Today is supposed to get quite hot. At 6am, it was already 20C/68F, according to my phone’s app. (As I write this, it now says it’s 24C/75F out there, and it’s only just past 8:30am.) So the girls and I headed out to see what we could do to about covering the beds in the main garden area.
Not much left of that straw bale! 😀
The old sheets went on the shorter beds with hoops. We didn’t try to cover the ends, so there would still be air circulation. As for the longer beds, we went with the mosquito netting. It won’t really provide shade, but it’s more a protection from hard rain or hail.
The predictions for thunderstorms are all over the place. Yesterday, they were saying we might have thunderstorms and hail today. Now I’ve got one app telling me to watch for thunderstorms tomorrow evening, while another says to expect thunderstorms on Friday – almost a week from now! A third app on my desktop has simply stopped connecting for some reason, but if I go to the website, it’s saying to watch for severe thunderstorms overnight, with tornado warnings for the south end of our province. !!! Also, the expected high of 31C/88F is now up to 35C/05F/.
While we were outside, however, it didn’t feel that hot. The thermometer on the bean tunnel read about 15C/59F while my app was still saying 20C/68F. The breeze certainly helped, but it is very humid, so we were sweating off our bug spray in no time! Still, the raised beds got a watering before we put the covers on, to help keep them cooler. The ground is still so wet, any ground level beds don’t need water. Especially anything mulched with straw.
With today predicted to be very hot, the girls and I headed out much earlier than usual. Normally, they do the evening stuff while I do the morning stuff, but this was a big job, and I wanted to get it done before the heat hit.
The big squash patch is now completely mulched. I’m glad I put all those sticks in! All the squash started at 4 weeks before last frost date are all still so tiny. The mulch will also help to protect them from any heavy rains and storms we may get.
The other squash patch, with the corn and beans in between, also got a layer of mulch.
Last of all, the hulless pumpkins next to the bean tunnel got a layer, too.
I brought out the old sheets we were using as shade cloth last year, and one of my daughters helped me set them up over two of the beds with spinach in them. It felt odd to put up shade cloth when it’s so overcast.
I’m trying to think of what we can use to put over some of the other beds, to protect them from heavy rains and possible hail. The netting we have might keep critters out, but the mesh is too large to protect from heavy rains or hail. Last year’s row covers that fell apart when we moved them has old window screen mesh on one of them, but it’s too narrow to use without more support than the twine we’ve got now. I’m thinking of the mosquito netting we used as row covers might work. We only need to cover the tops of the beds enough to protect from heavy rain, while still letting water through. I’m not too keen on using the mosquito netting, as it sheds long strands from the cut sides, and I’m still finding them among the weeds in the old kitchen garden. Those strands don’t break easily, and are something small critters could get caught up in. The best thing would be to hem up the cut edges, but that wouldn’t be done until we have them in the sizes we want.
We’re getting all these predictions for high temperatures and advisories for heat, but… it’s almost cool out there. We’re also getting storm warnings that are all over the place. One minute, the storms are expected on Tuesday. Then Sunday (tomorrow). Then tonight. Then not at all. Then Monday.
I am, however, hearing thunder as I write this, and I can see from the trees out my window, that the winds are picking up.
My dropped the idea of getting more weed trimming done today. The necessary areas are already done; anything else is just bonus at this point. The ground is almost dry enough to mow in places, but that’s not going to happen either.
Well, we got the main thing done. The squash patches are now mulched.
I was hoping we wouldn’t get a lot of wind, but it was gusting pretty wildly when I came out to check on the garden beds.
The cardboard did not get as saturated as I’d hoped, but it also didn’t get blown away as badly as I’d feared it might.
The cover on the high raised bed, on the other hand, was all over the place.
I fought with it for a while, using bricks to try and weigh down the edges, and the pieces of garden hose we cut last year as crimps on the hoops. The main problem was how high the hoops were. Ideally, I would have just laid the plastic flat across the top, but I have no way to fasten it down right now.
I did push the hoops deeper into the soil, but they are right along the walls, and the lower logs are thicker than the top ones, so I kept hitting the wood and having to adjust. There wasn’t a lot of wiggle room to avoid the onions.
