Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Weekend Planting

We had a long weekend for Easter with lots of outside work planned. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't really cooperating. It was cloudy and cold most of the weekend but Monday did eventually get warm enough, later in the afternoon, that we were able to get outside. PeterC turned two of the raised beds and as much as I tried to resist the urge, I ended up doing some planting.

Before I planted I did something different this year. Each year I always plan for and plant far to much in the space we have. Some years it works out OK but most years the beds just get to crowded and we don't get as much produce as we should. This year I took some nails and some jute cord and defined planting rows before I put the seeds in the ground. Most of the rows are 10" apart but at least three in each bed are 12" apart. I hope this will give all the rows plenty of room to spread side to side ad will make it easier to weed since anything not along the string is a weed, even if it isn't.

After marking each row with the cord I pulled out my seeds and decided what to plant. The soil was still fairly cool to the touch, except where the sun was touching the surface, and we are still expecting frosts for another two or three weeks. With that in mind I decided to plant Oxheart Carrots and Lutz Leaf Beets, both root crops able to handle heavy frosts for the three weeks it takes them to germinate.

While digging around in the seeds I found packages of Bloomsdale Spinach and Munchkin Broccoli from a couple of years ago. Both spinach and broccoli are cooler weather crops that we have a hard time growing because it seems to go from frost to bloody hot over a 24hr period here. Since they were extra seed anyway I decided to try planting them a month early to see if they can handle the frosts and grow to harvest before it gets to hot and they go to seed.

We use companion planting at Sparrow Haven with great success. Some things work really well together and some things not so much. A little research showed that beets and broccoli do well together so I planted them in alternating rows, three of each, in one bed. The plan is if the broccoli doesn't come up or is killed by a frost before we can get anything useful I'll go back and plant more beets so the crop comes in spread out through the summer and fall.

Carrots do best with tomatoes but we aren't planting tomatoes this year. Research showed that carrots and lettuce do well together and, in my mind anyways, spinach is like lettuce. So, I planted the carrots and spinach in the other bed. I didn't alternate the rows like I did in the first bed. If the spinach doesn't do well I can turn it under and plant something else in its place without disturbing the carrots.

Over the next few weeks I'll be planting Scarlet Creepers, Cranberry Beans, Green Bush Beans, Sweet Potatoes, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Summer Squash, Bush Delicata Winter Squash (Sweet Potato Squash), Hot Peppers, and English Cucumbers. Of course, I will be adding extra plantings as room allows but I suspect I'm already planning far to much for the space I have left to plant in.


Anonymous said...


Good luck with your garden. Out here the ground is still frozen so we have to wait another month.


Basic Living said...

My cool weather plants are coming up now. I just love this time of year. I'd love to see pictures of your garden!

Take care,