Thursday, April 9, 2009

This and That

It amazes me that in just two days after planting out my lettuce seedlings they have more than doubled in size. None of the other plants have shown a marked growth like that. I wish I had some before and after photos, but I never thought to take them.

The day after planting out my cool weather crops. The weather forecast for this coming weekend shifted. We will get not just a frost but a freeze this weekend. I'll have to make sure the chard is covered. There is a reason I wasn't supposed to plant the cabbage and broccoli out until after the middle of April and this is it. I may pay for my laziness. They can survive the temperatures coming just fine, but they both won't do well afterward. The broccoli tends to button, especially my variety which is Packman. The cabbage only makes little heads then decides to bolt. Frosts won't do this to the plants, but a real freeze will. Hopefully my row cover is enough to prevent this from happening. I think tomorrow morning I'll fill up my empty soda bottles and put them around my plants. That ought to give them a few extra degrees of protection.

Today I debated what I should be doing in the garden. It is a gorgeous sunny day and I really needed to be outside. Nothing is really pressing right now except getting my potatoes started. I went to the store and talked to Sam and he says they still haven't shipped them. They expect to get them in the middle of next week. I would really like to have them chitting right now and would like them in the soil next week, but no luck. He says that they don't ship earlier since they don't want them to freeze on the truck. Sigh. I have to work on that spring patience problem.

So to work off my impatience and enjoy the sun. I prepared the soil for the potatoes and the corn. It is pretty easy. Just fork it a bit without turning the soil over; add any amendments I deem necessary, like lime for my corn, but not for my potatoes; then rake it in.

I really want to plant my corn early. I'm growing a three sister's garden and the corn has to be planted first. The beans and squash shouldn't be planted until the corn is up. Then people start to disagree. Some say the corn should be a couple of inches tall before you plant the beans, some say six inches. Some say they had issues with the beans overtaking the corn. It seems I want my corn well established before my beans go in. Most of my beans are dried beans. They can take over 100 days to produce. In our ocean influenced climate, it could take longer. So I need it all to happen ASAP which means the ground needs to be warm. To help it along I've covered most of the area with plastic. Yes I am quite plastic obsessed in the spring. My garden looks quite unnatural with strange contraptions of plastic and remay. Most of it disappears before summer hits, but some stays around all year long.

Growing plastic in the garden

Now what was I talking about? Oh yeah. Corn. In a week I'll start the seeds inside in soil blocks. Then I'll plant out under their cover. Hopefully that will give the corn enough heat to start off. And hopefully we won't get any of that record cold and the corn won't get too chilly. I think when I plant them out, I'll move a water filled soda bottle next to each plant just to be sure.


  1. Have you done a three sisters garden before? I was thinking of doing it this year, but I only have a small area so I'd only be able to plant 4 or 5 stands of corn. I'm concerned that it won't be enough to polinate properly. Any thoughts?

  2. No I've never done one before. I have room for 5 hills of corn if I space them 4' apart. I'm thinking of doing 3' so I will have 7 hills. I can't block plant the hills since I have a garden of wide rows to work with, so my corn and beans will be along the northern side of the 4' bed and the squash on the southern side. Hopefully it will work, but I'll let you know in the fall.

  3. Good for you re: lettuce and Three Sisters, Daphne! It's dropping into the 30s here at night this week, too. I think cossetting the plants with straw before covering them will help. I'm hping to plant my seed potatoes this weekend; maybe yours will arrive by then, too.

  4. I've heard that 3 sisters is a good way to utilize a small space, although I've never done it. I hate doing the plastic always have to worry about it coming off.

  5. I wanted to go with the three sisters but I'm going to have to go with just 2 sisters. I can't plant squash too late in the season or pickleworms will destroy them before harvest. The only way to keep the pickleworms at bay is to cover the crop at dusk and then uncover it in the morning (because the moths only lay their eggs just after dusk). But if the squash is planted with corn I don't think covering it is an option. So it's just gonna be beans & corn....the Two Sisters!

  6. Your garden is looking very nice & tidy. I can see the beans overtaking the corn. I wonder if particular varieties are used for the three sisters.

    I've been fixing the gardening bug by building things as I really can't plant much either. I am almost done the added raised beds, I completed a compost screen and will soon start the BAYG potato bin. I will also be amending beds this weekend & maybe planting out some lettuce with row cover.

    Is it summer yet?

  7. Our Friend Ben, I'm hoping the almost compost mulch that I put on is good enough.

    engineeredgarden, I put down a lot of rocks, but yes occasionally it can blow off. Or rip then blow off.

    Dennis that's too bad. I just have to plant C. moschata to keep the vine borers from killing them all. Or so I hear. This will be the first time I've planted that species.

    Dan, I have no clue if just particular varieties were used. I'm planting Bon Appetit as the corn. It is ready in 71 days and gets to about 6 1/2" tall. I'm wondering if I should have picked an earlier corn, but I really wanted something that was tall enough. I can so see my Kentucky wonder beans just taking the whole stalk over. They grow so fast and so vigorously. I'm pretty sure the Cherokee Trail of Tears corn has been used in a lot of three sisters gardens though. I'll figure it all out when I do it. It is the fun of doing something new.

    And no it isn't summer yet :/ It is getting warmer though. I had two whole days in a row around 60°F