Thankfully, onions are very hardy.
By the time I finished mulching, though, I just took the plastic off.
The only reason the plastic was being added was in case it snowed (I did actually see some flakes!), but by then, the temperature had risen enough that it wasn’t an issue.
Gathering up and folding that sheet of plastic was interesting. I usually try to use the wind itself to help, which usually works well, but not this morning! The wind kept coming from all directions, and I found myself as likely to suddenly have plastic wrapped around me as having the wind blow it straight out.
The future potato bed now has a nice, deep mulch at least a foot deep. I had wanted to chop the straw first with the shredder chute on the wood chipper, but there’s no way to get the chipper out there through the mud and water.
The straw bale has been left exposed to the elements all winter. Layers of it were sloughing down and, as you can see, it’s wet and starting to decompose. Which is exactly what I want for mulching. Straw takes quite a while to decompose, which is the main reason we wanted to put it through the shredder, first. The wet straw is also not going to blow away. Normally, after laying the straw down, we’d be taking a hose to it, but between how wet it already is, and the rain, it should be pretty moist.
Well, crud. I just looked at the weather forecast, and it’s changed again. We might get rain with snow again this evening! We’re supposed to hit 0C/32F overnight, with the wind chill making it feel like -4C/25F. Then more light rain tomorrow. I guess we should cover the !#$%!$# high raised bed again.
Except the sun isn’t shining, and we’re raining again, but I did get to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity.
This morning was mild enough that I was able to get our transplants outside to harden off. I also took advantage of the lack of rain to work on the old kitchen garden some more, trying to get as many roots as I could out of the L shaped bed, then in a couple of tiny little plots we may or may not plant in. In one of them, I noticed asparagus coming up! There’s just the one plant there, but I knew there were more on the opposite side of the garden, so I went looking. Sure enough, there were some spears coming up there, too. These are asparagus that have been there since before my parents bought the property, in the early 1950’s! I weeded around them as best I could, then checked under the straw much of the purple asparagus bed we planted last year. Still nothing there, that I could see.
After the transplants were brought back indoors, I started to settle in with “breakfast” (it was past noon. LOL) and check my computer, when I got a message telling me about someone who was offering up some carboard for mulch. There is a food waste reduction program that collects food that cannot be sold for human consumption for one reason or another, and distributes it to people to feed to their animals, thereby keeping it out of the landfills. Much of this is in cardboard boxes, which can pile up pretty fast! I was able to get in touch with this person and, before I knew it, I was heading out to pick up some cardboard!
That muddy spot on the road near our intersection is getting worse. With the upcoming expected rain, I’m not sure we’ll be able to get through for much longer. We shall see.
The person I met up with was absolutely awesome, and we ended up chatting for quite a while about the things they’re doing on their farm. I was really interested to see some of their fencing; particularly their buck and pole fence. No post holes required! That would be ideal for the temporary fencing we want to make. I just showed the girls pictures and talked about it, and they thought it was a good style of fencing to use, too. Over the next while, as we work on cleaning up dead trees and collapsed sheds, we’ll set aside the materials we’ll need to make them.
The town I went to, to pick up the cardboard, is a town I’ve never been to before. One of many places we drive past on the highway, see the signs and think “gee, we ought to go there one of these days”, and never manage it! While there, I drove past an antique store and flea market that happened to be open today (they are open only 3 days a week), so I had to stop by on the way home.
One of my favourite things about visiting antique stores is seeing all the stuff that I grew up using. Like this.
We used a saw like this to cut our firewood. We had an old tractor with a wheel on it that the belt attached to, to power the saw. That thing made short work of a big job!
There were so many things in there that I either used as a child, or that we have here at the farm, including a couple of pink glass antique oil lamps, like one we’ve had here at the farm for as long as I can remember. It’s still tucked away in a storage space near the ceiling in the kitchen, though we’ve had to block it off to keep the cats out of it. Ours is missing the chimney, though. I asked about it, and was told they are VERY hard to come by. They are a very different size and shape. There were a lot of other really awesome things there. I definitely want to come back with the girls.
