(cross-posted from my http://grin-bear.livejournal.com/)
According to my little playbook the outdoor gardening tasks for this week are to finish hardening off some parsley, leeks, and onions I planted from seed (and a few extra parsleys I kept inside over the winter from last year), and to plant potato sets, parsnip, turnip, carrots, radishes and horseradish in the ground. I have been bringing the stuff to harden off outside each day while I work, then bringing them back in when I am finished. Later this week I’ll start leaving them out overnight and only bringing them in for part of the sunny period each day.
Here’s the PlanGarden drawing for the bed that will have all the root crops in it this year. I did not try to get overly fancy with exactly how many to plant in each area, just the approximate configuration so I could make sure everything had a home. I think PlanGarden.com no longer is supported since the owner hasn’t replied on forums in a long time and there is no software upgrade this year. I never could deal with its rudimentary recordkeeping functions so didn’t have a lot as far as that goes but the graphical garden-plotting features are still very useful. Someone tipped me off to MyFolia.com this year and I have started digging into (hehe) the recordkeeping functionality of that. They have no mapping feature however. So the two sites pretty much complement each other.
Here is the bed chosen for the root crops. This and the one in background (by wheelbarrow) were left covered with leaf mulch and soil amendments over the winter. So my first step was to rake off the left over leaves and put those in the compost heap, then took 3 wheelbarrows of compost and spread over the bed. This compost is left over from a load we had delivered last fall but I am hoping that this year my own piles will finally be producing enough to not have to buy any. It’s either this year or next year I think!
After turning over the bed to mix in the compost, I planted carrots, radishes, parsnips, and rutabagas in the squares designated for them and then 4 kinds of potatoes on the other half. The picture above was taken when the potatoes were laid out on a 1 foot spacing but not yet planted. I made a strong attempt to plan out this year’s garden with both companion planting and crop rotation in mind. Unfortunately there is a lot of totally conflicting information about companion planting and potatoes. I ultimately sided with what the crop rotation sites said figuring that a lot of the insect and disease related negatives would be canceled out by the rotating. But I still need to fine-tune the companion planting part to take into account only the chemical and shade aspects which I will probably get into more next year. I sort of reached the limits of my patience with the research for now!
Here is the bed after everything is planted and watered. There are small bamboo sticks (salvaged from purchased Echinacea pots from a few years ago) pointing out the dividing lines between the crops. I still need to plant my leeks and onions that I grew from seed in the centerline, once they are finished hardening off. Also I still need to find shallots sets. I remember the grocery store got them eventually last year.
My intention is to mulch this with leaves once the plants are big enough and the sprouting is over. The potatoes will be mulched with straw too and pretty high to give them more spaces to put potatoes. I am a bit concerned about them because the soil is still being modified away from a pretty heavy clay soil. So the more above-ground places to grow the better I suspect. Other to-dos in this area include signage (I don’t have any materials for that yet), a border so I can use the edger on the grass around it without worrying about the plants, and then planting marigolds and such once it is warmer.