February 22, 2010

Early Spring Planting

So, is it spring yet? Maybe not according to the calendar and the groundhog, but yesterday was an absolutely glorious day; upper 60sF, beautiful blue skies, and no bone chilling wind blowing out of the north. As you can imagine, I was out in it.

Except for the red Pontiacs, sweet potatoes, and rugosa roses, my seed and nursery orders are in, so I have been planning, preparing, and planting!

I'm late for planting garden peas outdoors. Also for starting cabbage plants indoors. I could have planted the peas during the first two weeks of February. But, the soil's been too muddy to till, with all the rain we've been having and then that snow. We did finally get part of the garden tilled, and I got the peas planted last Wednesday. Little Marvels, which aren't supposed to need trellising. We'll see.

I didn't realize it, but I could have started my cabbages indoors around the first of the year. I'm way behind on that, but then I didn't have my seeds yet. I need to plan better next year. For spring planting, I bought nine Dutch flat cabbage plants to put in. My mouth is watering just thinking about sauerkraut I'll be making from them. I'll use my cabbage seeds for a fall planting.

Some of the really exciting stuff though, is this bed of 52 strawberry plants...

... planted where last year's green beans and sunflowers were. I planted 25 Junebearing (Allstar) and 27 everbearing (Eversweet).

Down in the big garden, in the garden side zigs and zags of our zig zag fence....

.... I planted three Caroline red raspberries (in the foreground, you can see one cane sticking up) and two more blueberries (one Jubilee and one O'Neal), farther down the fence.

Still to plant, five horseradish roots. I've never had horseradish plants before, and need to figure out where to put them. They're perennial, so they need a permanent spot. My research tells me they deter potato bugs, so the potato patch is a good place for them. I wasn't sure about that though, because my potato patch won't be in a permanent location. I also read that horseradish is prone to taking over, and to plant them in pots. So, I'm thinking about planting them in pots, and then sinking the pots in with the potatoes. I have plenty of three and five gallon pots leftover from planting the Leyland Cypresses. If I do that, I can keep them contained and move the pots about as I change locations for my potatoes from year to year.

I also need to plant my cabbage plants. I've been hardening them off and now today, more rain. *Sigh*. Hopefully I can get them in the ground soon, with the rest of my cool weather crops!

Early Spring Planting text and photos copyright February 2010 


Julie said...

I haven't even started thinking about it yet. We still have about four more weeks here of below 30. But I'm so looking forward to starting a garden and getting our yard in.

Life Looms Large said...

Wow - no wonder New England farmers headed south and west! We're still snow-covered!!

I never really thought about horseradish before (except in sauces). Until you posted this, I never exactly realized it was a plant (if that makes any sense).

Enjoy the warm weather!!


katrien said...

Mmmm, mouthwatering! That strawberry bed looks good to eat!


I just planted my green peppers. I started them indoor and once they sprout, I'll take them out to one of the containers. I think I planted 8 seeds so we'll see what comes up.

Nina said...

I can't even think about starting most of my seeds for another 4 weeks. Some of the allium family.. leeks and onions could be pushed a few weeks earlier. I guess if I wanted to try to force some perennials to bloom first year, I could start the seeds as well. However, it is too cold yet in the greenhouse and we're expecting close to a foot of snow by Friday, so no spring here yet.
slightly envious though as it would be lovely to play outside in the dirt! enjoy!

Renee Nefe said...

they tell us not to bother until after Mother's day here. Right now we're sitting under about 6 inches of snow. I haven't been out to check on the garden in months. I should see if that tarp saved the carrots or if they're mush (if so, I'll just plow it under.)

I have a friend who keeps spinach all year but has hot boxes for it. I should figure out how to do that.

Jo said...

I planted a horseradish plant about six years ago. Everything I read said that it wouldn't get harassed by insects. Well, mine did. The leaves got whittled down to mere veins every summer, and it just didn't thrive. So, two years ago I dug up (what I thought was) the entire plant and replaced it with a columbine. I must have left some roots behind because that summer the horseradish grew up through the columbine. Still got attacked by bugs, but at least I know the plant is a survivor, bugs or no. Good luck!

bspinner said...

How's my garden going? Just peaking out from under the snow. I have to admit yesterday sure did feel and smell like spring.

Benita said...

How is my garden coming along? I'm still looking at seed catalogs. We don't get to plant here until April at the earliest, so I have plenty of time.

I envy you the longer growing season. And the strawberries!!!

Leigh said...

Julie, you're right, that's too early for garden think in your part of the country. I feel fortunate to live in a part of the country where we have a long growing season, but I have to admit it kinda sneaks up on me.

Sue, well, we've got snow and rain forecast for Wednesday.

