Frost 3 nights ago. 80 today. Yikes. Connecticut weather is nuts. Never thought I would see a last frost date this far into May.
So there is a good reason I have held off on tomato planting. I am only doing a few Roma plants this year anyway, but there is no benefit to planting tomatoes (or peppers) too early.
This weekend will be the right time. I will also getting corn planted and all the pepper transplants in. For now, lots of greens, beans coming up, peas climbing, romaine ready, carrots sprouting.
And one child hoeing!
Peas are among my favorite things to grow. They go in early, they have gorgeous flowers, they are delicious.
And they feed the soil! Peas and beans are nitrogen fixers and will pump your soil full of great stuff that your other plants need.
The thing is, it actually takes friendly rhizobium bacteria to make it happen. Pull some happy pea plants up and you’ll see white nodules on the roots. That’s the magic!
Hitting your peas with some inoculant will help them get a good start. The inoculant is safe bacteria tuned to your peas. Beans too.
When I am getting ready to plant my peas, I create a little inoculant slurry. It’s easy. Buy some pea inoculant, put some in a bowl, add your peas and some water. Let it soak in the thickish slurry. Done.
In some cold seasons, like this one in Connecticut, I will soak in the slurry and then lay the peas on a damp towel to sprout them before planting.
Here’s a shot of the peas in the slurry.
The weather is all goofy. Winter doesn’t want to leave, but my gardening calendar says it’s time to put peas in. And putting peas in is my favorite thing about the garden. It’s exciting! It’s the real start of gardening season and fills the lull until mid April when other stuff goes in.
But it’s still very cold here in Connecticut. We had a big snow storm a week or so ago that left us with well over a foot of new snow and it hasn’t all gone yet.
Snow on the garden on St. Patrick’s Day.
I’m going to hold off for a week or so and see what the weather does before I go putting my peas in.
In general, I follow this excel sheet for planning when I put stuff in. I’ve posted it before, but go ahead and download it from my google docs if you want. It’s crude, but you can change the frost date.
My family and I spent a couple of weeks at a house on a nearby lake. Felt hundreds of miles away, but I was near enough to harvest and tend the garden.
At this time of year, and after years of trying to figure this out, it is time to try and move out the old to make room for the new.
A couple of weeks ago marked the garlic harvest. I pulled them out and planted some carrots. I am hoping to get them pulled by the end of October to get more garlic going.
To me, bald spots in the garden are a good thing. I have beans (the end of them) growing like crazy, tomatoes toppling themselves, potatoes flopping, cukes sprawling and peppers lurching. Finding an empty spot (some bush beans pulled, broccoli done, some greens gone) means putting in some beets, radishes, new beans, carrots, and malabar spinach.
The beauty of the garden is that there is always some spot filled with potential.
Things are growing. I’ve finished the first two plantings of lettuce and will probably only make it through one last bit of baby lettuces before the heat makes everything sucky.
Really looking forward to the garlic harvest in a couple of weeks! Beans are coming in, peppers… we’ll have cherry tomatoes in a week or so. Corn.
Here’s where we’ve come in just over a month. And in just 5 years.
The garden from above on May 13, 2012
Garden from above 6 25 2012
Just for giggles! Here it is back on 4-21-2008
And here from 2007!
I am not a handy man. I can not fix things or make things. I do not understand cars. Or electrical things. Or tools. Or wood. I lack the vision to see how things should be structured to work or look good.
My neat little garden beds? Simple as can be, right? Well I had help. That’s right. I needed help to figure out how to make big rectangles.
So when I’m telling you that you can make a potato bed with big ol’ removeable slats for potato growing/harvesting, you need to dig on my simpleton bona fides.
Okay here it is.
- Build a big rectangle using 2 x 10 wood plank thingies. Mine is 12 feet long by 2 feet wide.
- Put some soil in that thing.
- Plant your taters.
- Now, take some railing spindles and drive a few on the inside of the bed up against each side. Drive a few more on the outside. These will be where you slide down additional wood planks to make the bed higher as the potatoes grow.
- Hill up your potatoes as normal. When they are big enough (in my picture they are too big… what can I tell you… I waited too long. It will still work.) drop in another 2 x 10 on all four sides. You just doubled the height of your bed.
- Hill up more soil.
- You’re done. Or you can keep on building higher. Whatever floats your boat.
- When it’s harvest time, you can either pull the big slat away or just dig down.
That’s it! So easy an unhandy man can do it.
Gorgeous weather here in Connecticut and I was able to get every bed planted. Tomatoes are in. Peppers are in. And I built a little cucumber bed and trellis and got some picklers in.
Things are growing, but a bit slowly. Oddly I’m having some trouble getting spinach going. I’m guessing that there’s something a tad off in my new soil. I haven’t tested it, but it’s all new soil and compost and most of it is not of my own creation. We’ll see.
Here’s what we’re looking like.