Commencement

We’re off to a good start, I think. My (admittedly unscientific)  planting schedule calls for our spring vegetables to be planted “March 1–as soon thereafter as the ground can be worked.” Some years that qualifier carries us all the way into April. But yesterday conditions were perfect. On another record-high day I shaped up the beds and planted. Beets, English peas, arugula, Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, radishes, turnips, spinach and bok choy–all direct-seeded.

The transplants aren’t ready yet, of course. Those were started weeks ago and because there’s no way to predict then when the soil will be ready, we aimed for mid-March. So we’ll be adding collards, broccoli, romaine lettuce, Chinese cabbage and more kale a few weeks from now (hopefully). In about a week we’ll sow lettuce mix and tatsoi in the raised beds.

In the past we’ve had large 3 spring gardens. This year we have only one. I’m excited to see how the experiment works out.

We’re reducing to one large summer garden as well, although we will have a separate watermelon patch and a large garden devoted to eggplant and acorn squash. Likewise we’re shrinking our usual 3 fall gardens down to one. Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes and purple hull peas will continue to have gardens of their own, as will garlic and onions beginning next year.

In some cases we’re reducing the number of varieties we grow. Too often in the past we grew things that we not much more than novelty items. There wasn’t much interest in them either here or at the market. We used to grow a yellow-fleshed Moon and Stars watermelon for example. They were pretty, and there were a few people who seemed to prefer them, but we preferred the taste of Crimson Sweet as did the vast majority of our customers. So why waste space on the Moon and Stars anymore? Besides, if we grow only one variety then we can save seeds. Growing more than one results in cross-pollination and makes that impossible. And for you Moon and Stars fans, hold your fire. I’m glad someone is growing them. They’re a great old melon. But there’s no reason we all have to grow them and, as I said, for seed-savers it’s necessary to just pick one melon and go with it. Whereas in the past we usually grew over 100 different varieties of things, this year my guess is that we’re going to be down to about half that (but I haven’t counted).

So it feels good to be underway. Within a hour or so of me finishing the planting a soft steady rain commenced. I couldn’t have scripted it any better.

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18 comments on “Commencement

  1. avwalters says:

    Envy. There’s no other word for it. Yesterday and this morning we greeted ten inches or so of fresh new snow. It’s beautiful, but after having melted all the way to soil, not once, but three times, we had the taste of Spring in our mouths. It is lovely–and hopefully it will lull the fruit trees back to dormancy–until it is time. Until then, it is time to go out and shovel.

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  2. Ed says:

    May you have a mild summer and bountiful harvest. We generally don’t start our gardens for another few weeks up here but right now it is so dry from the lack of snow this winter that I’m not sure when we will be able to plant gardens. It may be just the deck planter for us where I can easily water things.

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  3. shoreacres says:

    How nice to have a post about planting bringing this quotation out of memory’s storehouse:

    The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
    ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
    The throned monarch better than his crown;
    His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
    The attribute to awe and majesty,
    Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
    But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
    It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
    It is an attribute to God himself;
    And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
    When mercy seasons justice.

    Here’s to more gentle rain, and temperatures to match.

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  4. Bob Bushell says:

    Good planting Bill.

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  5. Now the G.O. & I have a vege garden I tend to want to grow everything, like a kid in a candy store. I’ve given myself a space allowance for a few novelties but stick to what we eat and is convenient to pick fresh for meals. You’re advice re cross pollination will also reign me in, as I like to save seeds also.

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    • Bill says:

      If you’re concerned about cross-pollination messing up your seeds, check the veggie. Some cross pollinate and some don’t. I always play around with something experimental too. That’s part of the fun.

      By the way, thanks for directing me to The Philosopher’s Zone. I’ve been bingeing on it the last few days. It reminds me of Philosophy Bites, one of my favorite podcasts.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, is does feel good have the garden year beginning. I’ve just been working on garden structure so far but digging will commence soon. Seedlings are coming along nicely. They will soon be ready for transplanting into bigger pots. They won’t go outside for some time yet. I’ll be starting the second round soon. Then the warm weather crops about the same time. I was working on the water spring platform and the next new raised bed. The bed is about half completed and the same with the platform. The most difficult part of the platform is completed. It really felt great to be back in the garden with muscles being used and progress being made.

    Have a great garden planning and planting day.

    Nebraska Dave
    Urban Farmer
    Nebraska, USA

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  7. Wonderful to know all system are GO as Spring gets Sprung.. Yours is of course on a much larger scale than our allotments.. But our cabbage, cauliflower, Tomatoes are all sprouting through, All transplanted into 3 inch pots in the greenhouse, 🙂 Hubby has been busy, as I have not felt up to it at the moment.. I am saving myself and building myself up for the brighter warmer weather..
    Happy Sowing Bill..
    Love and Blessings
    Sue 🙂

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  8. smfarm says:

    We have started planting some of the garden too. With such a mild winter we’ve been able to start a couple weeks early.

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