Saturday, April 9, 2011

Garden Update - April 9, 2011

With temperatures finally warming up, I took the plastic off the hoop houses a few days ago and let them get some air. I imagine the little plants in there are breathing the fresh air the same as I am when I get out of the house! Here is a little mini-update of how things are looking today.

Hoop House #1 has lettuce transplanted from the sea of overwintered lettuce in Hoop House #2. I want to see if it will grow into large bunches. Since I transplanted a couple weeks ago, the sun has been dim and the temperature cold. It has grown some, but I'm hoping to see it really take off over the next few days.

I have some weeding to do in there too while the ground is nice and moist. I also threw down some arugula and basil seed. The arugula is coming up nicely. I look forward to including it in spring salads. It's one of my favorite flavors. Here's how it's looking:

Hoop House #2 was the winter experiment. I put in a few Kale seed in October (just checked my notes from last year to be sure), and threw down a bunch of old lettuce seed packets I had in the freezer from 2008. Later I added some corn salad seed to try. Through the winter the Kale did great the the little lettuce seedlings would grow a little and die back a little with the fluctuations in sunlight and temperature. I have to say that I'm pretty happy with the success of it - especially the kale. The lettuce is nice - I did have a fresh salad this week - but this year I might build a cold frame closer to the house that I can get the greens more readily from. 

Look at all that lettuce! I can eat fresh salad on that every day until the ones I transplanted get big! The corn salad is there too, but honestly I'm not a big fan of the flavor, so I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it. I vowed to not throw away any food from the garden this year. Maybe I'll see if the kids like it.

Raised beds #2 and #4 didn't have tents over them for the winter, but they were the first to get spring attention. The radishes I planted in #4 have popped up, and some peas were added this week but haven't emerged yet.

The fence on there is to protect the radishes from whatever dug them up or chewed them off last year when they were this size. We have a lot of squirrels in the yard. I wonder if they like radish greens. I've never seen a rabbit in the garden since I put up the fence, and there's one living elsewhere in the yard, so I don't think it's him. Either way, a piece of fence covered with row cover fabric keeps whatever bird or critter out of it. 

In the Northwest corner of the garden is a large raised bed that has some asparagus in the back against the shed (not emerged yet). Last year I had peppers and a potato tower in here (failed experiment). It's the only part of the garden that is shady, since there's a big oak tree limb that hangs over it. The peppers didn't do well there, so this year I'm doing peppers in Raised Bed #2 and putting Romanesco, Broccoli, Chard, Garlic and probably some cucumbers in this big bed. The Romanesco has been growing in the house for some time now, so I transplanted it outside. I'm planning on covering it up with straw or a couple layers of row cover on frosty nights.

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