Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Gardening "Crunch Time" Approaches

First, let me say that, if this page looks unfamiliar, it's because I have been goofing around with the blog templates. For those who aren't currently using blogger, it might help to know that a whole lot of new options have been added sort-of-recently, and I am finally getting around to looking at them. Right now, this page looks too plain to me, but in a few days I will probably have made more changes.

Back to the blog ...

In my own yard, I have begun to work my way through the usual springtime planting; it's just all been moved up a few weeks. A patch of bush beans (Provider) is in, as is a patch of zucchini (Raven). I've also planted a few nasturtium seeds and the salad cucumbers (Straight Nine) but everything else is still in the queue.

The spring crops are coming along fairly well, but I am a little anxious about the warm weather. Will I have any lettuce worth eating? We'll see. Right now, the earliest lettuces and spinach are a few inches high, the peas are developing flower-buds, the winter-planted onions are far enough along that I've pulled a few to use as green onions, the actual green onions that I planted a few weeks back for use later in the summer are seedling-threads that don't look sturdy enough to stand on their own (and yet, they do!), and the dwarf runner beans that I plant a few of for their pretty red flowers, rather than their food value -- they don't set many beans in the Georgia heat -- have poked their first couple of leaves out of the ground.

So far, so good.

Out at the garden/farm where I volunteer on Saturdays, my little family has planted a bed of beans (white mountain half runners) and a bed of squash (yellow straight neck). This represents a very small amount of the planting that needs to get done there, though, and the pace of planting is about to accelerate. The two main gardeners there are planning a big three-to-four day planting bonanza just before Easter. They've been checking the forecast for temperature and rain, and have decided to just get everything into the ground then, pretty much all at once. It is likely that my family will plant another bed or two in advance of the planting bonanza, but the big fields that represent most of the planting space will be planted using bigger equipment (assorted tractors) than will work in the raised beds.

Out at the space where the Plant-a-Row-for-the-Hungry (PAR) project is moving to, things are moving more slowly:

The field isn't really in black and white, that's just the way the camera was set and I couldn't figure out how to change it back to color, but the space is still a grassy field.

To be honest, even though in some ways it would be nice to get started now on this garden, too, I'm a little bit glad that it is running behind. Working on the other two gardens - my own plus the one out on Dallas Highway - is getting my gardening muscles back in shape for all the work that will need to be done at the PAR garden!

The people who are planning the site (there is more to it than just our own little garden) are making a great deal of progress on sorting out the order-of-events and how it's all going to be funded, so I am not especially concerned that the site isn't ready for us yet.

Our group of PAR gardeners has made progress, too, on pulling together the things that we'll need. I've ordered our sweet potato slips (200!) from a guy in Alabama, and we have the seeds and bean inoculant that we'll need, and I've bought the cottonseed meal and Sul-Po-Mag that we'll use as our organic fertilizer.

A couple of people have been working on finding a whole lot of compost, and they've identified a source of mushroom compost that's not too expensive.

In addition, the Junior Master Gardener group at a local elementary school is helping to start our tomatoes and peppers! Their leader is a member of our PAR group, and she grows those transplants for us each year. When we finally are able to start delivering food to the pantry, it will truly have been a community-wide effort.

When we do get started, we will have a lot to do in a very short time. As one of our gardeners put it, it will be "crunch time!"

We expect to measure out the beds (we plan to use wide rows), dump compost on each bed, spread the fertilizer for each bed, and mix that all together with a tiller in one day, which is why I'm hoping my gardening muscles are in good shape by then.

We meet just once each week, so the next week will involve a lot of planting, and we'll also need to get mulch onto the paths pretty quickly. After everything is in, there will be less hard, physical work each week, but the first few weeks will be doozies.


  1. Love the new blog look. Thought I'd been directed to the wrong site!

    I searched back the internest and Organic Gardening had an older article about treating fire ants once in the vegetables. There is something called Green Light Fire Ant Control that is safe to use with veggies - per Organic Gardening so I trust them. My garden center has ordered it for me and I hope to have it on my little English peas by tomorrow night. I'll let you know how it works.

  2. Green Light may have been the brand we used. I'm happy to hear that you were able to find something that's acceptable!

  3. Hi Amy - I normally read this in Google Reader, and don't see the formatting. This format looks great. Looking forward to the seasons crop's photos.

  4. Hi Paul! Glad to hear that the new look is good. I would guess, though, that you aren't the only one to not usually see it. I assume the change means you've been using someone else's computer while you're in Oklahoma and Texas. I've appreciated the medical updates, so I'm glad you found a computer to work on. Hope today's appointment goes well!


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