Category Archives: Developing & Planting

A range of anything from an idea, creating, developing, and changing, to planting

Happy 1st birthday CG!

Why is it that the best weather of a 3-day weekend arrives after 4:30 pm on the final day?  Nevertheless it was an excellent weekend to move ahead with garden tasks, dodging drizzles and rain.  Although we don’t have the exceptionally fine weather that blessed our initial project one year ago, we celebrated by seeding the first phase of summer veggies.  As various CG members filtered into town from their various journeys, different tasks were done, depending on who showed up and when.

With the air and soil temperatures being nearly equal at 70°F we seeded various squash, melon, and cucumber cultivars, corn, and basil.  (Check out our 2010 planting list here.) One minute it was threatening rain, the next a few light rays of sun peaking through the clouds to make one want to don shorts; but wait 5 minutes, and the sun is gone.  Do I need another shirt again? Yes.  Wait, now I’m too warm.  It came down to rolling up the jeans and a t-shirt.

Taking a stroll through the house yard to check on tomato seedlings keeping warm in their little greenhouse, my mouth dropped as I spied a group of deer pellets on some grass.  Never in my residency here has one come this far into the yard!  We decided to grab netting and place it over the cool weather crops immediately.  He hadn’t managed to sample anything yet.  (I think it’s the same young male who visited solo last year.)  While tying out cloth strips soaked in Irish Spring soap solution on various young fruit trees and roses, I did notice some rose tips “nipped in the bud”.

Here is an update to the final harvest tally of our 2009 plantings, contributed to by our overwintering kale and leeks, which were removed in May for more garden prep:

  • Kale: 10 (pounds)
  • Leeks: 3.25

Bringing our 2009 grand total to……592 pounds!

As we celebrate our first birthday we have a new 2010 tally, from harvesting the thinnings of early spring plantings during April and May:

  • Beet greens: 1.5 pounds
  • Kale: 2.5
  • Lettuce blends: 7.5
  • Spinach: 2

Total: 12.75 pounds            Off to a great start!

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Spring is sprung!

Some classic spring weather to start off our early spring planting.  It was exceptionally warm on the official first day of spring, followed by colder rain showers the next day, when we were scheduled to plant (of course).  But, it held off perfectly for us when it came to assembly time.  I dashed in and out between showers beforehand to survey and lay out some boundary lines for the planting.  Because I’m curious about soil temperature, of course, I measured it: 53°F, and the air temperature was about 54° when we planted.

A little soil prep before planting

It was wonderful to finally kick-off the garden season, and we were in high spirits.  A little weeding, some fertilizing, shoveling and raking it in, and then…..seed sowing!  To start off: a couple of rows of lettuce, a row each of Swiss chard, scallions, and beets, and a row split to spinach and kale.   The kale started growing so fast we were able to harvest 1 pound of it about the time we quit!  Just kidding.  The harvest was from some overwintering kale, that is starting to flower and needs to get used up.  Then there was a consensus to plant snap peas and some mesclun greens mix, which will be added during the coming week.

And now, for the patience part.

Two-thirds of the early spring planting crew...and Juniper nowhere to be seen.

Upgrade!

A wonderful upgrade to the community garden has been successfully implemented!  The bed now has sturdy edges and boundaries.  So nice to have a project completed in winter…

This gave us incentive to have an informal meeting to cruise through last year’s bounty results and give some rough “thumbs up/down” to various veggies.

There are more “fun” tasks ahead: hauling in more soil to bring the bed up to level; turn over leaf mulch; and start considering a new layout
before we get too involved with what we’ll plant.

A mystery pile under the tarp becomes......

Upgraded community garden bed

An upgraded community garden bed!

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

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?