Saturday, April 21, 2007

Garden Journal: April 15-21, 2007

It was a beautiful day today. It was 22ºC outside with a nice breeze. We opened all the windows in the house to let in some fresh air and spent a few hours outside working in the garden.

We cleaned up the second vegetable bed and all the flower boxes from last year. That large compost bin is working out great and is now 1/6 of the way full of old potting soil, twigs and branches, and the dried husks of last year's garden.

We have some form of moss growing in the garden bed we cleaned out today. Perhaps it can be transplanted to another part of the yard to surround paving stones. The soil is very heavy, sticky, and hard to break up. Before we plant anything in this bed we're going to add some sand, to help loosen the soil, along with the bags of compost we add every year.

The first bed couldn't be any different. The soil is dark and rich, and is loose and crumbly. Just the way garden soil should look. And, the soil was warm enough that I could dig my hands into it without getting cold. The section of bed under the greenhouse was only a little warmer than the rest of the bed.

With the weather looking good for the next couple of weeks and the fact we have the greenhouse to protect the plants, we decided it was time to plant our spring crops. In the section of the garden not covered by the greenhouse we planted four 4ft rows of Lincoln Homesteader variety of sweet peas, on either side of two rows of vine support netting, and a 4ft row of beets between the two support nets.
Under the greenhouse we planted a 5ft row of Green Arrow bush peas down the centre of the bed. On the south side of that we planted two 5ft rows of spinach. On the north side we planted a 5 ft row of lettuce and another row of spinach. After we were done we put the greenhouse back in place.

In truth this is still part of the experiment. If the uncovered vegetables have to be replanted but the covered ones do well, then we will look into putting a hoop greenhouse over all the raised beds next year or the year after. Most people around here wait until the long weekend in May or even June before they plant their gardens. Since the first frost can hit as early as mid-August, we have a very short growing season. If the greenhouse idea works, we hope to be able to extend our growing season by at least a month if not more.

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