Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring Planting

Well, spring continues it's warm and welcome march. We've had a windy and stormy one so far. Thankfully the hardneck garlic that is a foot tall can handle the abuse. The onions are hanging in there, as are the cabbages and lettuces. Peas are up, and would be doing better if we could get some rain. There's lots of rain forecasted for this weekend, so hopefully they'll take advantage of that.
I've been planting seeds, as often as I can. Most of the beans are in, my usual mix of Empress and Purple Podded bush beans. I also have a lot of Runner beans planted, in an effort to tempt pollinators into my garden, and shade some weeds out of a trouble spot.
Potatoes are in the ground and hopefully going to sprout soon. (If I didn't kill them by putting them in too early.)
I have parsnips, beets, bok choi, radishes and swiss chard planted as well.
The tomatoes and peppers are still happy in the greenhouse. They won't go out for another couple of weeks.
I don't do all my planting at once. I never have the time for it. So, I'll plant one or two things a day, and somehow it all still gets done. I make sure I'm working in order of cold tolerance, so I spend the blustery early days planting peas, and then when things warm up I choose according to season length. (Things that need every last day of our short season get priority over those that only need half the season.) Sometimes I'm better at this than others, but that's my general plan every year.

Jess mentioned in a previous post how much she enjoyed my winter storage experiment, and how nice it will be to see it from the beginning. There is a lot of truth to that statement. Winter storage planning does start now with these small seeds. Really, it started last fall. I planted my hardneck garlics last October, and that's what I'll eat this winter. I do keep my storage numbers in mind when I'm planning the year's garden. I know, for example, that I want at least 50 garlic heads to get me through the year. I can't physically grow that many, but I easily have the room for 2 rows of 15, which gives me 3/5ths of my yearly garlic needs, from my front lawn. Leaving only 20 that I'll need to buy from a local farmer. Knowing that number makes it easy for me to buy all at once, when the price is right, instead of 1 or 2 at a time every week. To continue the example, I know that I have some jars of tomatoes left, but no jars of green beans. So, this spring I'm devoting more space to green beans and a little less to tomato vines. I always end up buying a bunch of tomatoes anyway to do things like sauce and maybe this way I won't have to buy any green beans. (And maybe my potatoes are dead and I can plant tomatoes in that spot! hahaha) Parsnips handled winter so well that of course I have another row of those planted in the garden. Beets though I'm pretty sure I won't store, I just want some for variety, so those are in a container, where I'll (hopefully) remember to harvest them nice and small and tasty.

You can certainly get by with just throwing seeds in the ground, and if you're just starting your garden adventure, there's no better place to start. But, if you want the most bang for your buck, and return on your time, put some thought into how you want to use the veggies, when, and in what amounts. :-)

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