Well, it was time to throw in the towel on some of our seed starts.
The bunching onions in the small fish tank never recovered from the cats being able to get at them, there were mold issues, and watering problems. At least with those, we still had seeds left and could start more.
The shallots (in the background, out of focus) are another loss.
This is one of the potential problems of using whatever was on hand. We started them in the cardboard egg cartons, but had no way to put a tray of any kind under them, where we could water them from below. Even though we did take them out and give them a thorough watering from below, it wasn’t enough. I regularly sprayed them with water, trying to get the cartons themselves wetter, but again, it wasn’t enough. The shallots are a complete loss, and I have no more seeds to try again. So we’ll be down from four types of onions to three. 😦 Unless I find and buy sets later on.
In the future, I would not use the cardboard egg cartons to start seeds in again, unless I were able to keep them in a tray of some kind, and keep the cardboard wet all the time. In spite or watering them every evening, when I pulled them out of their makeshift greenhouses this morning, they were pretty much bone dry. So, they went into the compost heap this morning. 😦
The little tank is now empty, and the tomatoes and bunching onions have been shifted around in the big tank. We are seeing more and more seedlings pop up, though there are still a couple of cups that have no seedlings at all. We’re not after a lot of tomato plants, but I am hoping for more of the Red Baron onion seeds to germinate. At least the bulb onions seem to be doing all right. From what I’ve read, I should be trimming them a few inches, about now.
Yesterday, I picked up some Jiffy pots. I’ve been looking things up about growing luffas, which have a very long growing season to reach that sponge stage I’m after. I’ve decided I will start a few seeds of those in the next few days, and set them up in the little tank. With the screen I found in one of the sheds as a “lid”, we’ve solved the cat problem, so I can raise the level closer to the light, too. From what I’ve been reading/watching, luffa doesn’t like to be transplanted (more so than other gourd types), so using pots which can be buried should help reduce transplant stress. With the size the pots are, I should be able to still double cup them with the red solo cups, which would allow me to water them from below.
So that’s a goal for the next few days, and I will also be preparing to start the other seeds that need to be starting in April.
Meanwhile, as I do my morning rounds, I’ve been studying the different areas we intend to garden in this year.
This strip has never had a garden in it. You can see where the ground starts to get rough on the left, where the old garden started. That rough part is from the crappy plow job that was done before we moved here.
This stretch will have alternating blocks of three varieties of Peaches ‘n Cream corn and two varieties of sunflowers.
In years where we had more snow, where I’m standing to take this picture had a large puddle of water from melted snow. This year, there is only that whitish patch you can see on the left foreground. That’s ice from the small amount of water accumulated this spring. This is something to keep in mind when we are planting food trees here, as we don’t want saplings being drowned out in the spring. So part of our goal when growing here is leveling things out a bit more.
The further out we go, however, the drier it gets. By the time we reach the corner, past the low hanging spruce branches I will have to prune away, it’s very dry. Weeds and grass barely grow there. Which means that, when we have corn growing there, we are going to have to find ways to keep them well watered. This entire area is going to be a challenge to water, simply because it’s so far from the house.
This time of the morning is the only time this area is in shade. It gets full sun for most of the day, and also gets incredibly hot. To the left of where the corn and sunflowers will be planted is where we will be having beds of melons and gourds. They’ll get the heat they need (especially if we have summer like last year!). We just have to make sure they get the water they’ll need. The winter squash will also be more on this side, while the summer squash will be planted closer to the house, where they will be closer for continual harvesting over the summer.
We’re also going to have to work on keeping the deer out. There are a number of options we can try. If we make use of several of them together, it should work out.
The fence line the trees on the right are hiding is pretty much toast. New posts had been put in along the spruce grove, which I’m guessing my late brother did, but he never got to finish the job. The remaining stretch of fence has rotting fence posts, some of which are held up by nothing but the barbed wire. My late brother had a soil auger attachment for the Bobcat, and we still have the post pounder he built, but the Bobcat and its accessories are with our vandal now, and the post pounder had been sitting, exposed to the elements and covered in junk, for so many years, there’s lichen growing on the belts. So if we’re going to be putting in new fence posts, we’re going to have to do it the old fashioned way. I’ve found a couple of post hole diggers that we can try out. One of them is a very different design, and I’m curious as to how it would be used.
Meanwhile, that entire strip along the West fence line needs to be cleaned up. I might have to take the remains of the fence out entirely. The North fence line, which runs behind the lilac hedge, is in even worse shape, but at least the lilacs are there to provide some privacy and a bit of security. Once the strip along the West fence line is cleared out, it’ll be pretty open.
It would be nice to not need a fence there at all.
Since these fences mark the property lines at the roads, these are areas where we can consider putting in something very permanent for fencing. Something along the lines of a hedgerow, perhaps, or a “palisade” type of wall that would give both privacy, and keep the deer out! The corner at the far end is one of the places they regularly jump the fence (well… what’s left of the fence…). The road on the North side is very busy (as such things are in this area), and in the summer, a LOT of dust gets kicked up. On a windless day, it just hangs in the air like a fog, slowly drifting across the property, for a surprisingly long time. The lilac hedge helps keep that out of the garden area quite a bit, so that’s another thing to keep in mind as we work on the area. Dust control!
When it comes to gardening in this area, it’s all temporary. If things go well, it’ll just be for one year, and then next year, we’ll be able to start planting food trees here, while permanent garden beds get placed to the south of the house. The area we intend for permanent beds is very rough, though. It might be easiest to clear it as much as we can, then get someone in to plow and smooth it out as much as possible. We’ll be building accessible raised beds there, so it’s the leveling that’s more important to our needs. It would be good if we could get the old farm equipment moved, and the collapsing building dismantled and cleared away, but that might be just too much for this year!
We’ve got a lot of work to get done! Last year, with first the heavy rains, then the excessive heat, we didn’t get anywhere near as much done as I wanted. Hopefully, this summer will be not be as extreme.
So much of what we want to do depends on the weather!