What a winter for North Carolina. Expecting 2 - 4 inches on top of the ice
we got this morning. Screwing with my greenhouse and my germination in the
house for sure. I guess I won't be planting in early March as I had planned
. Oh Mother Nature.....just keep us guessing.
Ma Nature , being the fickle bitch that she is , may very well turn around
and give us an early and extended heat wave . And drought ... (sigh) I guess
we just have to take what comes and make the best of it . Farmers Almanac
said that we'd have a colder/wetter winter this year , so far they've been
right . I have 2 different what-to-plant-when schedules from the web , both
are in general agreement , BUT both are history-based so ...
But any way you cut it , now is the time to be starting seeds for
transplanting later . So far I have onions , 2 kinds of 'maters <2 more I
picked up seeds for today> kale , lettuce , cauliflower , eggplants and
cayenne peppers in the starter trays . And they're all sitting on a low
table right in front of a southeast facing window where they get strong sun
all morning then great indirect light the rest of the day . I guess it's
time to get the tiller out and make sure it runs well . I'll be enlarging
the garden plot this year , after a great first year garden and that machine
has some seroius groundbreaking to do .
so much easier to smother it and retain most of
the existing soil structure...
(we've not had a good tilling vs. smothering thread
in a while have we? :) :) :) )
or if you'd like to cut down on how much time you
do spend tilling, plot out the garden rows so that
you are only tilling the slices where you will be
actually planting and leave the rest to be smothered.
most tillers will let you remove blades so that you
can till thinner slices.
Mmmm , I don't think smothering is going to work on this one . This is
ground that not too long ago was hardwood forest . The trees were cut before
we got it 11 years ago , an oval clearing roughly 75' X 200' . It currently
has some wild grasses and mostly blackberries on it . I tilled up part of it
last year , and the results were *VERY* encouraging . The part closest to
the trees on the uphill side weren't so much , but plants farther out into
the clearing were amazing . I'll be doubling the size this year . And
tilling the hay from the henhouse into the part I broke last year , after
it's aged a bit . I'm really excited about this year !
Clarification : That clearing also contains a 12X20 carport/shop ,
henhouse and yard , our 25' camping trailer , and the beginninge of our new
home . Last year's garden space was ~500 sf , this year probably 800-1000 .
ah, i thought it was already back to a field that was
mowed once in a while. blackberries are a different story.
i'm assuming that since you already did a part of this
that you have something to knock them back (brush hog or
some other chopper/mower)?
i'm glad to see someone excited about gardening and
having a bigger garden. :)
has the hay been added already?
i would not till the hay into the previous garden.
what does that accomplish? is there anything growing
in that soil that will be able to use those nutrients
that quickly? if not, you're effectively wasting a
long term nutrient source for no purpose.
if instead, you scatter a small amount on the surface
and lightly rake it in, then you can plant into that
and you'll be fine. after planting a plot mulch around
using the rest and that will be an excellent longer term
soil nutrient source. as the rains come along they'll
stimulate the worms and other soil creatures to break
down the top mulch and since the rains also stimulate
the plants to grow then they are getting the nutrients
when they can actually use them. much less work and
better for the soil community.
Last year's garden will also be this year's garden , just with different
crops . Gotta figger out a rotation plan to keep the soil in shape .
The new area will get the same treatment as the new got last year . Each
transplant will get a measure of manure mixed with the soil around it . Row
crops will get a line of same worked in as I form the rows . Last year's
will be partly planted in corn and pole beans , possibly that's where I'll
plant the kale , lettuces , and bok choi .
I'm really charged up about the garden . The one we had down in Memphis
was nothing compared to what I had here last year . I think it's more a
case of the soil there being poor than the soil here being extra-fertile ...
though both may apply . Either way , we'll be spending pretty close to zero
dollars this summer for fresh stuff , and my neighbors may start hiding when
they see me coming <grin> . I love living up here !
