Bed 0

Lettuce, Chard, Cilantro in Bed 0

Lettuce, Chard, Cilantro in Bed 0

Today was the first day of the OAEC Spring Plant Sale. I could not resist getting a jump on Spring planting. Actually, I had hoped they’d have sweet peas and spinach. All they had were snow peas, which I don’t really like. I have no idea why it’s been so hard to find real edible (not decorative) sweet  pea starts this year. I’ll have to sow my own, although most of last year’s crop had to be trashed due to some unidentified bug that is born inside the dried sweet pea, and eats its way out, once it’s an adult, leaving a hole in the pea. What they DID have were lettuce starts, chard, and cilantro. So, I purchased these and immediately transplanted them into the remaining fallow portion of Bed 0 (behind are the cereal rye, planted as a Fall cover crop). The irony is, that the cereal rye (and other fall grain “cover crops”, like wheat and oats) don’t actually mature until late summer, so, if you let your cover crops mature, you’ve lost your sping/summer growing season! To my credit, I single-dug the last 20 or so sq. ft. of Bed 0, amended it with 2 x 5 gal. buckets of our wonderful, home-made compost, and transplanted

  1. Six butter lettuce starts (back row)
  2. Six Romaine lettuce starts (closer to the camera)
  3. Two rows of six chard plants (two varieties, Rainbow & forgot the other one)
  4. Closest row are six cilantro starts

I learned something: Chard are biennial, just like carrots, parsnips, curly-leaved parsley.  Today (4/11/2010) it’s raining, which is superb for the plants. That’s also the artifact you see on the picture: raindrops on the camera lens.

Since this is a shady bed, these crops ought to do well in this Bed, unlike green beans or tomatoes, which require long hours of sun each day.

Left to do: You guessed it! Bird-netting!!!

Broccoli in Bed 0

Bed 0: Planted w/28 DiCicco broccoli starts

OK. After having finished de-weeding the Southern 1/2 (~50 sq. ft.) of Bed 0 today, I “single-dug” (e.g., loosened 1 ft. down w/a spading fork) this portion of the bed and added ~5 x 5 gallon buckets (a bit more than 3 cu. ft.) of home-made wonderful compost (e.g., black gold). I then transplanted 28 diCicco variety broccoli starts (from “Oldies but Goodies”, a local lady who delivers starts for sale to Andy’s market). These are spaced 15 inches apart, except the closest row to the front which is spaced 12″ from the previous row.

Netted broccoli for bird protection

Bed 0: Broccoli starts are now safe from birds

You’d think I’d have been finished by now, wouldn’t you. But, while I was transplanting the broccoli starts, the birds were fighting amongst themselves as to who would get to decimate all those wonderful, tender, broccoli leaves first. Don’t think I didn’t see and hear them! So, this is war! I placed the netting immediately after transplanting the starts, to save them from the birds!

Bed 0: Southern Half: Before De-weeding

OK. This is the only bed that I got partially planted in the Fall with cover crops–in this case, the pretty cereal rye in the Northern half of the bed, which is getting ready for its spring growth spurt.  The nearer/Southern half of this bed used to be planted with tomatoes (which, BTW, did not do very well last year due to our rather cool and cloudy summer, and late frosts). I *thought* I had planted carrots around the tomatoes for companion planting (e.g. the eponymous book, “Carrots Love Tomatoes.”) Somewhat to my consternations/surprise, what I had planted, in fact, were fennel! Well, their seeds do look alike, and I guess I managed to get fennel seeds mixed in with the carrot seeds! So, it is time to harvest the fennel, de-weed the bed, prepare it for planting, and transplant the 18 DiCicco broccoli starts I purchased yesterday. On 15-inch centers, that should take care of approx. 25 sq. ft, or the Northern 1/4 of the bed.  I’ll pick up an equal number of broccoli starts at the OAEC plant sale this week-end (assuming they have broccoli starts!)

By 18 April 2009, had prepared the Southern 1/2 of Bed 0 per the Soil Test Report No. 27243, dated 9 April 2009, from Timberleaf Soil Testing Service:

  • Applied 3 x 1 cu. ft. Fox Farm Planting Mix to 50 sq. ft.
  • 8 oz. high-calcium lime and 4.5 oz. gypsum

Transplanted 16 “Legend” tomato starts on 18-inch centers (started in flats on 3/7/09),  and transplanted 3 “Burbank Slicing” tomatoes, also on 18-inch centers, also started in flats on 3/7/09, and 2 Cherokee purple tomatoes. Those were purchased at the Graton Community Center’s Spring Plant sale by Michael.  A picture of Bed 0, with all of the transplants, as it appeared on 18 April 2009, follows:

Bed 0 planted with tomatos and string beans

Bed 0 planted with tomatos and string beans

Bed 0: North end plated with "Contender" String Beans

Bed 0: North end planted with "Contender" String Beans

This bed, Bed 0, used to have strawberries growing in it for ~ 3 years. The Northern (closer) half had sundry crops, such as “Pioneer” sweet peas, cilantro, tomatoes, spinach, lettuces, and Hungarian poppies, as well.  As of 31 March 2009, the Northern half of Bed 0 was amended w/5 x 5 gal. buckets ~ 3 cu. ft. of our home-made compost, as well as with 1 lb. agricultural lime; 0.85 lbs gypsum; 0.25 oz (all I had left, instead of 2.25 oz) Mn2SO4; 0.45 oz Fertibor (14.9% Boron).   “Contender” string beans, which were sown in a flat on 1-inch centers in the greenhouse on 3/8/2009, were transplanted onto 6-inch centers, on 3/31/09 and 4/1/09, as pictured above.  The Southern half of this bed, Bed 0, will be planted with tomatoes.

bed0_north_7feb09_small It was such a beautiful day today, betwen rainstorms (got up to 78F), that I decided to dig up the ancient (3 yr. old) non-productive strawberry plants from this Bed (Bed 0), and single-dug it. It will now be ready for adding compost and amendments, and then for the Spring Planting. We’re planning on putting in broccoli, “Contender” string beans, “Pioneer” sweet peas, and heriloom tomatoes into this bed.bed0_south_7feb09_small