What a busy week. I have been asking myself all week, “How did I ever do all this and hold down a full time job?”. Yard work,  burning brush, garden clean up, transplanting indoors, starting seeds out in the garden, harvesting mache and spinach, caring for my elderly mother, baby sitting my grand daughter, cooking for my busy wife. Never a dull moment. I’m not complaining. It’s all good. The pace will eventually slow down after Memorial Day Weekend.  At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Transplanting Tomatoes and Peppers

The tomatoes and peppers are showing their first real leaves and that means that they need to be transplanted to 4 packs. I make sure that each 4 pack is properly labeled, that soil is gently compacted around the seedling and that the soil level is almost level with the top of the 4 pack. I water from the bottom by placing the 4 pack in a tray with fertilized water. I then top off each cell in the 4 pack with vermiculite to reduce the  possibility of the seedlings developing “damping off disease”.  I will place
a fan beside the plant stand to create some air flow to further reduce the
chances of developing “damping off disease”.

SEEDLINGS IN WATERBATH

SEEDLINGS IN WATERBATH

SEEDLINGS  TOPPED OFF WITH LAYER OF VERMICULITE

SEEDLINGS TOPPED OFF WITH LAYER OF VERMICULITE

 

Starting Root Crop Seeds in the Garden

This has also been a big week for seed starting in the garden, especially
for root crops like radishes, beets, scallions and carrots. I planted two four foot long rows of radishes, one each of “French Breakfast” and “Crunchy Royale”. I then covered the two rows with a mini tunnel I built with strapping, chicken wire and fabric row cover to protect against root maggots. Nature has a way of making life difficult. One must be vigilant and inventive. For more info and some photos, please check out my blog post “How to Beat Root Maggots on Radishes and Beets” from my October 2014 archive. I planted my radish seeds at 2″ intervals with the rows
spaced 8″ apart.

Three rows of beets were planted with the same spacing as the radishes. I planted two varieties, “Red Ace” and “Touchstone Gold”. Watering every day until seedlings emerge is very important.

Planting the Carrot Box

In order to grow straight and attractive carrots it is helpful to have
deeply cultivated soil that has a high content of organic matter with some sand. Toward that end, I use a couple of 4″ high frames that I made out of old pallets. I set them in the garden, fill them with compost, sand and some lime; and then use my little one horse tiller to mix all of the ingredients together. After smoothing out the soil with a rake, I plant seeds 1″ apart in rows 8″ apart.

Over the years, I have been trying to garden smarter. One change that I have made for the better is using pelleted carrot seeds. They are much easier to handle, easier to see in the furrow and thus, completely repay their higher cost over conventional seed. Yeah, I’m done with conventional carrot seeds.

HERE'S THE CARROT BOX SHOWING  MY PLANTING BOARD FOR MAKING THE SHALLOW FURROW, MY TRUSTY SHEET ROCK SQUARE FOR HANDY SPACING AND MY MASON'S TROWEL FOR COVERING THE ROWS,  AND SMOOTHING THINGS OUT.

HERE’S THE CARROT BOX SHOWING MY PLANTING BOARD FOR MAKING THE SHALLOW FURROW, MY TRUSTY SHEET ROCK SQUARE FOR HANDY SPACING AND MY MASON’S TROWEL FOR COVERING THE ROWS, AND SMOOTHING THINGS OUT.

In addition to all of the above, I started more lettuce seeds indoors in 3/4″ soil blocks. I try to start new greens every three weeks into mid-Fall. Gotta have a steady supply of greens. I also added another planting of peas to the garden, planted some shallots, moved some lettuce, kale and broccoli seedlings out to the garden, and cleaned up a couple of other beds. All in all, a very satisfying week in the garden.

All the best,
Greg Garnache
gcgarnache@gmail.com

QUESTION: Does anyone have an easy technique for prepping shallot cloves? I’m not quite getting it. Thanks in advance.