Saturday, April 25, 2009

Getting the Gardens Ready!

I know our webmaster thinks she's a bit behind, but not as behind as I am! I am, though, perhaps less behind now.

Today, in the 76-degree blazing sunshine, I de-mossed and de-weeded my two 4' by 20' raised beds, aerated the soil, added half an inch on compost to completely cover each bed, and this evening I will start my tomato, pepper, squash, cucumber, and eggplant seeds. When they get big enough, I'll transplant them into the new cow pots that we're offering in our catalog and on our website. For the last 3 years, I didn't know that cucumber roots should NOT be disturbed upon transplanting. I'll plant my cucumber seeds directly into the 3" cowpots I have, and I'll just toss the whole thing into the garden in 5 weeks. I have learned over the last 3 years, though, that it's a good idea to grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and squashes in single, separate containers before transplanting into the garden. These plants quickly outgrow the space of the 72-cell seedling trays I use (in about 3 weeks) and squashes and cucumbers get tangled up if you don't separate them early.

Tomorrow I will lay down some solar mulch and I will direct seed "Sunny Smile" dwarf sunflower, "Hector" smooth-leaf spinach, "Red Mustard", and "Arugula".

So this year, my two beds look like this:

Bed #1:
2 rows of peas - 'Fiesty' (43 plants in a 4' row with a trellis in between the rows)
10 pickling cucumber plants - 'Diamant' (2 rows of 5 plants with a trellis in between)
8 Jalapeno pepper plants - 'Dulce' (2 rows of 4 plants)
8 Eggplants - 'Nadia' (2 rows of 4 plants)
4 'Ladybug' Hot cherry pepper plants (1 row of 4 plants)
8 'Striped German' heirloom tomato plants (2 rows of 4 plants)
8 'Brandywine' heirloom tomato plants (2 rows of 4 plants)
8 'Valleygirl' red round tomatoes (2 rows of 4 plants)
8 'Bellstar' sauce tomatoes (2 rows of 4 plants)
4 'Sapho' red salad tomatoes (1 row of 4 plants)
8 'Sungold' cherry tomatoes (2 rows of 4 plants)
8 'General Lee' slicing cucumbers (2 rows of 4 plants with a trellis in between)
4 'Plato' green zucchini squash (2 half rows of 2 plants)
4 'Sunray' yellow summer squash (2 half rows of 2 plants)

Bed #2:
2 rows of green beans - 'Provider' (23 plants in a 4' row with a trellis in between)
32 'Red Ace' beets
16 'Touchstone Gold' beets
16 'Chioggia' heirloom beets
4 'Ladybug' hot cherry pepper plants (1 row of 4 plants)
8 'Carmen' sweet Italian pepper plants (2 rows of 4 plants)
8 'Tendersweet' green cabbage plants (2 rows of 4 plants)
8 'Hungarian Spice' Paprika peppers (2 rows of 4 plants)
66 'Golden Coin" mini yellow onion
42 'Olympic' yellow storage onion
46 'Napoli' storage carrots
46 'Purple Haze' specialty carrots
10 'Black Seeded Simpson' green leaf lettuce plants (2 rows of 5 plants)
10 'Natacha' escarole plants (2 rows of 5 plants)
18 'Sunny Smile' dwarf sunflowers (3 rows of 6 plants)
4 'Dulce' Jalapeno pepper plants (1 row of 4 plants)
18 'Red Mustard' greens (3 rows of 6 plants)
18 'Arugula' greens (3 rows of 6 plants)
30 'Hector' smooth-leaf spinach plants (1 row of 30 plants)

I will sprinkle in some 'French Marigold' among the tomatoes and peppers to help with natural insect repellent for these crops. And my husband and I have learned that if you plant rows of hot peppers throughout your garden it serves as excellent insect control - bugs just DON'T like the pepper oil. The sunflowers are being placed mid-bed to help with bees, butterflies, and other beneficial pollinators.

So that's the mad plan for this year! I'll also plant some extra seedlings and bring them in for folks at work.

What an exciting time of year - the weather is finally warming up, my kitchen windows are open and the curtains are fluttering, the Red Sox are playing (and they beat the Yankees last night!) and it's seed-planting time!!!

Alisa - Marketing Manager @ Johnny's


Heidi said...

Holy cow you had a busy Saturday! And I'm glad you explained th dwarf sunflowers. LOL I wondered why those were plunked in there amongst all of those wonderful veggies.

You go girl.

Anonymous said...

i was wondering when it would be safe to begin planting yukon gold potatoes in central maine augusta to be exact please
many thanks

Alisa Keimel said...

Hi there - Potatoes are tolerant of cool soil and they can be planted in early spring, which is now. You can plant the whole seed potato or cut it into pieces. The seed should go 2-3" down and plants should be spaced 12" apart, with rows of potatoes about 2.5 to 3' apart.


Tim said...

I love Johhny's and appreciate your blog efforts. However, I've never been to your place and have great difficulty visualizing what's going on. Do you guys have a camera? Could we get a picture now and then? ;-)
Tim Fuller, Elburn, IL

Alisa Keimel said...

Indeed - I'll take a picture of my raised beds today and do something about adding some life to these posts!!

Stay tuned....

Anonymous said...