where I worked in the manure). It is very difficult to control placement of carrot seeds, because they are so small. I was trying to plant a seed every 2-3 inches, but sometimes I ended up dumping 5 seeds in one spot. I was first dropping them by hand, but found it much easier to control by dropping them directly out of the packet. I did plant these in rows, at about half an inch deep.

I finished off by sprinkling about a quarter pound of general purpose fertilizer over the bed, and then watered it. I head back to Europe in 8 days, and I don't expect the peas to have come up by then. Hopefully the carrots will be sprouting so I can thin them out. I am in Europe for 3 weeks this next trip, and the carrots really need to be thinned out before then.

Next up will be the broccoli transplants. I have about 15 that will be ready to plant before I travel. The broccoli plants that I planted last August are really starting to produce; hopefully these transplants can get a crop in before it gets hot. But next year, I know I can plant broccoli at any time during the winter and have a crop coming in during the first couple of months of the year.

I also have lots of seedlings sprouting in flats. I have summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and jalapenos all coming up now. It is going to be a tough call whether to plant them outdoors before I head back to Europe. I probably won't risk it, but then they will be really crowding the containers by the time I get back.

One final note. I put in quite a bit of Giant Liriope in the front beds for landscaping. The rabbits love it, and have munched it down to the ground. I have sprayed them with various rabbit repellants to no avail. So today, I placed some dog poop under the mulch in front of each one. I am hoping this turns them off enough to leave the plants alone.

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