Once again, our temperatures have lurched from one direction to the other! From days cold enough for the furnace to turn on, and overnight lows below freezing, we’re back to the heat. It’s past 7:30pm as I write this, and our temperature is still at 24C/75F. A week from now, we’re expected to hit 31C/88F.
Well, by then we should be transplanting our squash seedlings, so that will be good for them, at least!
This morning’s job was to direct sow our bush beans. I am so glad we picked up that extra hose. The mini-beds we made for them needed to be soaked, re-soaked, then soaked again, before I even planted the seeds. I can’t believe how quickly things have dried out already, though I suppose with the winds we’ve been having, I shouldn’t be surprised. You can even see that the pea trellises have been moved around by the winds! I even found one end of a cross piece had come loose after one particularly windy days. The bags may work to startle critters, but they also act like sails.
The yellow and green bean packages had 200 seeds each. With a 20’/6m double row, we still had seeds left over. The purple beans were packed by weight, and a 50g package was just enough for its double row.
Once planted, they all got watered, and watered again! Normally, I would have pre-soaked the beads, but these were inoculated seeds, and I figure soaking them first would have washed off the inoculant!
After the beans were done, we set up the sprinkler to start soaking down the rows for the corn and sunflowers. We left it running over one side for a few hours, then moved it to cover the other end. Much to my surprise, the sprinkler can cover all but 3 rows. There isn’t a lot of pressure, this far out!
Our afternoon project was to see what we could do about protecting our spinach beds. After scrounging in a little shed near the barn, we dragged out the last of some narrow old, salvaged boards. Many of them had several 3″ deck screws in them that had to be removed, first. There were 13 boards, and we ended up using 12 of them, because they were not all the same length.
The roll of chicken wire (or 1″ hex wire) we got was 25′ (7.6m) long and 4′ (1.2m) wide. We have three spinach beds we need to cover. While the beds themselves are about 3-4′ (about a meter) wide and roughly 15′ (just over 4.5m) long, the rows of spinach were, of course, less than that. So we were able to use the roll to cover 2 spinach beds. Well, mostly.
We stole a couple of hoops from the small beet bed by the garlic beds to hold the wire up in the middle. The sides are held in place with sticks, that have a bit of mesh hooked onto their tops, so they are helping hold that up, too. Once we get more hoops, we’ll be able to stop using the sticks to hold up the mesh, which will allow us to move the covers to harvest the spinach.
The edges of the chicken wire were sandwiched between boards that were screwed together. Because of the different lengths, we had to cobble them together. A couple ended up with small gaps between the ends of boards, but they were still secure. The covers don’t really leave much room to do a second sowing, though, which we could do any time now, if we wanted. I think I will skip it, and save the seeds to sow later in the summer for a fall crop.
Like everything else we’re doing this year, this is a temporary thing, so we don’t need to get too fancy. When we build our permanent, high raised beds, we will make protective covers that fit properly, and be properly framed and supported. Right now, neither one completely covers the rows of spinach, so the ends might still get nibbled at, but it should be fine. If we want, we can tie on brightly colored or metallic ribbons to flap in the wind and discourage critters.
I’ll have to make a trip to the local dollar store again and see if they’ve restocked on things like pinwheels. I’ll pick up more hula hoops, too. I figure a couple more rolls of the chicken wire would not be a bad idea. I think we still have enough of that wood in the basement that we can make one more cover for the third spinach bed. For the small beet bed, I’m hoping the mosquito netting we ordered will come in soon, but if not, we can use chicken wire.
While in the city, I also picked up 200’/60.9m of yellow rope to string around where the corn and sunflowers will be planted. If what I read about deer not having good depth perception, so having two shorter fences a few feet apart works as well as a high fence, is accurate, we should be able to string just one “fence” of the yellow rope around half the garden, since it’s already so close to the barbed wire perimeter fence. Since most of the other half will be edged with squash, which deer don’t like, we might not need to do much more than that. We shall see!
Now that the blocks for the corn and sunflowers have been soaked down, tomorrow’s job is to plant the corn, with radishes in between to help break up the hard soil, and direct sow the rest of the sunflowers. The transplants are not done hardening off yet, and all our transplanting will wait until after June 2, regardless of what the weather forecasts are right now! The forecasts change so often, I don’t really trust them beyond a couple of days, and, even then, they are frequently wrong for our area.
Once the seeds are sown, we can finally get back to working on the squash tunnel!