I'm starting out a little less ambitiously ... I have 6 plants in a
starter tray , we'll see how it goes . I plan on using it fresh-picked for
salads and stirfry , and try to pick it when the leaves are young and tender
. Got a lot of stuff I'm trying for the first time this year ...
I wish you luck with the celery.
I grew beautiful, plump and juicy celery in Michigan, but
my attempts in SE VA were a bust. Too stringy and thin
stalks. Between the long growing span of celery and the
heat here, celery wasn't happy and the results weren't
worth the effort and garden space.
Nyssa, who can't grow half of what she uses because it
won't grow here or the voles get it
Since celery usually takes around 120 days to maturity, by
the time I'd get the seedlings planted out into the garden,
there simply wasn't enough time of cool weather for good
development of tender, juicy stalks. The heat makes the
celery stringy and the stalks small.
I'm about 60 miles west of your Gloucester folks.
Yep, the voles around here LOVE onions, carrots, potatoes...
anything with roots. Nothing like going out into the garden
and seeing just the green top of an onion sticking out of
an empty hole. Or pulling what you hope with be a big
carrot and finding someone else has already taken a bite
out of the side. <sigh>
Nyssa, who still hasn't ordered her seeds yet
do you like fennel? it is much quicker and easier
this year i'm adding pak choi and fennel to the mix.
we'll see how they do in various locations, some with
competition and others with none, and a variety of
soil places and moisture levels.
I don't care for fennel, but I have grown bak choy
several times. I usually stick to the extra dwarf variety
for salads and the dwarf for use in stir fries and
I'd grow bak choy more often, but I'm the only one
who eats it. I can't give it away to the neighbors, ditto
any other Asian vegetable that I like, so I rarely grow
it anymore. It just rots since I can't use it all.
Nyssa, who needs to recruit neighbors who are more open
to "strange" foods
I'm single and live alone, so cooking with Asian
vegetables isn't a problem for *me* but my neighbors.
I'm surrounded by meat-and-potato types.
Yep, the hot weather will cause it to bolt almost
overnight, especially the extra dwarf stuff. You
have to use it when it's less than 2 inches tall...
Nyssa, who likes Asian food but can pass on Mexican
and most Italian stuff
hmm. :) good luck with that!
ah, too bad about the fennel as i think it is so
wimpy, especially when cooked that it doesn't really
take much like anything, similar enough to celery
for me to use it.
do you recall any other asian veggies you used to
grow in Michigan? (i'm in mid-michigan...) i'm mostly
looking for those that will self-perpetuate too and
those with firmer and larger leaves. i figure if i
can keep planting a mix of edibles here and they'll
take then it's a good food source if needed, and if
not needed i'll let it be bunny and worm food... :)
Probably to keep me from eating it - and carrots, Jerusalem artichokes,
and spinach, and (evidently) fennel, among other perfectly nice foods
that are ruined by cooking.
(But I'm no "raw food diet" fool.)
Peas and corn can go either way (a little heat melts the butter, but is
otherwise not critical, and the butter doesn't help my height to width
ratio anyway.) Cabbage should just be turned into sauerkraut. Potatoes,
squash and plantains need cooking. Apples can go either way (some more
one direction than others, of course.)
To each their own...so long as they are not serving me. ;^)
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
Sorry, I didn't grow Asian vegetables when I lived in
Michigan, so I can't help with any specifics for there.
But I can steer you to my source for Asian vegetable
They're located in Oakland, CA, and have been in business
for ages. Their catalog is worth having on hand both
for the seed descriptions, but also for the recipe suggestions.
Besides the extra dwarf and dwarf bok choy, I also have
grown several varieties of their snap and snow peas,
napa cabbage, and a green called Vitamina which is a
very fast growing cabbage-like green. There are two
lettuce varieties that are among my favorites, Okayama
Salad and Manoa (which even my fussy neighbor loves).
Lots of goodies to choose from, although their shipping
prices are a bit steep, so I only order from them
every other year.
Nyssa, who just got hit with a winter storm on Monday
after hitting 60+ degrees on Sunday...what a winter!
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