Spring Sowing and Reaping
Soil amendments were added last fall. We turned a half a ton of steer manure into all the boxes of soil, added nitrogen and potassium so things were ready to be planted first thing this spring. The first weekend in April the soil temperature 50 degrees and weather forecast showed no sign of spring snow on extended forecast so I was ready to sow seeds directly in the ground. From my seed packets I planted peas, spinach, lettuce, beets, arugula as directed on packets.
I went to the local nursery to buy potato starters, which are whole potatoes that have multiple ‘eyes’ on each one. Each potato is then cut into 2 or 3 pieces that have at least 2 eyes (this is where their growth will start). I ordered the starter onions from an onion farm catalog last fall. They send them in the spring when the time is right to plant according to your planting zone (remember that?) I received a box of about 60 dormant ‘candy’ sweet onions in the mail earlier in the week. They are planted 4″ apart in rows about 12″ apart.
It is best to plant garlic in the fall; I planted mine last fall in October that I purchased from a catalog. There are many varieties of garlic i.e. elephant, stiff neck, red; but I like the regular, large bulbs. If I like the size of this year’s garlic cloves I will keep them to plant this fall instead of buying more. Several years I planted them in the spring and they never ‘bulbed’ – they looked like onions, had no flavor so I threw them all out. I received about 3 large garlic bulbs and separated each clove, placing one in a hole about 1” deep (I use the back of a ‘sharpie’ marker to make the hole) and about 4-6” apart. They started growing at the end of March and now look very happy, especially after fertilizing with ‘Miracle Gro’ all purpose plant food.
The asparagus are a perennial that we planted in 2013. They are expected to grow for about 15-20 years. As soon as the soil warmed, they started growing. They will grow through July and will then be left to go to ‘fern’ so the root crown can get nutrition from the fern growth for next years harvest. I cut them when they are about 6” high and put them in a glass of water in the refrigerator where they will stay crisp until we eat them. Some years I would get 5-6 stalks/day! It is incredible how fast they grow when it’s warm – I check their height in the morning and when I come back in the evening, they sometimes grow up to 5-6”!
Another perennial we started at the beginning are red raspberries. The plants produce new ‘canes’ every year that will have some fruit in September. These canes will then winter and produce new leaves and fruit in July. One year I had 4 cups of fruit/day – made great raspberry preserves! The canes are then cut down leaving room for the new ones from this year. They are very invasive, their roots spreading underground into my other boxes!