April Rains

Soaking rains have been almost a daily event for the last few weeks, and the garden has benefited immensely with nearly everything planted showing significant growth.

Peas growing- so far the Amish Snap are outdistancing the Green Arrow, but everything is growing well.

I started bean seeds directly in the ground under old plastic soda bottles. This is the first time I've tried this, but so far so good.

The melons and squashes that I started in milk jugs are all looking quite good. The only thing that has shown no signs of life thus far is the strawberries.

Trying something a little different with the tomatoes this year. Typically at this point I would transplant them into individual plastic cups and let them grow inside on the windowsill for a few weeks. This year I am instead going to transplant the seedling directly into milk jugs similar to the way I did the squash and melon seeds. If this technique works than it would be a lot less fussy as once I plant the stuff into jugs it usually remains pretty self-sufficient until its time to put it in the ground. If this works maybe next year I could try planting the tomato seeds directly into the jugs, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.

jugs galore.

I have gone a little crazy with the bamboo structures this year. I already have climbing space for peas, beans, melons and squash, and I still have to put in the giant tomato stakes. It's starting to look like a swiss family robinson garden.


Potato Day

April 7th was Potato Day for 2011. It's about 2 weeks later than last year, and even with the extra time I am nervous about cold weather doing some damage. The forecast looks quite good for the week ahead though, so maybe I am in the clear.

I got two potato varieties this year: Purple Viking (pictured above) which is a new type for me, and Yukon Gold which I tried and had great success with last year.

The Purple Vikings were quite large, and had to be cut in half to make appropriately sized seed potatoes. Both varieties were delivered in mesh bags which I hung in the basement for about 2 weeks to start sprouting.

I also allocated more space to potatoes this year as they did so well last season. I was surprised and pleased at how easy and prolific they were, and I am hoping for more of the same this time around.

Trenched about 5-6 inches down and ready to be covered with 2-3 inches of soil and a blanket of leaf mulch.

This is my secret potato weapon: coffee grounds. We've been saving our spent grounds from our french press for the last few months and after I planted and covered the potatotes with soil they got dressed with a light covering of the grounds. The grounds will slowly release nutrients into the soil that will help the spuds grow strong.

Using leftover bamboo stakes as plant markers this year. Also, trying to write the planting date on the marker this year for quick reference.