Well here we are! I am so excited to be writing this post and to see who joins me in this process. Feel free to join / observe / comment / question anytime.
Here is what made it into the ground this weekend:
- Peas - Shelling and Snap
Nothing is ready to eat...but the following are sprouting from seed now!
- Peas...YES, the peas made it this year without any Towhee interference, courtesy of some serious netting. I found that if I left the netting a little long and placed long boards along the base, the little
thievesbirds couldn't get in there. Originally, I had put up the string trellises which was like a welcome sign to a bird buffet that protected them from larger predators. Safe AND a full bar. When I just stretched bird netting down to the soil, they found their way into the bed and cleared me out. This is my best lesson learned from last spring and summer.
- Carrots (from the fall)
I have placed my metal trellises over my wine barrels. Spinach, peas and radishes were planted there two weeks ago. Over the trellises, I have placed every bamboo stake in my possession in various positions. Someone told me that raccoons don't like getting tangled up, so I am hoping this is doing the job and it is keeping the birds away from the seeds. The sticks have been found spread here and there several times, so I am just hoping they are doing their job. Fingers crossed.
This weekend we were able to finally get in and really work the garden. The sun was shining, the air was cool against our cheeks and we had our favorite tools in hand. For me, that would be my trowel (which I bent...grrr) and for the Good Apple, it was his chain saw (he was doing some BIG work).
As I was digging my hands into the loose and loamy soil and as the GA was clearing space for more garden space, I found an unrelenting gnarl tightening in my gut about what to do about our deer and raccoon situation. We invest in our garden because it is important to us. Last year, we lost strawberries, raspberries, cherry tomatoes, squash flowers and peas to their bellies and it was heartbreaking to come out and see another stem topped off. We are trying these little smelly contraptions around our tulips since they already started eating those and they are just green shoots at this point. I placed chicken wire around one bed, where the garlic and onions live, to keep the raccoons out and we placed bird netting over the other where I had just planted seeds. I am pretty sure we are going to drape bird netting over all of our beds, I am just really worried that this will happen again despite our best intentions. I am open to any suggestions. We don't have the funds to fence the area and well, I just don't think I will be turning into a hunter anytime soon. Any other ideas?
I have to admit that it felt wonderful to push the straw aside and see rich, dark brown soil with earthworms wiggling their way through below. Onions were such a huge success for us last year, it just felt good to get them started again. I dug my parallel trenches: one deep for fertilizer and the other shallow for the onion bulbs. The bundle provides enough starts to create a single row in each of our larger beds when they are planted 4" apart. If you want to grow some for green onions, only 2" is needed. In that case, you harvest every other for green onions, which leaves 4" spacing for the onions that will be left behind to mature. When planting onions, you do not want to fertilize them directly, but by digging a parallel trench at about 4" deep. You want your fertilizer to have a middle number that is at least double the other two. For example, 10-20-10 would be adequate. This represents N-P-K or Nitrogen - Phosphorus - Potassium. Last year I added Fish Bone Meal (3-18-0) to the trench and had great success. This is also why I put up the chicken wire. You see, that fish bone meal smells pretty good to raccoons. We have learned that the same is true with Blood Meal.
That was this week in a nutshell. Did I mention that these came in a special package while I was planting the onions?
German Butterballs, French Fingerlings and Yukon Golds. The potato boxes were cleaned out and the potato bed is waiting. The box was moved to our pantry so the seed potatoes could grow some eyes. This concept freaked the Lil Man out, but I quickly explained. Phew! Disaster averted. (Had I thought about it for a moment, I would have delivered a more clever response that would have kept him out of the pantry.) We did well with potatoes last year as well and when it came time to unearth the little jewels, he thought it was better than hunting for Easter Eggs.
The sunshine has left and we are due for a week of rain. At least that means, I won't have to water this week! Highs will be in the low 50s and the predicted low for the week is 41 which will keep us out of the frost zone.
Now here is the part I have REALLY been waiting for...my fellow green thumbs, HOW DID YOUR GARDEN GROW this week?