Once at home, I backed the van up near the garden – unfortunately tearing up some of the lawn in the process, because parts of it are so muddy! At first, we were thinking of leaving the van there,, with the cardboard stored inside, but I knew it was going to start raining soon. So, while the girls started supper, I went ahead and started going through the boxes to take off any pieces of tape or labels that would come off.
I was able to set up the rolling seat and a garbage bag under the lift gate, and mostly stayed out of the rain once it started. 😀
Yeesh. Laying that black tarp down really doesn’t do much to kill off the grass and weeds. Normally, I would have taken the weed trimmer to the ground, first, not our weed trimmer is corded. This far from the outlet on the house, I’d have had to use at least a couple of cords, and there’s a puddle of water in the way. Not going to happen! The tarp I took off is now pegged down on top of the second tarp. The two of them together will do a better job in killing off the grass, until we can start laying cardboard down under there, too.
I was able to lay down such a nice, thick layer of cardboard! When we were laying cardboard down under previous beds last year, we had to be rather parsimonious about it, because we just didn’t have all that much cardboard. It was better than nothing, but not enough to make a really good weed barrier. Some of these boxes are made out of a really thick cardboard, and I was able to overlap the edges really well, too.
It has been left like this to be rained on. Normally, we’d be taking a hose to it, to saturate the cardboard before laying the straw on it. It can take a really long time for the cardboard to get wet all the way through. It would take even longer, with such thick cardboard and so many layers. These boxes had been stored outside, though, so some of them were already damp, which helps.
This is all the cardboard that’s left!
I’ve already been offered more, if I want it. Which I will happily accept! We’re still supposed to get rain all night, with a mix of rain and snow by tomorrow morning. At least now the forecasters are saying the rain will stop tomorrow morning, and we aren’t expected to get more for the next 5 days. That should give the road enough time to dry up and be more accessible, I hope. The municipality might even have a chance to fix it before we get another expected 4 days of rain! At least it’ll be warmer by then, and we won’t have to worry about snow.
Speaking of which…
The high raised bed now has its plastic cover, to hopefully keep things a bit warmer if it snows. Both the onions and spinach under there should be able to handle the cooler temperatures, but I’d rather give them what protection I can.
After taking the picture, I noticed the plastic already has a hole in it! It’s a pretty thin plastic. Or perhaps the hole was already there, right off the roll. This was the last of a roll, so the very end of it was a bit mashed up.
This should be the only time we’ll want to cover the high raised bed with plastic. After this, if we ever need to cover it again, it’ll be with netting or something like that, to keep the critters or the insects out.
As you can see in the back on the left, the garlic here is doing really well! The other two beds are still barely showing, and very few of them. I’m starting to wonder if I’d planted them too deep or something, though these ones were planted at the same depth, so… I don’t know. We’ll see how they do as things warm up.
This was not the only step ahead we got in our garden and growing plans. While I was out, my daughter started digging holes for planting trees in. Holes that are now half full of water, but that’s to be expected right now. Hopefully, that won’t be an issue once the trees actually get here and we start transplanting them.
I’m so glad I was able to head out to get this cardboard today! Having a flexible schedule, and the girls to take care of things while I’m gone, is something I really appreciate. That and people like Wolfsong, who let me know about the cardboard being offered up. Thank you so much! You’re awesome!
Early this evening, the rain finally stopped, the sun came out, and the temperature warmed up several degrees higher than forecast. We took advantage of the break and quickly put the transplants outside to harden off for a couple of hours. Normally, I would have added an extra hour, but it was getting too late in the day for that. (I’m trying something different again with my photos; please let me know if you have any problems viewing them.)
There is SO much water all over the yard. Even areas that don’t seem to have puddles in them have standing water, hidden by whatever green growth is managing to emerge.
One of the things I wanted to get done was reinforce the hoops on the high raised bed. The problem was, I didn’t have anything long enough. So I made do.
We have some bamboo stakes that are getting pretty old and fragile, including some broken ones, so I was able to tie one full length one together with a shorter one, then attached it to the hoops. It’s now ready to have some plastic put over it, tomorrow evening, before the temperatures drop low enough for possible snow.
