Monday, May 23, 2011

Almost Done Planting?

I keep thinking I'm almost done planting things at the community garden (and at home!) but then it always seems like there's room for a few more things.  Here's another update on the progress out there.

My potatoes are doing quite well.  Most of the chunks I planted have sprouted at least one plant, and the plants now range in size from about 2 inches (the one I chopped off by accident with a hoe) to about 2 ft above the original soil line.  I've never grown potatoes in the ground before, so when N saw me hilling them up and started asking skeptical questions, I don't think my voice quite had the ring of authority he wanted to hear.  He went and chatted with M, our community garden's helpful guru, who told him I should actually be hilling them even higher.  Suitably reassured, N proceeded to do a much nicer job of it than I had been.  (He really wants potatoes to come out of that garden!)

The tomatoes I transplanted a few weeks ago are doing really well - they've almost doubled their above-ground size since I planted them and several are starting to flower.  As an experiment I decided to cover the ground around them with the plastic bags my leafgro arrived in.  I've seen advice on several university extension websites about mulching tomatoes with plastic to conserve water, suppress weeds, and prevent potentially spore-laden soil from splashing up onto the leaves during heavy rainfall.  So far I have to say I'm really impressed; the soil around my tomato beds is visibly more moist than in other areas of the garden, and the upper leaves (those that grew in after I put the plastic down) are visibly cleaner than the older ones.  Yay!  Now I really must get to staking!

My corn (some of it anyway) has come up.  I think I'll have to go back sometime soon and re-plant in the places where it didn't come up.  I didn't do a very good job of watering it after I planted, or of mixing together the soil and the leaf mulch I put on top of it, so I guess I deserved poor germination rates, but it's important that my rows be filled in, since I only planted two rows and pollination is really important for corn.

I haven't seen any beans (green beans and lima beans) or cucumbers yet.  N helped me put up a trellis for the cucumbers and a net for the beans.  I'll have to post pictures because the whole bean structure is kind of hard to describe and I've already gotten questions about it from several other gardeners out there.  I always laugh a little when people ask what it's for, because I have no idea if it will work and I know it looks crazy.  I needed something around 6 or 7 feet tall and roughly 15 feet long and costing almost nothing to make - surely the kind of challenge that requires a creative and unique solution.  We'll see if it works, I guess.

I also planted pre-sprouted zucchini and butternut squash seeds, and a few yellow summer squash seeds that weren't sprouted yet - I just wanted to get them in the ground in case the baby comes.  (Any day now....) 

As it turns out I have a big blank spot in my community garden plan that was originally intended to be part of a shaded seating / water collection area.  My thinking was that in July when it's 100 degrees and 100% humidity it would be nice to have some shady spot to sit in and nurse the baby between gardening chores.  But there were a lot of problems with that plan, too numerous to mention at 11pm.  I also just happen to have a bunch of old seeds for large vining plants, given to me by my friend T because she doesn't have the space to grow them and wasn't really sure if the seeds were any good.  So, I may be adding some pumpkins and/or winter squash to my plot, depending on how much time passes between now and when the baby arrives.  I've recently discovered the seemingly obvious fact that garden space that has nothing planted in it still has to be weeded, so I am motivated to at least make it all useful!

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