Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Planting Time!

I was busy last week getting seeds in the ground. I also upgraded the irrigation to a "drip" system. The old system was just the in ground lawn pop-up sprinklers. While those worked okay I think they wasted a lot of water and helped weeds by spraying water everywhere. Many plants are hurt by over head watering because the water on the leaves can lead to fungus issues. Though yields didn't seem to be effected, last year the Cocozelle summer squash from Botanical Interest had white powder mildew rather extensively. To be honest I've seen this frequently during the late season on squash, even with weekly applications of compost tea sprayed onto the leaves.
East Garden Plan

While I'm calling this a plan, I actually planted the seeds first then drew the "plan" for record purpose. I like to record where things are planted to help with my crop rotation. Some of the crops, such as beet roots, are in the same place for two seasons because I'm waiting for these biannuals to go to seed, other plants like the yukon gold potatoes are volunteers, meaning I missed some in the ground last fall and they resprouted this year. 
I tried a new system for the silver queen corn. I have planted this variety with great success several years ago at another home in Lakewood, CO. It grew to about 7-8 feet tall. This time I planted double rows, where two rows are spaced 12 inches apart then a 24-30 inch spacing to the next double row. I also planted kentucky pole and kentucky wonder wax pole beans in each double row, finally I planted the waltham butternut squash in the large "center" row. This is known as the three sisters method or system that was practiced by American Indians.
Below is the planted garden with drip system installed.
West Garden May 29, 2012
The written plan actually is only left half, from the brown pot left. The right half was already planted.
Seeds planted week of May 20, 2012
Here are the seed packets I used this week. All of these where started in the ground. The tomatoes show on the plan, and several other tomatoes, were all started indoors several weeks ago. You can see that I have seeds from several different companies, Burpee, Botanical Interest (a local Colorado company), Baker Creek, Livingston, and seeds from last year's Waltham Butternut Squash. This Butternut is really good, I'll try to grow it every year. Another winner in my book is the Marketmore 76 cucumbers from Baker, I only had 6-7 seeds left in this packet from 2010. I planted them at the base of a trellis that worked well last year.
Cucumber trellis
 This year I bought a couple of bags of alfalfa pellets at the feed store and mixed them in the soil with some compost in the cucumber areas. The pellets are a cheap organic fertilizer 3-1-2 NPK based on some research. I found them at 40 lbs for $10.

Garden thief

 My friend above seemed very tame and inspected everything. I finally noticed that he was going for the worms and rolly pollies that I was turning up. I didn't mind the theft of a couple dozen worms and bugs, but I did get ticked when I saw him with a bean seed in his beak. He or she came back in the early evening with the rest of the family, but by that time I had a chance to hose the whole garden down and hopefully protect some of the seeds.

Compost escapees

 Here's part of why the robins were so friendly, although the robin didn't seem interested when they were in the wheelbarrow for some reason. Maybe he was just frightened like me!

Sow and pill bugs

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