I also had a chance to clean up one side of last year’s squash tunnel. We’d only managed to do the other side in the fall, before the snow arrived. This year, we will be planting pole beans to climb the tunnel.
Here we’ve marked the future sea buckthorn locations. You can see the gaps in the lilac hedge, where the deer are getting through. It’ll take a few years, but the sea buckthorn should fill that in nicely.
Here, where the corn and sunflower beds were last year, we’ve marked where the silver bison berry will go. (At some point, we’ll even take out the old sunflower stems the deer didn’t finish off. :-D) Each will be about 3 feet apart in their rows. We are still debating how far apart to make the rows – certainly not the 16 feet recommended! We were thinking 4 ft apart at first, but might go with 5 feet apart. We also changed our minds about the 2 highbush cranberry, and will be adding those to the far end of the the bison berry. One of the reasons these are being planted here is for a privacy screen, which will eventually extend as far as the row of crab apple trees. The saw horse you can see in the distance is next to the last one of them in the row. The cranberry bushes will help extend the privacy screen a bit, and we will plant other things over the next few years to keep extending it.
The branch pile in the distance is completely surrounded by water right now.
Where I’m standing to take the above photo is roughly where the phone line is buried, so we will be leaving an open lane, wide enough for a large vehicle or heavy equipment to drive through, as we plant more trees and shrubs.
As the berry bushes we plant fill out and start creating that privacy screen we want, we’ll start doing more to clean up the fence line, which is in serious need of repair. It has trees growing on either side of it, some of which will be taken out completely, while others will have their lower branches pruned back. There are a few dead trees in there, too. In one area, there are wild Saskatoon bushes. I want to clean up around them so that they are not as crowded, and have better growing conditions.
Gosh, it felt so good to be able to get at least a couple of hours of work done outside! I’m just loving being able to finally do some decent manual labour again!
As much as I love all the rain we’ve been having, I was happy to have a mild, sunny day to get some work done outside. I finally got around to tending the big L shaped beet bed in the old kitchen garden.
This bed has had almost no tending, since we put the floating row cover on it to keep the critters out. This is how the two sides looked before I started.
Here is how it looked after a good, solid weeding!
There actually wasn’t a lot of weeds in there. After fighting my way through all the beet greens, following strands of weeds to their bottoms so I could pull them out by the roots, I found that there wasn’t much to pull out. The beets were actually choking out the weeds! Most of them were long and leggy and spread out, trying to reach the light, so when I pulled something out by the roots, I found I was removing quite a lot more plant than expected. The exception were all the sprouting Chinese Elms. It’s remarkable how deep and solid the roots are for a sapling that’s just a couple of inches high.
The beets themselves did not need any thinning, though I did accidentally pull a few out with the weeds. I wasn’t seeing a lot of beet roots developing, though. Hopefully, all the rain we’ve been having will result in a growth spurt!
When it came time ot put the netting back on, I took advantage of the big package of tent pegs I found in the garage. The sides of the netting was pulled tight and snug to the ground, so nothing can casually push its way under the netting. No more rocks and bricks to try and keep it down. For the ends, I wrapped the netting around boards, then weighted those down. There is lots of slack in the netting for the leaves to grow, though I don’t expect them to get much taller than they are now.
That done, I worked on the carrot bed next. One of the inner hoops had come down, the doweling holding it in place breaking off completely. Another was well on its way down, too.
Which made for a good time to tend the carrots, too.
There are two types of carrots in this bed, and these ones have been going to seed. Carrots do to see in their second year, so it seems the grounhogs eating their greens has fooled the carrots into thinking they are in their second year.
Carrots gone to see do not produce much of a root!
These carrots got weeded, but did not need any thinning. The other variety did need thinning.
Check these out!!! This is a variety from Baker Creek called Lounge Rouge Sang.
The two orange ones at the top of from the other carrots that had gone to seed, but had enough root that I wanted to keep them.
I checked my records, and those are supposed to be the Deep Purple carrots, from Veseys!
