Monday, March 21, 2011

First Day of Spring Update

Yesterday was the first day of Spring, and the garden is already taking shape. It's entirely probable I am taking things way too fast this year. It's only the third week in March, and the generally accepted last frost around here is in mid May. However, I do have two garden beds covered with plastic hoop houses. I'm not sure how much extra time that will give me in the spring, so I'm starting enough stuff indoors that I can experiment.

So yesterday I got back in the garden to check things out. Here's what I saw:

Here's the garden - looks pretty bleak
The two hoop houses seem to have made it through the winter okay. They did take a little bit of maintenance through wind storms but they held up to the snow and ice pretty well. Not bad for some PVC electrical conduit, landscape fabric and plastic drop cloths. And best of all, there's stuff growing in them!

The first one has the Mache, endive, black seeded Simpson lettuce, some darker lettuce that I'm not sure of, and kale at the back. The other house has some Swiss chard that seems to have made it through the winter, or has regrown, and some lettuce seedlings that I transplanted from the other hoop house. I also threw down some basil and arugula seed in this one. Daytime temps are around 85 on sunny days and about 10 degrees over the air temp on cloudy days.

Since the weather was nice and I couldn't stand it anymore, I decided to do some actual garden work. To my amazement, despite the amount of snow we got over the winter, and the rain we got over the last few weeks, the soil was amazingly workable, even in the beds that aren't covered. In general the soil in the beds is fairly decent. I created those boxes last year, and put quite a bit of work into working in some organic material with the clay and silt that makes up the soil here. This year I'm adding even more. One thing we have a lot of here is LEAVES!

This is my leaf pile - it's about 10 feet by 10 feet, and in the fall it's piled up about 8 feet high with leaves. Now, at its highest point, it's about 5 feet high. There are about 3 years of leaves in here. Once you get down past last year's leaves, there's some fairly good looking composted leaves there. From what I hear, they don't have a lot of nutrients, but they add organic material to the soil, so I'll use it!

There's the good stuff!
I added a bunch of it to one of the garden beds and it looks great:

That bed is going to hold mostly Broccoli and Romanesco, and probably some peppers since it had beans and peas last year (should be high in Nitrogen).

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