Wow, so much is going on and so little time to blog. Today I am carving out a little time for an update.
First, I am going to say I am very glad I am keeping a journal, and that I built an excel sheet to help calculate when to expect the seeds to sprout and to harvest. I am finding it very helpful!! See my Schedule page.
So, I have half a 5’x8′ bed planted with Red Chantennay seed, started July 12th, that are doing really well. There are only a few bare spots. In a separate 4’x12′ bed, I planted some Snow White seeds that are having similar success, planted the day after on July 13th. According to my grow guide, these should sprout somewhere between July 18 – Aug 3 and have met that criteria.
But I also planted some Atomic Red on July 13, and it is very spotty… maybe 10% (at most) sprouted. I planted more Atomic Red and some Cosmic Purple on July 19, basically filling a 4’x12′ bed with carrots. These should sprout July 25 – Aug 9, but these are just as spotty. I decided today that I would reseed in the bare patches, and I also over-seeded a bit. I realized that, since seeds are relatively cheap, I think it is better to get more into the ground and thin later, than to not have any sprout.
I know, it is only Aug 4 and technically some of these original seeds could sprout by Aug 9 – why not give them a little more time? Well, for a few reasons. I expected there to be more growth, and I am a little disappointed. I am afraid that I did not keep as much water on the seeds as they needed. It has been hot and dry, maybe 2 weeks since it has rained. I have watered almost everyday, so I am concerned that I may have missed a day, or the heat damaged them and they won’t grow. Also, this 4’x12′ bed will eventually be shaded as the season progresses. The seeds I sowed today can be harvested mid- to late-October. I am not exactly sure when the shadow of the house will fall over this bed, so I would rather sow now. As a side note, I will definitely be watching the progression of the shadow this year so I will know!
I have sown rutabaga twice this summer, once on July 13 and again on July 19. I plan to sow another section of the bed probably tomorrow morning. These seedlings are really doing well, but show a few signs of insects. We really love rutabaga, and I am concerned that aphids will do their death march here. Yesterday I sprayed with the insecticide soap, and am planning on adding a floating row cover with Agribon-15 to keep the insects away (and my other crops!). You can see the small hoop I build from 9 gauge wire. I bent small hoops near the ground and will be building a caterpillar hoop house. See the picture here, although it is larger than this little row cover. The concept is the same, though. Another option, which I will build for the taller broccoli (etc.) plants, will be with pvc pipes inserted into rebar. More on these row covers in a later post, after I build it!
My turnips are doing just as well as the rutabaga, if not better. My schedule said to plant Aug 1, but I tried this little section on July 13 and it seems to be fine. A little evidence of insects too, so I sprayed them and will be building the insect barrier. My schedule says I can expect a harvest on Sept 6… it will be interesting to see how accurate this guide is! So, tomorrow I plan to sow more, with another maybe mid-Aug.
Like the carrots, the beets are very spotty. There are maybe 5 total seedlings here, which makes me very sad indeed. These were sown on July 13 and sprouting was expected from July 18-30. Time to resow, as well as plant more down the row. I ran out of time this morning, but tomorrow do that.
My old potato beds are now the new pea fields! Harvesting and weeding these beds was very hard work, and I am glad it is done. The digging helped to aerate the soil, and I put mixed in some 10-10-10 fertilizer, about 2 cups per bed. The picture below is from after planting and watering. The two wet beds to the left contain Sugar Snap peas (~1/3 pound seed), the other three to the right contain Little Marvel shelling peas (a full 1/2 pound seed!). We really love peas, and this crop will help nourish the soil for next year. I did soak them prior to planting…well, most of them. I wasn’t really sure how many I would need, so I soaked about half of each 1/2 pound bag of seeds. Half way through planting I realized I needed more seed, and wanting to just get the job done, just planted the rest unsoaked. I don’t think it will be a problem, as some of my spring peas I sowed unsoaked. I am curious to see if there is a large effect on sprouting time.