Sunday, July 01, 2007

Spring, Glorious Spring!

We had our first day of spring yesterday, followed by another beautiful day today. Well, not really, but after a month of dry sunshine with temps in the high 80's and 90's, it sure seems like this is the spring we never had.

Determined to make use of this glorious weather, I worked the entire day yesterday in the gardens, gaining the advantage on the weeds. Both the kitchen and market gardens are nearly weed free—well, as weed free as they're likely to get, anyway. Admittedly, there's a whole lot of dirt, but that's a good thing. It means the seedlings that are growing don't have competition from the weeds that are very good at getting big, quickly.

A big part of our CSA plan is succession planting—planting relatively small numbers every two to three weeks to help ensure a sustained harvest—hence the dirt. We've been so incredibly hot that I need to remind myself that many things are still growing. In the kitchen garden—the first picture to the left—you can see the asparagus, the newly renovated strawberry bed (there's another beyond the asparagus), in the lower right corner is where I just pulled the spent peas and where I hope to try to plant summer lettuces using shade cloth.

In the market garden, there are four plantings of corn of which only the first two are showing. We did a three sisters planting, putting in the corn, beans and squash together as companions. The idea is that the beans fix nitrogen, which corn needs. The corn provides a pole for the beans, and the squash shades roots and discourages weeds.

We have our first planting of corn tasseling out and the first planting of beans beginning to set—even the fourth planting is now popping. Our first zucchini is just ready for harvest, and we have yellow squash, pumpkins (carving and pie) growing all along the fence line with loads of fruit set. We have Yukon gold potatoes doing great at the top fence line, as well as Russian banana fingerlings and Nordland red potatoes on the front fence line. Our watermelon and muskmelon all have flowers, and our sunflowers are all beginning to sprout. In the patch toward the back, between the corn and the potatoes, I just planted another patch with watermelon, more peppers, eggplant, calendula and borage. Above the zucchini, we have pickling and slicing cukes beginning to grow, and between those and the pumpkins, we have two successive plantings of red onion, yellow onion, and two varieties of carrots, along with San Marzano sauce tomatoes and some basil.

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