Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Starting succession planting seeds


One of the things I learned from the classes I took through Madison FarmWorks is the benefit and importance of keeping good garden records. So this evening, I started writing in a notebook what I planted over the weekend, and then thought this could be an interesting (even useful?) blog post.

Considering the early spring we have had, the soil has been able to be worked pretty early, and so I went to my community garden plot and and planted four things on March 31.

The first thing I did was check on my fall-planted garlic. I've been watching the leaves come up during the last few weeks, and one species is not doing nearly as well as the other two. While all are growing, the Susanville variety is yellowing and not nearly as vigorous as the Duganski or the German porcelain. I don't know enough about garlic to know what accounts for this, but one of my fears is they I added something to the soil that isn't agreeing with the garlic. Last autumn Jay and I augmented the soil with mature horse manure, finished compost and a light sprinkling of wood ash. I'm really hoping the garlic will simply grow out of it.
You see how the two rows on the left are yellowed and not as vigorous as the front two rows.

I planted a five-foot row of Sugar Daddy snap peas and added some granular legume inoculate, a beneficial soil bacteria that improves the health of plants and soil and fixes nitrogen to the roots of the peas. I then planted a 5-foot row of French breakfast radishes, a dozen cilantro seeds and a 3-foot row of arugula, or rocket salad. This year I'm going to get serious about succession planting and the radishes, cilantro and rocket are the first in the succession for this part of the garden. 

The radishes mature in 25 days, and after they come out I'm going to put in a border of alyssum, a cute little fragrant flower that is supposed to cascade, I'm hoping down over the planks of my raised bed. I'll keep re-seeding the cilantro until the eggplant that are going to be planted nearby finally shade it out. Same goes true with the arugula, I'll keep harvesting from it until the neighboring eggplant shade it out or it gets bitter from the summer heat. 

I then covered the rows with remay, or row cover. This will help keep a little heat in overnight, protect the soil when it rains and keep critters from eating the seeds. Later on, it will keep flea beetles off the radishes.

According to the handy-dandy vegetable planting calendar from Madison FarmWorks, starting April 15 some other succession plantings can include beets, carrots, kale, spinach and turnips. If you're at all interested in buying this wonderful little planting calendar, it's $5 and you can order it online at www.communitygroundworks.org.

The flamingo won't eat the pea seeds, but other birds will. The row cover will protect the seeds from critters, heavy rain and will protect seedlings from the sun and cold nights.