The weather has been wet the last few days but the temperatures have been staying above freezing even during the night. That means it is time to finish the planting and watch the garden grow, while keeping weeds and insects to a minimum using good old fashioned elbow grease. The weeds should be easy this year as I plan to use straw to mulch between the rows. The bugs will hopefully be kept down by the companion planting and the flock of birds we have visiting us each day.
To prepare for this momentous event, I have started the plants that require a little extra growing time. I have planted the cucumber, squash, and all four variety of hot peppers in a starter tray. The tray is sitting in the warmest place in the house, namely the top of the dryer, waiting for the plants to sprout. Once they have sprouted the tray will be moved outside to the mini-greenhouse we set up in the garage. There they will get grow-lite and warmth thanks to the fluorescent tube lighting we set up for each shelf.
Other major preparation is to chit the seed potatoes. According to My Tiny Plot, potatoes need the eyes to be developed well before planting in the ground. I didn't do that last year and got luscious plants but few potatoes. This year I am using her instructions to chit my potatoes before they go into the ground. Essentially they are sitting in a tray in the mud room where they are getting indirect light from the window. They've only been out there a few days and I am already seeing huge development in the eyes.
This weekend's weather forecast is warm and dry so the last bed will be turned and my beans will be planted. I want to get the trellises built this weekend too but they may have to wait a couple of weeks. It will depend on what wood scraps we have in the garage. Usually we only give the pole beans a 5-6 ft pole to climb but this year I am going to try a lean-to design. I'm hoping this lets the plants have 8-10 ft climbing distance while making it very easy for me to pick the beans once they ripen. I'll post pictures once I get the climbing trellis built and installed.