I love dirt and I can't stay clean this time of year. There is just too much wonderful dirt to play in, whether it is filling up my little paper pots for seedlings or beginning to plant the garden. Even though I am behind my plan for the year, we still have a fair start on the planting. Our last average frost date is April 1st, so the only things I am planting now are able to withstand a few frosts.
The potatoes were in the ground by March 15th, and it was a race to get them in before an evening rain, but we made it.
The peas went in the same day, but the trellis wasn't put in place until a few days later. They have experienced a frost, but don't seem to be any worse for the wear. The wind has had a bigger impact on them than anything, well, almost anything. I think something like a rabbit is chewing on a few of them. We'll have to keep an eye out for critters.
Next came the beets. I thinned the extra plants from each pot before planting. They are more spindley this year than I remember last year's crop. I wonder if that has anything to do with the Maunder Minimum and a decrease in solar activity? We planted them deep enough to give the plants some support, so I hope they do well. Depending on how they manage the next few days, I may poke a few seeds in the ground as well.
We fed the beet and carrots thinnings to the baby chickens. At first they were afraid of them, but when we went back to check on them, the plants were all gone.
The tomatoes and peppers are up and look great. The seeds were very viable and I planted too many in each hole. This necessitated some thinning which I did with scissors instead of pulling up the extras. This prevents damage to the roots of the plants that are being kept. I will wait until about April 15th before I plant them out in the garden since they don't like cold weather.
I put the cabbage, broccoli, spinach and kale out on the west porch a while back to harden them off in preparation for planting. The problem with that is that one night they got more hardening than I planned on when the temperatures got down to around 20. They died, and I just got around to replanting them. These crops will be much later than I originally planned.
I still need to start my celery, celeriac and lettuce seedlings and plant more onions. The onions I started in the house, that were doing so well, were dug up by one of the cats when I put them out on the porch to harden them off. I was not happy with losing most of my crop. Luckily, Grace had given me her extras she wasn't going to use, so I still have some to plant.
So starts another season of growing some of our food. We are trying to simplify the number of things we are growing. Instead of doing as much experimenting with different crops as we have in the past few years, we
preserve as much of them as we can. I hope this year we will be able to put up enough of some vegetables to last at least two years. This will help give us a deeper cushion in case something happens that causes a crop failure one year, or if we were injured or unable to work the garden as much, or if we were having to spend more time on security concerns. You never know what may impact your ability to grow and preserve your food. Plan ahead for interruptions and interference in your food production goals. Put up as much as you can, while you can. It may be a choice blessing for you and yours, or for another family. You never know.
Until next time - Fern