Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Planting

Yesterday I still couldn't stand up without getting dizzy and I couldn't eat much except a little toast and applesauce. I think I'll call it Montazuma's Diet now since I'm losing weight without wanting to eat more. Yesterday I didn't really feel bad except for my symptoms. You know how sometimes you just feel sick, with or without symptoms? Well I didn't feel sick yesterday. I just couldn't stand up for long. I felt like going for a walk or a bike ride. Not that I was leaving my trusty bathroom for that long. But the garden was a great place to be. And the weather has been so nice with highs of 79F for the last three days. Just so you know we are usually about 30F lower this time of year.

Lettuce protected from the cats and birds

The day started with my transplanting the lettuce. I had already prepared the bed yesterday when I planted the carrots so it was pretty easy. The lettuce was volunteer lettuce that had overwintered. I have no clue if it will be any good or not, but there was no harm in moving the lettuce from the paths to the lettuce bed.

Soil block ready to be planted.

Then I tackled the onions. First I had to prepare the soil. This bed was to be just an allium bed this year. I had planted garlic in there in the fall. I used up about 5' of the 16'x4' bed. So I had 11' to loosen up and fertilize. I went back in to rest a couple times during. I never could have done this if it were my old garden with heavy clay soil, but this garden is so light and fluffy. The work is easy.

Pink marks every 3". Green every 6".

Then I marked out the rows with a stick. I have a 3' bamboo pole that is marked on one side with 6" markings in one color and 3" markings in another. On the other side it is 4" markings. I use the pole to measure and make impressions in the soil. I made each row 6" apart and put the plants 6" apart in rows in a triangular pattern. Above you see how I plant. I take two fingers and pull the soil away. It makes the perfect hole to drop in the soil block.

This is the bed partly finished. I planted 167 onions. Though I found out afterwards that I mixed up some of the Ailsa Craig and Redwing Onions. Once they grow more I'll be able to tell them apart because the Redwings are, as you might guess, red.

I was exhausted after this and took a long rest. Then I figured I'd better plant my radishes. While I was hunting for the seed I noticed my fava beans. Oops! I should have planted those ages ago when I planted my peas in February. So I went out and prepared the fava bed. Which was way more work than expected. This is where the overwintered carrots were. I had to harvest and wash them all.

Just for future reference, Mokums don't overwinter well. Purple Haze were the best at over wintering and SugarSnax were good overwinterers. Also I noticed that the carrot fly damage didn't seem to affect how well the carrots survived. Nice to know since carrot flies can be annoying.

Once the carrots were out, I fertilized and prepped the fava bed. Then I planted. Last year I put the seeds on a six inch spacing. I thought this was too close. They seemed to want to branch out but didn't really have room. So this year I used 9" rows with 8" between plants. Which might be too much, but I'll find out. I only put one seed in each spot. I hope I won't regret that. With 6" spacing it is OK when a couple don't come up, but not as much with the larger spacing.

I don't have a lot of time to plant radishes today. Saturday is my husband's birthday party and we throw a party that starts at 1 and goes to 11. So today I clean. If the house is clean and I still have time I'll go out and plant them.


  1. Montezuma's diet, LOL, that's a tough way to take off those vacation pounds! I admire you for getting all that planting done in your condition, I would have been tempted to stretch out on the couch and give Netflix a workout instead. But, it is spring and the garden calls, I'm so impatient to get mine up and running.

  2. Love your onions! I received mine and they're very puny. Need to find a new supplier.

    we also had stomach flu going around that floored everyone for 4 days so I know how you feel about your "montezuma diet".

  3. Your onions look great! I am so sorry you are on your unwanted "diet". I hope you get to feeling better soon.

  4. the veggies look great. I hope you feel better soon

  5. Do you always let your onions get that big before you plant them? Last year was the first year I planted them, and they were pretty puny. Will probably be the same this year two, because I just seeded them all together in pots, not blocks or cells.

    1. I think these are a bit bigger than last year (they grew faster). I start them a week before the end of January and plant when the planting seems good. I have to get them out before the other seedlings get started as I like a lot of light on my brassicas so they don't get leggy, but the onions don't see more twelve hours a day (since they are long day onions).

  6. Gosh Daph, I started my onions in Dec and they are not even half the size of yours! Its been beautiful here in Chicago! I tilled already and want to plant some peas and lettuce this weekend, but thats all for now, I too am waiting - catiously - for a cold snap! So for now Ill make a few fabric row markers.

  7. My onions from seed were a total bust. I planted the few that survived, but they don't look like they are going to survive. They were only about the size of toothpicks! Thankfully I have my Walla Walla sweets to take care of the onion love this year, just no cooking onions. Even the sweet onion plants didn't look too great, but I think they'll survive and produce.

  8. We plant garlic and onions here at this time of the year too (in April usually) - ours wont be ready until Christmas though. Its interesting that yours are that much quicker.

  9. You are amazing. Honestly that is alot of planting considering you are still not feeling 100%. Your onion seedlings look great.

    I planted the last group of my own onions late Thursday afternoon. I ran out of time and energy and dry weather on Sunday to do them, so when I was home to wrap up the tree removal project with the contractor, I took the opportunity to get the onions in the ground. Like yours, mine were quite big and really needed to get growing with more root room.

  10. Sowed some purple haze in spring but it did not grow much during summer, but now starting to pick up. I planted the wrong variety of carrot then. Since you mentioned its good for over-wintering.

  11. Daphne, What a great idea to use the chicken wire! I've been using flat wire sections to keep out unwanted four-legged creatures. Then I prop them as the plants grow. Your solution is much better. Thanks for the idea. I also need to rethink direct seeding of my onions. Germination even for scallions has been spotty for two years. Susan