Saturday, March 11, 2017

Farm Diary: Spring Update

So while I'm talking farming, I'll add some factlets.

  • Two out of three garlic beds are doing well. The third one was semi-flooded in the rains of several weeks ago, and it appears that part of the garlic isn't coming back. By the way, I say "garlic beds", but I really mean all of the bulbous alliums that I planted in the fall--garlic, shallots, French shallots, and potato onions.
  • I planted pod peas, as discussed in the last post.
  • Today I bought bare root raspberries--three Heritage, three Amity, one Fall Gold, of something else. (I left the tags on, so I'll know when I go back out there. A spring-bearing variety.) I got them all in the ground, at about two feet between plants, and effectively six feet between "rows"--that is, there was just one "row" and it was six feet wide. I hope they take. At that spacing, there's room for two more; I may or may not grab a couple.
  • I ruthlessly cleared three beds where some lettuce had mostly failed. (You remember that presprouting in cornstarch gel experiment? Didn't go so well.) The ruthlessness is to keep me from hesitating about planting something else. Now I'm debating whether to lift the fabric and add more amendments, to treat the soil as if it's still freshly prepped because surely the failed lettuce didn't take much out of it, or to take a middle ground compromise of scratching in a little fertilizer to replace what has probably washed out.  Anyway, either way, I think I'm going to plant Oxheart carrots and both red and gold beets there. (A quick Google tells me that these are light to medium feeders. I think I'm going to treat the soil as freshly prepped, in that case.)
  • I just ordered six pounds of seed potatoes. I'm planning to plant them with the weird weed barrier method that I have yet to illustrate, to allow me to hill them up but not have a bunch of bare soil growing weeds or attracting cats. I almost got more specific about what the cats would do, but you all know.
  • I also ordered two pounds of Forum onion sets, which are supposedly appropriate for making bulbs in my climate. 
  • I decided against ordering Copra onion plants. I might change my mind again.
  • Tomorrow I may or may not go out to buy a couple of blueberry plants and insert them in the ground to wait for me to properly amend some soil--because it looks like they're about to sell out of them at the grange.
  • I went to the Seed Swap and bought three Jerusalem artichoke tubers.
So if I follow this plan, next year's garden will be heavy on
  • Bulbing alliums.
  • Potatoes.
  • Possibly Jerusalem artichokes.
  • Soft fruit. (Currants, strawberries, raspberries, and maybe blueberries.)
  • Snap peas and snap beans. (I didn't mention the snap beans above, but we always grow them.
  • Root vegetables.
Oh, and pumpkins. We always grow pumpkins. But they're not food so much as ornamental.  And there will probably be ornamental cutting flowers, too.

There are other things that make me think, "But--but I want 'em!" But looking back at the record, we don't eat much of them. Lettuce and other greens, Armenian cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet corn--lovely things, but aside from the joy of contemplating the corn stalks, are they worth the effort?

Now, we probably don't eat a tenth of the soft fruit, either, but the glee of bending over and snatching a homegrown strawberry whenever I want one is worth it, and I anticipate that the same will be true of the raspberries and the theoretical blueberries. I can't make a similar argument for the currants, but I can't kill them after five(?) years, can I?


That is all.

1 comment:

  1. armenians! armenians! maybe not so many, but I think they are my favorite food out of the garden. Though now I'm starting to get into cauliflower since I (temporarily) gave up wheat and I'm as shocked as anyone that they can be made into a pretty great substitute for pizza and bread.