Saturday, June 6, 2009

Time to Catch Up

I finally started my garden this week. On Monday it was very nice. Tuesday and Wednesday well into the 70's, but nights still cool. Yesterday and today it was 0 deg. C, (32 deg.F) when I got up. So we can plant anything under the ground. I started by planting some sticks. The picture above shows the sticks that mark off the planting areas and pathways. Maybe you can tell: (2 feet then 4 feet) repeat 11 times to the end of the row. (did you get the knitting pun?) Now I know where everything is going, and I can go plant just 1 row if that's all the time I have.These furrows are for potatoes. I've watered them 3 times, allowing the water to soak away each time. Since my garden is on a gentle slope, and the rows go downhill, I use a rain wand and chase the water spray uphill so it doesn't all pool at the lowest end. There are seed potatoes in these furrows -about 1 foot apart. Later I covered them with dry soil, and made little hills to keep the moisture in. Later on I will hill them big or cover them with straw. Haven't decided.
1. Fact: most annual (grow from seeds, not from roots or rhizomes) seeds need light to germinate. So if you disturb the soil as little as possible, you will expose as few seeds as possible.
2. Fact: pulled or cut weeds, if left lying on the ground have the ability either to re-root or to hurry up and go to seed.
3. Fact: weeds grow better where you walk, because the soil compaction of your footprints brings the seeds in contact with the moist soil.
So for us gardeners this translates into the following:
1. After planting, don't turn your soil over. Use a stirrup hoe type tool (picture on next post of my favorite garden tools). and drag it justs under the soil.
2. Collect the weeds and take them away. Do not put into compost pile (with exceptions to be discussed in next post). I feed mine to the sheep.
3. Always drag a rake in the pathways before you leave the garden.
Which crops absolutely can't stand weed competition?
All crops do better in a weed free garden. But onions (all summer long) , carrots and beets while the plants are small, peas and beans all summer long (because they mildew if crowded) should be totally clean. Also, if there are slugs in your neighborhood, they will hide in the weeds, but you'll hardly see them if the garden is clean.
Lemon Gem or Lulu Marigolds keep aphids away from dill.
Castor Beans keep gophers, moles and voles away.
What am I trying new this year: Edamame (soy beans). We love them, so I found a variety that needs a short growing season.
Today I hope to get planted everything under the ground, since the nights are still close to freezing. That is unusual even for us here in the Great White North.