A NEW SEASON OF GROWING!
It’s the start of a new growing season and I am getting after it!! Bill and I decided it is not quite time to ‘redo’ the garden beds and enclosure this year. The beds and fencing wood are in okay shape for another year or two plus we will wait until the asparagus has run its course of 10+ years to redo that bed.
We had a window of nice weather a couple of weeks ago so it was time to inspect the garden and decide what I was going to do for amendments to the soil. No soil test this year; I usually do it every couple of years.
I decided to add 1 bag of steer manure compost + ½ bucket of my own compost. This was the first time I was able to use my own compost – it took 2 years (since I added the worms) for the worms to break it down enough to use it. I have been adding produce scraps, used coffee grounds/filters, eggshells and even shredded paper and paper towels. As you can see from the photo, we unroofed the compost bin and found a ton of dark, organic smelling compost on the bottom. I sifted through it and ended up with 3 – 5-gallon buckets full of compost! Great start to the season!
Working the compost into the beds is a ton of work since I cannot use a tiller to loosen the soil due to the height of the box edges. I start by digging a shovel depth of dirt and move it to the other side of the box, row by row until it has all been moved and turned with the amendments mixing in x 6 boxes over several days; it’s quite the workout! The really tedious part is removing all the roots that have accumulated from the prior year. Nitrogen granules were added and worked into the soil with a rake. The rain/snow dissolved the granules to filter down. No potassium or other amendments this year.
I started about 85 peppers early March with an emphasis on jalapeños, serranos, habaneros to make more hot sauce and ‘cowboy candy’. Other new peppers for this year are sriracha, Jimmy Nardello (from Bill’s mom) that are sweet elongated red peppers used to make paprika (I didn’t know paprika was made from sweet peppers!) and the Sugar Peach Peppers. Tomatoes were started early April and there will only be one box of 20 this year instead of 2 boxes for 40. There are many jars of salsa and sauce leftover from last year so there is no need to make more; there is only so much room in my pantry. This year’s tomatoes will be for fresh eating and giving away (I usually hoard them to make all my canning items!)
The soil temperature has been above 50 degrees so I plant some seeds 2 weeks ago: peas, lettuces, spinach, arugula, cilantro, beets and the wasabi radishes and potatoes which are all starting to come up. I also planted the candy onions like I did last year. The spinach and green onions I planted last fall fared well over the winter and their growth was reignited. Already made a spinach salad and the green onions can be picked any time! The asparagus unfortunately has only 2 spears coming up which is really unusual; by now I usually have 5-10 sprouting. Our spring has been unseasonably cool so hopefully it’s just temperature related. Started cucumbers, 1 zucchini, melons and some flowers in seed starter. Should be well along to be planted at the same time as peppers and tomatoes.
New seeds for this year: Wasabi Radishes, Rich Sweetness Melon and a new Isis Cherry tomato (thanks to our friend Glenn for sharing unique seeds from his Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds purchase!), our neighbor Jack who grows prize pumpkins gave me “giant” beefsteak seeds for whopping 3 pound fruit to try. I will also grow some unique daisy shaped gourds for fall decoration. I look forward to some new stuff!
My sad news is the pine tree sapling I gave as a host gift to one of our business dinners was doing great in the kitchen window but when we planted it outside the tips froze. We left for a couple days so we did not cover it while we were gone. We pulled it out and replanted it in a planter, brought it inside to see if we can save it; time will tell…