The New Home Economics

Garden update

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On Saturday, I got much of my garden planted.  It doesn’t look like much right now:

wholegarden

It’s a little less than half-planted right now.  So far I’ve planted peas, brussels sprouts (which were seedlings that I started inside), lettuce, radishes, parsnips, and a few onions.  The brussels sprouts are sheltering under milk jug greenhouses for a few days until it warms up a bit.

I’m trying new ideas for mulch this year, because last year I went crazy trying to keep up with weeds.  So this year I am putting down newspaper, with various things piled on top to hold it down.  For my “aisles” — the spaces in between my double rows —  I already put down newspaper and piled on old leaves and straw on top, like this:

newspapermulch

As soon as my plants emerge and establish themselves (and the weather warms up a bit), I will put newspaper around the seedlings and cover that newspaper with compost.  And maybe some more leaves or something on top?  Haven’t totally decided yet.  But I have read that it’s a bad idea to mulch too early, so I hope I didn’t screw things up by mulching my aisles now.

I planted my parsnips and radishes together in one row this year, on the advice of several garden websites I’ve read.  (My love for parsnips equals that of this blogger’s.)  Parsnip seeds take forever to germinate, so by the time the plants are really starting to get established, the fast-growing radishes are long gone.  Two plants out of one row: excellent!  Here are the seeds, about to get planted (the parsnip seed is the light-colored one that looks a little like an oat):

parsnipradish1

After all the work on Saturday, we got rain (YAY!) all day Sunday, so I took the opportunity to start the rest of my seeds for my warm-season crops which will go into the ground sometime around May 15 (earliest).  I started cucumbers and a bunch of herbs, but I decided to try a couple different methods for what container to start them in:

seedstarting1

The little plastic pods that came with my Burpee Ultimate Seed Starting Kit proved to be less than ideal when it came time to extract my tender brussels sprouts and onions and plant them on Saturday.  I had to completely destroy the pods to get the seedlings out, and I still damaged a few seedlings in the process.  So I’m trying peat pots for my cukes (which apparently don’t take transplanting well), and we also threw a couple seeds into some egg carton halves, which Adam heard about from a co-worker.  We cut holes in the bottoms of the peat pots and egg cartons so they could suck up the water from the watering “mat” thing.

Here’s my experiment, complete and ready to go under the light:

seedstarting2

What a busy weekend.  Now all we can do is wait… some things should sprout by the end of this week because it is supposed to get dramatically warmer.

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