Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Prepping and planting

Yesterday and today were both beautiful, warm, cloudless days. In anticipation of the coming snow (supposed to be here tomorrow afternoon), I spent a few hours in the garden re-designing my drip system. For the past two years, I've been unhappy with the drip system. We use a true drip system, not micro-spray sprinklers, but I think the micro-sprays would be much easier. My sprinkler guy, though, says that micro-sprays waste water and are easily damaged by our mid-summer hail because they stick up so high above the ground and they're so skinny and fragile. So, I added several more driplines to my garden this week in hopes of covering all of the dry ground. If I knew how to do it, I probably would have installed micro-sprays; they just seem so much easier. There would be fewer lines to pull up every year when I dig in more compost, and I think they'd help seed germination, too. Once the veggies get started, the old drip system seemed to work fine. The problem was in keeping the top layer of soil moist in order to germinate the seeds. Hopefully the added drip lines will take care of that problem. After adding the new lines, I tested the system today and it seemed to do a good job. That's when I got to planting.

Yes, we're expecting snow tomorrow but, never the less, I planted quite a few seeds today. We now have green onions, salad greens, spinach, red onions, and snap peas in the ground. Brynn actually planted her own snap peas, carrots, and snow peas about a month ago, and a few of them actually germinated this week. She didn't seem very excited about the little green leaves popping above the ground -- I thought she'd be thrilled, but when I pointed them out, she just looked at them and then walked away. Distracted, I think.

I've also got some seeds started in the basement. Last year I started all of my indoor seeds in February but the basement was too cold and there wasn't enough light, so nothing got as big as I would have liked. This year I started them much later but I'm using seed propagation mats to keep them warm. It's supposed to double or triple the growth rate. I've also got some growth lights that I bought to install above the seedlings, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Hopefully this weekend. Better late than never, I suppose. In the basement we've got five varieties of tomatoes, two varieties of bell peppers, asparagus, basil, and our cole crops: broccoli, bok choy, and brussel sprouts. I still haven't figured out where I'm going to put our asparagus patch. It takes three years of growth before you can harvest any spears, so I need to put it somewhere out of the way, but away from the deer, too. Not easy to find a site like that in our yard.

I started more tomatoes and peppers than I'll need. I'm hoping they'll grow fast enough to be given away as teacher gifts at the end of the year.

Now, in case you're not bored enough by all of my talking, here are some labeled photos so you can see where everything will be planted. I'm counting on harvesting the cole crops early enough in the season to plant some mid-late summer crops in their place. If that doesn't work, I'll plant more cole crops for fall harvest.

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