Sunday, April 18, 2010

Average last frost day is finally past!

Lovely, lovely day. Lots and lots of gardening. I'd share but I completely dorked and didn't take a single picture. So wrong, I know! But it was warm (got up to 81*F/27*C today!) I put corn, beans, asparagus, collared greens, winter squash, annual flowers etc. in the garden. It's still too cold at night for tomatoes, summer squash, melons, peppers, etc to go in the ground so those will have to wait. (Needs to be 45*F/7*C at night consistently to put them out with a cloche or 55*F/13*C without protection. I saw that we're dipping into the mid 30's (1.5*C) this coming week so I thought I'd wait another week or so for the night time temps to warm up a bit).

Did a bit of visiting with the neighbor which was nice as we always seem to chat about gardening, crochet or sewing of some kind or another.

I also got out my very pointy yet super cool Grandpa Jack pitch fork and turned the compost in search of my compost thermometer that I accidentally buried last year. I found it after pissing off the ant colony that'd moved in and a lot of red wigglers. Hope I didn't empale too many of them! (It's a myth, they don't grow back if you cut them in half) But the compost looks good, nice and damp, not too wet and very earthy smelling which is a relief as I was thinking I needed more browns for sure. I still might add some as I've been chucking in loads of kitchen scraps lately and not much else. It's running warm but not hot. I'm sure that's because I haven't turned it at all since I started the thing last fall.

Also considering how poorly both my spinach and beets did last year, I'm quite thrilled that they're doing most excellent this year and I think I figured out what I was doing wrong that they didn't come up last year. So yay! I wasn't feeding my spinach enough, easily remedied this year. The beets? I wasn't beating them up enough! Turns out they have very hard little seed shells (can't think of the technical term just at the moment and am feeling too lazy to look it up) BUT I soaked them for a few hours and then planted them. They also need FIRM contact with the soil so I tamped them down but good after planting. Nearly all of them sprouted this year. (I think three of them came up last year then didn't do much more but keel over and die.) I also saw a neat trick that someone used where they lined the inside of a jar with fine grade sandpaper and gave their seeds a swirl to knick the coat to allow moisture into the inner part of the seed so it'd germinate. Anyway I'm very happy I'm going to get to eat spinach and beets from the garden this year!

I also figured out what I was doing that was stunting my poor peppers last year. (Too cold and too much water) This year they look really green and healthy and happy - more woo! Now if I could just nail the basil and get the tomatoes a little bigger I'd be golden. I think it's just too cold in the basement for them. I've really got to rig the shelf to be a little warmer... must do that soon!


Randy Emmitt said...

Your garden sounds like it is well under way! Nice that the beets and all are doing better than last year. No beets here this year. The sugar snap peas are doing very well nearly 18 inches tall, other gardens visited the peas looked pitiful next to ours. Meg plants a LOT of peas in each row, most only plant a few.

Engineeredgarden said...

Good for you, Jenn. Things are certainly in full swing now...

Joanne said...

Its all a learning process, isn't it. I've had one good crop of spinach and the next was a disaster. Haven't done the research on what went wrong.