Willful Weather & Willful Gardeners

What a week it's been down in the garden.  While we certainly needed the rain....we could have used just a tad bit less than the skies gave us.  This year's garden crew (Mike, Piper and Morgan) wasn't about to let the challenging weather get in the way of their work!

The main focus this past week was getting most of our cool season crop seeds and transplants in the soil, preparing many of the planting beds, getting our plastic covers down for some specific beds and starting to fix our garden fence.

Cool season crops:  One of the lessons the garden crew learned this week was about how important it is to know the needs of each vegetable (from seed to maturity).  Seeds have different ranges of soil temperature for optimal germination.  Since the garden soil was at about 60 degrees this past week, we focused on getting the seeds in that prefered a cool start.  This included our lettuce varieties, carrots, kale, onion and scallion transplants.  The snap peas, spinach, beets and some of the lettuce we planted last week were already up. 

Another planting method the gardeners did this week dealt with timing of harvest: they planted half of the lettuce bed (two more to go but we were afraid the heavy rains would wash the seeds out): this will result, in theory, staggered harvest dates! 

Planting Bed Prep:  A lot of weeding got done this week!  On certain beds, we also mixed in compost (for vegetables with higher soil nutriton needs) and put down red and black plastic on certain beds.  The plastic is meant to heat up the soil quicker for those veggies that like it a bit warmer (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, watermelon and cantaloupe) as well as to keep the weeds under control.  We are experimeting with the red plastic for our tomatoe beds, check back in August to see how it goes!  We also put up some metal hoops up which we'll cover with special greenhouse-grade plastic to create an even warmer environment (we're going to experiment this on 1 of our peppers and tomatoe beds to see if they grow a bit faster than the ones we don't cover).

Lastly, the gardeners also put black plastic around the entire perimeter of the fence.  We're going to see if this helps with the massive weeds that grow tall around our fence that end up providing a safe habitat for the bunnies, woodchucks and mice.  We hope that this saves some crops as well as time as the season progresses.

Next week, with a sunnier forecast, it will be our busiest planting week: feel free to come on down and help us!  We love visitors (and extra working hands).

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