Thursday, May 1, 2014

Just Planting in the Rain...

As I mentioned in my last post, the weather is not being very cooperative & the new raised beds are taking much longer to build as a result.  I currently have several veggies that are long overdue to be transplanted outside – specifically rapini, onions, shallots, collards and spinach.  My lettuce was also due to be planted outdoors last week & I am just starting to harden it off now.  I’ve been getting worried that my little transplants may not hang on much longer, so I have decided to change things up in order to get them into their raised beds sooner rather than later.

When I had planned the layout for my beds, most of the greens were supposed to go into the newer beds.   This was because a couple of the new beds will be in a spot that receives a bit more shade (there are some spruce trees in that area).  I figured that I would put the veggies that are more tolerant of shade into those beds.

But gardening is a constant process of adjusting how and when you do things based on what is happening at the moment.  With these seemingly never-ending delays in finishing the beds, I decided that I was going to switch things around.  My goal was to get most of the seedlings that are overdue to be transplanted set out this week - which means that they will all be going into one of the older beds.   The only seedlings that will have to wait are the onions because there are simply too many to accommodate in my old beds.

So today, in the rain, I prepared one of the beds.  Before I add any amendments to the bed, I always aerate it with a garden fork.  And when I was in the process of doing this, I noticed a ton of Wonderful Worms - now THAT makes me happy - I so love these guys!


Wonderful Worms!
After aerating the bed, I added several soil amendments since greens are one of the heaviest feeders.  Firstly, I spread a thin layer of bagged sheep manure over top.  Then I combined a variety of amendments together (soybean meal, chicken manure pellets, greensand & kelp meal) and worked this into the top few inches of the soil.

The soybean meal & chicken manure pellets are for added nitrogen.  Greensand is a slow release source of potassium, while kelp meal is a quick release source (a soil test last year said that my beds were sorely lacking in potassium).  Both kelp meal & greensand also contain an assortment of micro-nutrients.
A Medley of Nutrients
First to be transplanted was the rapini.  Poor guys, they looked especially sad.  Their lower leaves (the cotyledons) had all sort of shriveled up which is never a good sign.  I’m hoping that they perk up now that they are in the ground.

The new beds I’m making are completely rectangular & the rapini was supposed to fill a 2’ x 4’ spot.  Since I was using one of the old beds which has an angled end on one side, I had many more rapini seedlings than I needed.  So I tightened up the spacing.  I have never grown rapini before & was planning on spacing it 6” apart.  But I had also read that some growers space it as closely as 2” apart to produce more leaves & smaller heads.  I felt that 2” was too close, so I went with 3”-4" spacing.  I also transplanted the pak choi & collards into this bed.


Rapini, Collards & Chinese Cabbage - Transplanted at Last!
And about that funky angle on my old beds – I built them that way for no reason other than looks.  But, as I quickly learned, the angled areas are a pain to deal with when spacing out plants and especially when using row covers – lesson learned.  Rectangular beds may not look as interesting, but they sure do make things easier.  And while it doesn’t seem like a lot of space, the 2 square feet of growing space I lost (and the shorter length on that side) does make a big difference.

Once I had the seedlings all tucked into the bed, I covered them with a row cover.


Seedlings Now Under a Nice Toasty (kind of) Row Cover
You may have noticed the two clumps of green on the end of the bed – these are chives.  Up until now, I have been growing my herbs in the same beds as the vegetables.  This was ok for annual herbs, but I found that the perennial herbs often got in the way when preparing & planting the beds.  So I am making a small bed (which is also finished but not filled with soil yet) that will be exclusively for herbs, both perennials & annuals.  Once this bed is done (hopefully this weekend?), I will be moving the chives.  Unfortunately, it seems as if the chives are the only herbs that survived our extreme winter temperatures this year (I also HAD oregano, thyme & sage).  Well, at least I still have my rosemary which I overwinter inside.  It will be planted in the herb bed just as soon as temperatures warm up - whenever that may be.

Till next time…

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

6 comments:

  1. Hi Margaret--thanks for visiting my blog and the nice comment.
    Love your garden and look forward to seeing the progress---if the sun EVER shines.
    We've had a solid week of rain as well, and I'm chomping at the bit wanting to get out and do things.
    I struggled to find homes for my extra chives as well, and ended up scattering them here and there. I can never stand to throw away the "extras" -LOL! Even when I finally get desperate and compost them, I end up setting them in there loosely planted. Ah well, more bounty to share, I always say.
    Have a wonderful week-and good luck getting beds made and set up.

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    1. Thanks Sue! I too am HORRIBLE at getting rid of anything extra - In the back of my mind I'm always thinking "I'm sure I can put this somewhere". Every single time I have to thin out plants, I have to talk myself into it!

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  2. I hear you on the rain. I have several raised beds to replace and the cold and rain is really squashing those plans. It looks like I will have to dodge raindrops to plant some transplants this weekend as well.

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    1. I'm beginning to sound like a broken record when it comes to the bad weather we have been having for MONTHS - lol! Good luck this weekend, Rachel!

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  3. I know what you mean about plants that are long overdue to be transplanted out. I have quite a few myself! I was finally able to get more beds built this past weekend. I made them square this time and yes, square and rectangular beds more much less interesting but I tried to compensate by arranging them in an interesting manner. I'll post about it this week. :)

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    1. We had a really nice day today (finally) & I was able to do a bit more sowing and finish filling one of the new beds with soil - Yeah! I can't wait to see your new beds - I'm sure they will be impeccable, like the rest of your garden!

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