When it comes to spring gardening, I am usually chomping at the bit, especially with my pea planting. I pride myself in usually taking advantage of any warming trend in February when the soil can be worked to get the peas in the ground. This year the weather did not cooperate and I did not get my peas in the ground until the first week of March. Still not bad but I like to get them in as early as possible as I need to get them out of the ground as quick as possible to allow for a second planting of a summer or fall crop in the same spot.
I chose to plant the peas on the chicken coop roof top garden.
The last use for the rooftop garden was my second planting of potatoes. For the potatoes I buried them with a pretty good quantity of nearly finished compost. The material has fully broken down over the winter and the soil is nutritious and fluffy (otherwise known as tilth).
The first step in the pea process is to wet the seeds and coat them with innoculant. Innoculant is a black powder that helps the peas form nodules on their roots where they store nitrogen. Peas require little extra fertility and they actually are one of the few plants that adds nitrogen to the soil rather than take from it.
I then use a garden dibble to poke inch deep holes in the soil to plant the peas. I dense plant my peas poking holes every two to three inches in a solid mass rather than in rows. I do this as pea plants have tendrils that the plant uses to attach to structure to hold itself off the ground and the plants do best when given a few branches stuck in the ground and they use each other for support.
I never cover the seeds until I have the entire bed planted so I never get lost as to where I left off planting. Once I have the bed planted I fill in the planting holes and pat the soil down with my hand to ensure good seed and soil contact. I then water the bed and I should see signs of life in ten days or so.
I also planted a few short rows of radish seed. I prefer french breakfast radishes and small globe radishes. To plant them all you have to do is to make a row about a quarter inch deep and then sprinkle seed down the row. Cover the seed with a quarter inch of soil and water in well bit carefully to not wash away the seed. Should see signs of radishes sprouting in seven to ten days.
As the weather warms I need to get going on planting potatoes, carrots, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, turnips and fava beans. This weekend will be the start of that process.
I took the time a week ago to turn the compost in my old four bin system. Toward the end of fall my compost ratios suffer as I pile a lot of leaves to insulate my worms. I found a very nice black layer of compost in the bottom of each bin.
I emptied the worm bins and learned that I had severe winter kill in my worm bins. The compost is great but I will have to replenish my worm supply from my compost bins as the worms in the bins survived the winter well buried in the thick layer of leaves.
Yesterday was my first foray into the downtown Salt Lake Farmer’s Market, I had a pretty good day selling a compost bin, several produce baskets, compost screens, birdhouses and bat houses. I am encouraged for the prospective of the busy summer market season. I will find out in May whether I will be accepted to the market. I see a clearer light to actually fulfilling my dream and making a living doing what I love. I am encouraged and have found new motivation to work harder.
I also learned this week that I am needed to get the Westlake garden up and running again so I am excited at the prospect of another successful gardening season with the kids. I better close this blog and get some sleep. I am going to need it.