I learned quite a bit about horseradish while I researched it. It's considered a root vegetable and we use it both in sauce, and in our Supertonic recipe.

Katrien, I agree! The disappointing thing is that we're supposed to pick off all the flowers this year to allow the plants to get established. That means no berries until next year. :(

Deep End, green peppers started! Good for you. You have an even longer growing season than I do, you lucky thing.

Nina, it's tempting to push it, isn't it? I need to wait to start my tomatoes and peppers, but I'm anxious. Maybe someday, a heated greenhouse(?)

Renee, let me know about those carrots! Fingers crossed they're okay. If you learn how to do the hotboxes, do let us know!

Jo, I read that and your experience confirms it. Funny how something can repel one type of bug but be victim to another. I'm really hoping that doesn't happen.

Barb, don't you love those first whiffs of spring? I enjoyed my planting day, but am reminded today that we still have at least a month more of winter and could easily get more ice and snow. I admit I'm ready for warm days again.

Benita, well, you're still under quite a bit of snow, eh? Still, looking at seed catalogues is a very important part of gardening!

Robin said...

I'm putting off planting for a while. A couple of times while I have been out in the garden cleaning up I have seen the dreaded Spotted Cucumber Beetle. DOH! I am going to let the chickens take over in the garden and delay trying to grow anything. I can't believe that the little pests are starting to show up already as there is nothing in the garden but garlic right now.

Anonymous said...

I meant to ask you, when the chicks are old enough, are you going to let them free range? Ours do, and since this is the first year we have them, I'm still learning. And I guess I'm learning the hard way- I'm going to have to come up with a fence of some sort to surround my garden to keep the chickens out. Do you have something planned to keep them out? Let me know- I might need to steal your idea!!!

Leigh said...

Robin, I can't believe you've got cuke beetles already. What a discouraging way to start the season. I'm hoping our extended below freezing days have killed off a lot of our pests. But go chickens! I like your coop on sled runners that Lee made. It will be perfect for locating the chickens as needed. We may eventually do something like that.

WFN, yes, I do plan to free range them eventually. Like you, I'm on a learn as I go chicken plan. We do have a fenced in chicken yard, where they'll be allowed once they're big enough to not need the heat lamp. And we're going to make a chicken gate, to allow them into the back field where the goats will graze. No, goat fencing won't keep them contained, but I'm hoping that by directing them toward the back of the property (and away from the road and neighbors) that will become their habitual stomping ground. That may just be a pipe dream however, we'll see!

Kathy said...

My garden is under about 3 ft. of snow right now, Leigh. Just rub it in. :)
Every time I read an entry in your blogs, I can tell one thing - you're loving what you're doing.
Good onya, mate!

Woolly Bits said...

garden? what garden? oh,you mean that patch outside that's slowly covered with snow again?:))I received my seed order today - nice armchair gardening, but not much more yet. horseradish doesn't take over here, so I have it in the ground - but it does tend to grow large on top, so don't plant too close together! I love the taste, even though grating the fresh stuff makes me cry badly:)) when we visited a "factory" in germany years back, all the employees wore gas masks and the visitors received breathing guards and "glasses"! but the taste.....

Cynthia said...

My experience with little marvels is that they don't need trellising if you plant in broad swaths (square foot gardening style) but get a little floppy if you plant in single rows.

My uncle has been growing horseradish for decades, in rows in his main garden. Maybe the same row! I didn't realize it was perennial, since you dig up the roots.

Sharon said...

It's under snow. How come you aren't?! Not fair~

Leigh said...

Kathy, you are so right, we love what we're doing!

Bettina, I love armchair gardening. :)
Interesting about the horseradish factory. Actually, I wouldn't have chosen to get five roots, that's just what the order came with.

Cynthia, thanks for that on Little Marvels. Sounds like they support themselves with one another. I have them in rows, so I may put in a trellis anyway and then plant my cucumbers there once the peas are done.

Sharon, don't feel bad. We're supposed to get more snow today! Makes me glad I got out there and got some things planted when I could.

cyndy said...

Your garden looks wonderful! What a great crop of strawberries you have put in! I hope you don't have troubles with chipmunks...they are terrible hogs and eat all my strawberries ..and never leave any for me!

My garden is still sleeping under the snow...but it is time to start my seedlings in the "grow house".

Horseradish thrives in rich deep beds of moist soil...plant it near a drainage ditch and let it take over.

Oh, and my chickens won't eat a cucumber beetle. They do love to eat the japanese beetles and other types...just not any squash beetle.

Leigh said...

Cyndy, chipmunks? Oh yes, but my cat Rascal is on the job! Hopefully he'll keep them at bay.

Thanks for the info both the horseradish, chickens, and squash bugs. Helpful to know. I'm sure I'll learn a whole lot about chicken preferences this summer. :)