What’s up in the garden this week? We had a very busy week. I am finishing up my winter job as a cook and transitioning to my spring job at Bern’s Garden Center. (If you’re in the Middletown, OH area, stop by and visit me! Make sure to check out their website. Bern’s is a family owned business and has been around for over 50 years!)
Jason has picked up the slack here on the farm and gotten some of the beds ready and planted with sugar snap peas and shelling peas—we’re trying out a couple of varieties I’ve never tried before. They are both dwarfs, allowing us to plant much more in a smaller space. We’ll see how it goes. They are both, of course, heirlooms and we found the seeds at Seed Savers Exchange. He’s also planted lettuce; black-seeded Simpson and an heirloom mix; broccoli; radishes; spinach and a first planting of Swiss chard. We’re going to be planting onions this coming week.
We are almost finished rebuilding the greenhouse so that we can move our seedlings and our baby Buckeye chicks out. The chicks are growing sooo fast! They are too big for the cardboard brooder box we have them in, already flying up and perching on the edge. The tomatoes are almost in need of more space as well.
Speaking of tomato plants, we are selling them like crazy already at the garden center! Normally, in our area we don’t set out tomatoes and other hot weather plants until mid-May, but our weather has been so unusually warm after a very mild winter that everyone is ready to go right now! I’m not so convinced! We can still have hard freezes and snow this time of year, but I’m willing to experiment a little—to see if old wisdom is right or not. I’m going to set out a couple of plants and see if we get tomatoes any sooner than waiting until the normal time. I may be proven wrong—the soil is much warmer and workable than normal for this time of year, . . . .
. . . . as a matter of fact, I’ve been hoping that the warm temperatures won’t affect the cold weather crops too much, . . . .
But, that is why we plant so much variety; if one plant doesn’t thrive in the prevailing weather, another one will! So this week we are concentrating on getting the rest of the planting beds ready to go. We will be getting all of the first run of seeds in the ground within the next week or two. We are trying something a little new this year. I have grown pole beans on bamboo teepees before, but this year we bought a few 8 ft. tall fence posts. We are putting them in the center of a 4’ by 4’ bed and making the teepee out of twine. It should be a lot stronger; and the space should allow us to plant about 75 pole beans in only 4’ X 4’! We’ll do the cucumbers that way as well; we should be able to get 12 to 16 cucumber plants in that space. I’m also going to play around with using sunflowers as trellis for pole beans and cucumbers and see how that works. We’ve bought a variety of sunflower this year called ‘Titan’. They grow up to 12’ tall with seed heads from 18” to 24” in diameter! That should be sturdy enough to support beans!
We are still going to do a few bamboo teepees as well, with hyacinth bean for the bees and then the birds in the fall. I just love the burgundy colors!
Big plans for a Big week! We’d better get busy!