Here you can see what the Longue Rouge Sang carrots should look like, when fully mature. I just love the colours in them, and am happy to see that even the little carrots that got thinned out are showing them.
I’m so excited to see carrots! After the groundhog devastation, I really didn’t know if they would recover enough for us to have any at all. It’s a shame we couldn’t cover the larger carrot bed in the main garden area, too!
Once the bed was cleaned up, and I found new sticks to use to hold the PVC pipe hoops in place, the sides were pegged down tighter to the ground. The only places I used rocks to weigh the netting down was at a couple of corners, where there was excess netting to gather.
I still don’t know what the big green thing in the middle of the bed is. I had hoped it was the White Vienna kohlrabi that was planted there, but I not longer think that’s what they are. I’ve seen them pop up in a few other places, too. They don’t look like a weed, is about all I can say! I’m leaving them, just to hopefully see what they are. I’ve also left quite a bit of the mint that has been making it’s way through. In time, I hope to transplant them somewhere contained. For now, I just try to keep it under control so it won’t take over the garden – and we will still have at least a bit of mint to harvest if we want! 🙂
There is still one more bed of beets by the retaining wall, covered in netting, that needs to be cleaned up, but that will have to wait for another day.
While in the city for our monthly shop, I picked up four short, slightly flexible, lengths of PVC pipe. Today, I finally made use of them.
Since we covered various beds with the mosquito netting as floating row covers, they have not been eaten by critters. In the old kitchen garden, that means our carrots are actually recovering. The bed they are in is wider than the nearby beet beds, though, so they don’t have as much slack in the netting. What I’m still not sure is kohlrabi or not is getting pretty big, and the leaves are being bent over. Even the carrot tops were showing yellow, where they touched the fabric along the edges, where it’s weighed down with rocks and whatever else we could find.
I got the pipe to hold the netting up, but was stuck on what to use to hold the pipe in place that could handle the tension caused by curving the pipe. We’d done something like this with the hula hoops, but those are a lot thinner than the PVC pipe.
Normally, I would have used something strong and inflexible, like steel rods or rebar. I went looking around in the garage for something, without luck.
What I did find, though, was a bag full of cheap tent pegs.
That would be useful!
I also found one of the small flags we had at the fence line near the gate. The flags are getting quite torn up and need to be replaced, but I haven’t found the same time of flag this year. The doweling the flag is attached to fits perfectly in the pipe. All the flags still on the fence are torn up by the wind and needed to come down, as did the strings of Christmas lights we had running along the fence. The strings of lights need to be replaced. So I headed out to take down the lights and the flags, then used the wooden doweling from the flags as supports for the pipe.
Metal would have been preferred; I couple of them cracked while I was bending the lengths of pipe to fit over them. Still, they are holding! And the pipe is strong enough to stay in place.
The mosquito netting just barely fits across the bed, but those tent pegs I found were put to good use, taking the edges down. Wood and rocks that were used to weight down the edges before we put back, so help hold down any gaps between the beds.
I’m really happy with how this turned out. It a lot more solid than our first experiment with this. And now my carrots have room to grow!
When we planted for a fall harvest, we did as much as we could to make row covers to protect our seedlings. We had enough materials for only two chicken wire covers, then made do with other materials for the third bed.
We rigged what we could to protect the last bed, but the grasshoppers really did a number on the seedlings. I ended up using old water bottles with their bottoms cut off to protect the remaining bits of seedlings, hoping they would recover. As you can see by the green in some of the bottles, there has been growth!
They can’t stay under the bottles, though, as they need wind and air to be strong. However, if we just took off the bottles, they’d only get eaten by critters.
The bed nearby was pretty much wiped out by the grasshoppers.
Even though the ends of the covers were open, the critters didn’t seem to want to go under them, but there is no such barrier for the grasshoppers!
The third bed is doing a bit better. The radishes may have lots of damage to them, but they’re the biggest ones we’ve got right now. The only surviving chard is in this bed, too.
Since the middle bed was the most damaged, I decided to modify the cover and move it to another bed. In cleaning up the new part basement, we found a roll of window screen. I’d used some of it to make covers for the rain barrles, but there was still quite a bit left.
