|Posted on January 10, 2010 at 6:33 PM|
Spent a few hours puttering in the garden, shop, and greenhouse today. The weather is overcast but generally fairly warm (54 degrees as of 1:30 this afternoon) so it is an ideal day to do some garden chores. Took care of some routine items such as mixing and turning the compost piles and watering the seedlings in the shop (as well as the crops in the greenhouse) with a fish emulsion tea. The day length will be creeping up in the days and weeks to come and the various greens will benefit from a shot of light nutrition to help them kick up the growth.
Another task I got to was a salvage operation for the bed of overwintered spinach. I planted them last fall in a portion of one of the beds in the newer section of garden – next to a green manure crop of crimson clover. It’s in the mid-section of the lowest main bed in the following picture.
I have two problems going on with that planting. First, the germination was spotty and so there are some fairly large bare patches in the planting area. Second, the wild rabbit that has been raiding the carrots and the cover crop of crimson clover, has also been mowing down the young spinach plants as well. Despite all that, there is a good scattering of very young spinach plants in the bed and I want to salvage as much of them as I can for an early spring crop. The first order of business was to take a few minutes and do some weeding to get rid of large weeds that had gotten a foothold established. Once the largest of the weeds had been disposed of, I then mixed up some fish emulsion tea and gave the entire bed of tiny spinach starts a quick drench. The final step was to get them under a grow tunnel cover to protect them from any further rabbit damage and to give them a warmer, more protected environment to encourage new growth. If you look closely at the next picture, you can actually see the small spinach seedlings in the area that has the PVC hoops set up over it.
Over the hoops, some plastic sheeting was then put in place. I reuse the plastic sheeting over and over again, so it is not always very clean looking. When it is not in current use, I fold them up like blankets and store them in the shop on a shelf. The plastic is anchored to the PVC hoops using “A” type clamps that I keep on hand for that purpose. They are inexpensive and last for years and years. Occasionally using a little 3 in 1 oil on the springs is a good idea, as they get rusty over time and with exposure to the elements. These clamps are about due for a little oil treatment.
Now the bed is under cover and should hopefully be able to rejuvenate and grow on more successfully.
In the older section of the garden, I have another grow tunnel cover in place – this one protects the main bed of over wintered parsnips and carrots.
I opened it up this afternoon long enough to dig up some carrots and parsnips for tonight’s dinner menu.
I trimmed the tops and root tips off while still in the garden so I could just toss them directly into the compost pile. A rinse under the spigot and they were ready to go inside - where they will be peeled and/or scrubbed and then roasted with nothing more than just a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
The January King cabbages looked pretty ragged right after our period of deep freezes in December but now they have really bounced back. The cabbage heads are starting to get some good size on them.
Did not get to my shop project this weekend at all. Decided instead to wait until next weekend to get going with it - since it is a three-day weekend for me and I will have a little more time to devote to it. Next weekend I will also be getting the first of the 2010 seed starting efforts underway.
Did a general walk through of the entire garden making a mental note about items that will need some attention in the next several months.
By steadily working on these items over the coming weeks and months, the garden will be ready for the big rush of spring planting without undue wear and tear on me. I much prefer to pace myself through the various garden chores that need doing each season. Do you have some "pre season" chores lined up to do this year?