Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday's Focus...Gardens

   Ah, Friday is here..the day we use to get our classroom assignments rounded up and ready for the weekend. It is also the day we select a section of our farm to focus on. Today we are setting our sights on the gardens.
   For several weeks we have spent our afternoons turning, tilling, and amending our garden plots for the upcoming planting season. As of today: fruit trees are pruned, mulches are gathered and ready to spread, seedlings and young plants fill the greenhouse selves, and our seed supply is ready to go.
   Sadly, our weather has been doing a strange swoop; breezy cool days with nights in the thirties- not optimal for many garden plants. Our cool spring seeds are in the ground, but our peppers and tomatoes, as well as many of our herbs, are still residing in the greenhouse until our nights warm a bit.
   So what is on the to-do list? Adding a few more rows of kale and lettuce, planting more onion sets, building more tomato cages, hilling the corn field. Cool weather herbs such as parsley and chives are going in the soil along with dills and thyme. I think we will give rosemary and basil another week.
   Walking the paths today, we reviewed our "written plan". Here is the current order of growing:

1. The front of our house became a garden plot last year. It permanently houses a few citrus trees and spring bulbs already in bloom. We have been adding antique rose bushes in the raised mound beds that will give color to the vast array of culinary and tea herbs waiting to be planted there.

2. The greenhouse garden plot housed tomatoes and cole crops last spring, but is ready for rows of peppers, cucumbers, and green beans. Along the back area near the tool shed, a path of squash - yellow crookneck and zucchini- will be prolific and proud. Already in place, a few sets of onions, a patch of lettuce, and a patch of carrots. The greenhouse itself will house a few hot house tomatoes with bed areas mulched over to cook out weeds.

3. Our outer field garden is the most extensive. It will hold a large section of tomatoes and okra sprinkled with a row of basil and sunflowers. A small area will hold lettuces, onion and garlic with kale and chard. One secondary planting of cucumbers will provide some shade for the greens during the heat that is to come. The far side of this field is reserved for the "three sister" setup. Rows of corn will stand tall and proud providing a trellis for runner beans. Melons will trellis the under path and flank the outer edges.

4. Behind our house in the extra space - but not too near the clothesline- raised tire beds are waiting to house winter squashes like spaghetti, butternut and acorn. Down the drive, we have a few more tires set to grow a section of pumpkins- sugar baby variety.

   With all the plans laid, all the seeds gathered, and rows ready for them all- time for this family to get dirt under their nails and mud between their toes; today we set some garden!

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