The cover is wider than the mesh. One length of it was enough to cover most of the chicken wire, but after cutting the remaining mesh in half and adding it, I was left with a small gap.
The edges of the screen were stapled to the wood frame, including enough to cover the ends. I tided down the mesh to the chicken wire just enough to keep it from moving.
A dear friend had sent us a couple of those mesh curtains that are meant to go over doors. The idea being, the mesh would keep the bugs out, but still allow wind in. They are tacked to the door frame, and the middle is held closed with magnets. The hope was that we could set them up in the old basement door, to keep the cats from going in there, but they could just push their way through the magnets. 😦
One of the panels was perfect to cover the gap.
The outer edge is stapled to the frame. The fabric is reinforced there, since it’s supposed to be tacked onto a door frame, so there is no damage there. Amazingly, the magnets are holding to the chicken wire enough to keep it one!
Once it was ready, it was time to set up the garden bed.
Even covered by water bottles, there was still grasshopper damage!! Some had never recovered from being eaten, at all. While removing the bottles, the soil wanted to stick to the them, too, and that quite nearly pulled up several of the plants. 😦
After making sure those that had been disturbed had soil pressed in for supper, it was time to add the new cover.
I’m quite happy with this.
It will be worthwhile to get more window screen mesh!
Since the ends are covered with window screen, it made it easier to add the shade cloth.
The surviving seedlings in the now-uncovered bed to things much bigger than little water bottles to protect them. The grasshoppers can still get in, but it’s still better than nothing.
Then all the beds got their shade cloths to protect them from the heat of the day.
When we make our permanent raised beds, they will be shorter. I actually like the length of these – they’re about 15 feet long – but it makes the protective covers awkward to handle, and we just didn’t have the materials to make them the same length. The covers are only about 13 feet long. I’m thinking 10 feet will work better, but we shall see when the time comes.
Until we can get the materials to build them, it’s a moot point, anyhow!
Whatever we end up with, having window screen mesh on a frame to keep the insects out seems to be more practical than the mosquito netting we’re using as floating row covers.
Today, I was able to find a piece of wood of the right size to put end caps on the second chicken wire row cover. When I headed out to start working on it this evening, I discovered…
… that little woodchuck is a determined little bugger!
Over the next while, I made sure to make lots of noise as I went past the stairs to make sure that, if the woodchuck were in there, it would run off.
My daughters told me earlier that they’d seen the littlest woodchuck in the birth bath, drinking water. At least it was just the little one. The big one would have knocked the bird bath right off its pedestal!
One of the things I was thinking of while adding the end pieces to the row cover, was how to support the chicken wire. I no longer had any hula hoop pieces, like I used in the last one. I thought I might be able to use some old hose pieces, so I went to the pile of junk and odd bits and pieces by the old garden shed. I had left a damaged hose there, and used pieces of it to hold the mosquito netting onto the hula hoops when we had that rigged up as a cover over one of the spinach beds. When I looked at the hose, though, it was so floppy from the heat, that I could see it would never be able to hold up the wire mesh.
… among the miscellaneous bits and pieces, I noticed some wire that looked pliable enough to bend into a curve, yet stiff enough to hold up the chicken wire. I was able to cut three lengths that I could weave through the chicken wire, and was able to push the ends in between the boards the chicken wire was held by. It did the job really well!
With the heatwave returning, I am thinking to sacrifice some old sheets to use as shade cloths, draped over these frames. The problem is, there is still one more newly planted bed, and I am out of the materials needed to made another row cover like these. We are going to have to figure something out! We finally have the radishes, kohlrabi and kale sprouting, along with the chard. I’d like for them to actually survive!
After this was done, I banged around the concrete steps for a while and, once sure that there was no critter under there, brought over some bigger rocks and broken pieces of bricks to fill the hole in again. Hopefully, these are big enough and heavy enough that it won’t be able to dig through again.
I was just about to head back inside while the girls were getting ready to do the evening watering, when I had a very happy surprise.
