Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sunny Seedy Saturday

Today was beautiful! In the 50's and sunny. I was able to get outside and plant peas. It was such a nice change from last year when I was planting them in the cold, cold rain. I also got my broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower transplants in the dirt as well. Radishes and spinach were direct sewn too. Oh and a few potatoes that were pre-sprouted. My favorite way to plant them? Bulb transplanter. It makes the perfect sized hole to chuck a tater in. I'm still chitting* the three other types (French Fingerling, Yukon Gold and Red Pontiac) - hope they'll be ready by St. Patty's Day since I'm a romantic gardener like that. ;^)

Planting Taters
*How to "green" potatoes (aka chitting): Cut potatoes so they have at least two "eyes" on each chunk. Put in a dark warm place. Damp is okay. Do not let them shrivel as it weakens the seed piece. They should sprout short stubby greens that won't break off easily. Once they do you can plant them in the garden no deeper then 2"-4". If you have trouble with scab you can coat them with a light dusting of sulfer powder first to help ward it off. This can also reduce the threat of infection by bacteria and fungus as well.

I really hope the spinach does better this time around too. I couldn't get it to come up fer nothin' last year. I wonder if it's a pH issue? Maybe if it doesn't come up I'll try planting it earlier next year. It should germinate anywhere from 25° to 75° so I'm not sure what it's problem is. ::shakes fist at spinach:: Grow you!


I also dorked pretty hard last year and accidentally buried my compost thermometer in the compost pile. I thought I'd poke the pile today with a pitch fork and turn it over to see if I could find it. I had no luck in turning it (too wet and nowhere to toss it except on itself) but what I did discover is that it is FULL of worms. Woo! (Though by the time I grabbed the camera most of them had slithered away - still, there were loads.)
Red Wigglers

It was also full of grubs. I'm not sure what they are though. Anyone have any ideas? Friend or foe?

And finally, some of the asparagus is getting bigger. I'd love to have just enough even for one meal at Easter.
March Asparagus
I'm a little worried because I didn't cover the bed with anything over the winter. (No hay, straw or cold frame). We get cold and maybe even a little bit of snow but last winter we had record breaking cold. Of the 20 asparagus plants we have, so far only seven have come back. I bought five more crowns (variety Mary Washington) in the hopes that if the Jersey Knight don't all come back up at least I'll be able to replace them. I heeled them in some compost this afternoon while we play wait and see with the plants in the garden. I'll definitely be getting ahold of some protective bedding next winter for the perennial bed. I lost both the artichoke plants in that bed too so I'll need to be a little more vigilant next fall when I'm doing my clean up.


Engineeredgarden said...

Jenn - that unidentified grub looking thingy is the larvae of the black soldier fly. It's not a bad thing to have in your compost. Your pile looks completely soaked, just like my barrel composter about 3 years ago. I finally ended up adding the stuff to my big compost bins when they were constructed.

Just Jenn said...

Ah thanks.
Yeah, my four year old decided playing with the hose today would be fun. I was in the house getting seeds and came out to find her "helping". She totally soaked the compost. It should recover okay though. It's covered and we're up for three or four days of sunshine and warm-ish temps. I'll just have to make an effort to turn it.

Annie's Granny said...

Doesn't it feel good to finally be gardening "for real"? I think those black soldier flies are from getting meat or grease in your compost. I had them once, and they were really ugly...mine were dead and black, and there was a big mass of them. YUK!

Stefaneener said...

EG, that was what I was just about to say! They're supposed to be great compost helpers, Granny. Apparently if you have enough you can hear them chewing. Eeeeew.
Good luck with the spinach. And nice asparagus. Some is better than none. And good luck with the thermometer.

Ribbit said...

The grub looks similar to the ones I found. I'll try to get out there this morning to find some more.

Di said...

Hi Jenn, yesterday was a beautiful day and should be today and Monday in the valley. Looks like more seed planting opportunity! Good looking raised beds by the way. ;)

Clong said...

Yep, that's a black soldier fly. I love them dearly. I did a post on my blog about them last summer when I had A TON of them in my worm bin. They're great! They eat compost about as fast a red wigglers. I've heard of people in australia adding them to their compost as you would worms. Rightly so, my worm bin was never so productive as when it had those suckers in there. They eat maggots so you shouldn't have any fruit flies or the like. And they don't like to be indoors, so you won't have them swarming your house or anything, also they don't bite. Always a plus. What's not to love? I'll tell you, they're a little creepy looking.