Monthly Archives: May 2009

Planting day……finally

Two days ago I set an oscillating sprinkler on for 2 sets of 1-hour duration, separated by 1-hour breaks, to dampen down the upper 4 to 5 inches of soil.  We’ve had a stretch of unusually warm weather during the week; moisture setting in nicely after the second day of soaking.

I spent most of today in the new garden spot, beginning at 8:00 a.m., contemplating and editing my layout while soaking the soil for another couple of hours.  The Ferti-loam mix is wonderful; not a weed has shown up yet.  With our spell of hot weather, the raised soil bed is wonderfully warm, perfect for planting corn and other warmth-lovers.  Lettuce won’t be done until later summer.

Participating neighbors dropped by to help spread organic fertilizer on the beds and rake it in.  Soaker hoses appeared, and I started configuring the hose systems, not that they’d be used right away.

Planting proceeded quickly after 5:00 pm., when westerly breezes arose; stores ran low on various plants, so not everything planned was planted.  More bell peppers and tomatoes are still needed.

The morning after.....planting that is.  Where's Juniper?

The morning after.....planting that is. Where's Juniper?

The overall planting includes:
5 tomato plant varieties
6 yellow bell pepper plants
3 summer squash (seeded): patty-pan (or scallop), round zucchini, yellow straight-neck
3 winter squash (seeded): delicata, spaghetti, buttercup
3 cucumber plants: lemon, sweet-slice long, bush crop
2 Japanese purple eggplants
1 chives plant
1 parsley (seeded)
16 ft. of green bush beans (seed)
8 ft. of rainbow Swiss chard (seed)
8 ft. scallions (bunching onions) (seed)
4 rows (@ 6 ft.) white corn (seed) to yield 24 plants total
6 kale plants
8 sunflowers (seeded among the squash plants)
6 vine-type nasturtiums to climb bamboo teepee (seed)
15 bush nasturtiums to stabilize and color the front edge of the bed (seed)
8 basil (seeded)
3 lavender plants (move in fall)

Amendments and supplies:
5@4-lb.boxes of E.B. Stone Organics All Purpose Plant Food (5-5-5); raked into top 3 inches of soil; furrowed under corn rows.
Tomato cages
250 ft. of soaker hoses
150 ft. of solid hose (3@50 ft) to connect soakers to house faucets
Brass or plastic multi-channel hose-connectors
Many large cardboard boxes to cover the entire 600 sq. ft. of lawn

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Meeting time: who wants what?

A brief meeting of the participants to see who wants I to plant what, or buy what.  We’re down to 5 participants total, with a consensus to share and work the entire garden among us, rather than have individual plots.  I’m designated to plan the general layout.  Planting day is to be Memorial Day, May 25th, 5 pm.  For now, no “cool-weather” crops such as lettuce, cilantro, or cole crops (e.g., spinach, broccoli).  These will be planted in late summer, in areas where scallions and beans are harvested, and when the sun is lower on the horizon.  Also, no perennials to be planted this year, because I have plans to refine the borders of the beds in late fall (build structural support).

Watch for supplies and plants posted in the next blog, as well as here.

As the Lawn goes, so goes the Grass…

Planting day (May 9) was a wonderfully warm, sunny day with a slight breeze.  Fifteen cu. yds. of a “Ferti-loam” mix (composted manure with some sandy loam soil) were delivered.  Two hours earlier one neighbor helped me lay down some flatted cardboard across the entire lawn.  No herbicide necessary here, and no sod-removal, or rototilling.   My theme: buy enough planting soil so you can plant directly into it; the cardboard will break down as it gets wet or weathers.  The delivery truck was able to dump the soil in 2 adjacent piles, directly on top of the cardboard, saving a lot of wheelbarrow runs.  Only 1 other volunteer was available to help spread the soil that day, but the two of us had 75% of it moved around and spread in 3 hours!  I chose this day for delivery because I wanted a 2-week lead on planting day, sometime on Memorial Weekend.

Covering lawn with a layer of flattened cardboard boxes

Covering lawn with a layer of flattened cardboard boxes

15 cu. yds. of soil to spread

Mmmm...new soil just delivered and ready to be spread; all 15 yds of it!

Only 3 hours later and we've got most of it spread.

Only 3 hours later we've got more than half of the soil moved & spread.

Today has been slightly cooler, and being Sunday, most everyone else has other projects and events to attend to.  Being that I am always eager to see the process done, I attacked the last of the soil heap and got everything relatively level, aiming for an average depth of 9-inches (deeper where the lawn slopes), bound to compact down some.  Now where’s the rain when you need it to help settle the soil?