My husband actually felt well enough to walk around outside! He got a tour of most of the garden beds, and even felt well enough to walk to squash tunnel. He didn’t use his walker – it may be a heavy duty walker, but even it can’t handled the rough ground out there – and he didn’t even use a cane! Granted, it was slow going, and walking over those old plow furrows took extra care, but he did it! Gosh, I can’t remember the last time he felt well enough to go outside, without needing to go to a medical appointment or something. I’m so happy! 🙂
Before I headed out to do my morning rounds, we had already hit 25C/77F. By the time I was done, it was already 30C/86F! Thankfully, there was still a breeze and some shade, so it didn’t feel too bad.
I made a couple of discoveries in the garden this morning, but before I get to those, I’ll back track to yesterday evening.
I used the cut off strip of mosquito netting left over from covering our lettuces and beets, some dollar store hula hoops, and lengths of old hose to cover part of the third spinach bed. This is just until we can make a wire mesh cover for it. I also took the trail cam from the tulips and moved it to overlook most of the garden. The only critter I saw in the files this morning was Nutmeg. 😀
After setting the netting up, I moved on to the far beds and blocks to water them. The water in the rain barrel is usually cool, but it was quite warm by the end of yesterday’s heat! On the plus side, it meant being able to use the watering can instead of the hose, and not shocking everything with cold well water, for almost everything. As the water level dropped below half, I started to refill it while still using the watering can, so it would be just cooler water instead of having to switch to the cold hose to finish watering.
I had company.
Rolando Moon has a thing about drinking from puddles! Once the water was absorbed by the soil, she decided to roll on the damp soil, then just hung out. I guess it’s nice and cool. At least she tended to stay in the middle, which is more of a trench for water, as the beans are planted on the sides. No beans are coming up yet.
Nutmeg was also hanging around. I caught him lying across some pea plants, chewing on the trellis twine! The little bugger! 😀
When I checked everything this morning, things were still damp and didn’t need to be watered, but I also spotted a whole lot of these…
The radishes are sprouting! The one in the photo is of the daikon type radishes, but I was seeing sprouts for the watermelon radishes in all the rows they were planted in, too. I was aware that radishes sprout quickly, but I’ve never grown them before, so this was a very pleasant surprise. They most certainly were not there when I was watering last night. 🙂
Then I found another lovely sight.
The first potato leaves have emerged through their mulch! There are the purple fingerling potatoes. Sifting around in the mulch in the grow bags, I found other shoots coming through the soil, but these are the first ones to break through and leaf out. 🙂 I really look forward to seeing how these do in their grow bags.
We have a whole lot of squash transplants ready to go out, but I’m starting to rethink what to do with the summer squash. The plan was to make more beds like with the beans and peas. However, we have that long arc where we’d planted the sunflowers last year. In removing some of the old grass clipping mulch to use under some new beds, I couldn’t help but notice how much better the soil is, underneath. It’s still rocky, but we basically have a long row of soft soil, bordered by concrete hard soil. I’m thinking we should take advantage of this. It will need far less amending than starting new beds. I’m also planning to try staking the summer squash this year, but with our without stakes, deer don’t like those prickly squash plants, so it could act as a sort of fence for the rest.
I sorted through our transplants while hardening them off, and we have a lot of nice, strong melons. Between those and the winter squash, and the two types of gourds that successfully germinated, we might not actually have room for it all on the squash tunnel. So I’m thinking we can plant as much as we can fit of each type at the squash tunnel, then whatever is left over can be planted in other areas. Without trellising, these should spread out quite a bit over the ground, and we’ll be able to give them lots of space, and we would just need to haul soil over to make hills, rather than beds. This would allow us to compare how well they do, between left to grow on the ground, or up a trellis.
What I might end up doing is getting the Montana Morado corn done, first. They are doing very well, but will start outgrowing their cups soon. Since the toilet paper tube pots didn’t work out, I’m really hoping they won’t suffer from transplant shock too badly. In zone 3 gardening groups. I’ve read from people who warn against transplanting corn completely, because they don’t handle it well, to people who say they do it all the time, every year, and have never had issues. I suspect type of corn can make a difference, and I seem to be the first person in all of these groups to try and grow purple corn in our zone!