Monday, 30 May 2011
Yeah, Yeah, I'm Still in the Garden
The pace of the gardening continues, although we are about to have to take a couple of days off as my father, his partner and my aunt are coming to visit this week. Time to clean the house instead!
This bed has been seen before, full of lettuces. There are a few remaining that will be pulled and eaten in the next week or two, but most of them are gone and chiles (peppers) and eggplants have been planted in their place.
All the spinach has been cut in the bed behind them. By the end of next week this should be planted with melons.
Beans are starting to come up. You can see a huge difference in the different varieties, and how quickly they germinate.
This strange looking bed is an experiment in potato growing. We laid down newspapers on the grass and filled it with compost.
Mr. Ferdzy dumps in the 12th and final wheelbarrow full of compost. The 4 foot by 16 foot bed took a bit more than a cubic metre of compost for the first layer - that's a lot of dirt and we will need a lot more. We've planted long-season potatoes in it, and as they come up we will cover them with more soil and add more boards to the side to support it. The idea is, we hope, to triple our potato crop.
The boards we are using are rough spruce (?) otherwise known as construction strapping. It's the cheapest wood we could find. The potatoes we have planted are Russet Burbank (a personal favourite) and German Butterball, which we have not grown before. They were chosen because they have a long growing season, which is another way of saying they are indeterminate plants - they will keep producing potatoes as long as they can. Short season potatoes are determinate. That is, they will produce a set amount of tubers then declare themselves done. They are not suitable for this kind of growing as no amount of hilling up will encourage them to produce more.
The other thing our reading tells us is that once shoots appear above the soil, you have 3 days to cover them with more if you wish to change the stems to roots, that is, more potatoes. Otherwise it will be too late and they will stay stems even if you bury them. We have decided that we will check the potatoes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and cover or partly cover stems with dirt. Our goal: a two to three foot deep bed loaded with potatoes! Will it work? Stay tuned!
We planted tomatoes last week when the weather forcast showed no nights below 10°C. The weather forcast was wrong. We immediately had 2 nights at 6°C and as we are in the bottom of a valley we know their forcasts can be for higher temperatures than we actually get. Up went the hoop-house covers for a couple of nights. Tomatoes appear to be doing very well. Those hoop-houses are so handy.
These feeble looking little sprouts are sweet-potatoes. They are small but actually quite healthy and doing well. Looking forward to them taking off as the weather warms up.
And we finally tackled one of our two horribly overgrown beds. Here is the before picture - Mr. Ferdzy is just starting to string a line around it to redefine the edges.
While he did that, I pulled out all the remaining leeks in the bed. Man, we got some really gorgeous leeks. Leek and potato soup coming up!
Once all the weeds were pulled we dug a trench around the outside and put in plastic edging. We don't want it to get back into that weedy state again!
And finally, there it is - dug over, weeded, edged and planted with five kinds of bush beans. Now we just have to do the same with the ex onion bed. Planting is winding down. There's the melons and corn to plant, and then the last big task is to dig three beds in the wetter part of the garden. It's been too wet to do it! But that will allow us to put in our pumpkins and squash, celery and leeks.
We've been getting a surprising amount of rain this year. We've had to do some watering but not too much yet. We planned to put in the "wet" beds to deal with our semi-perpetual drought, and so of course we aren't actually having it at the moment. So it goes. Anyway, more work to do...