Why A Giant Radish?

What is that in your row of carrots?!!

I can’t tell you how many times we heard that this year. But there is a reason.

Carrots and radishes are companion plants. We plant them at the same time and the radishes grow faster than the carrots. By the time you are harvesting the radishes the carrots are just starting to really grow.

So why did we let this one radish grow so large? It’s to collect the seed for next year’s planting. We will let this radish bloom, dry and go to seed. Early fall we will pull the seeds from the flower pods and put in a snack size zipper locking bag. Storing in a cool dry place will keep them fresh for next year.

We weren’t really expecting the radish to reach the size of a large beet or for the flower stems to become taller than the top of the hoop. That means we can’t pull the cover over without bending the stems.

There is a new learning every day!

Seeds Planted

We immediately planted all the seeds once the beds were ready. We did not want to lose any time since we have such a short growing season. The picture shows a new tactic we’re taking to prevent the birds from eating the peas this year. We hooped some fencing over the planted area as a deterrent. It would require a desperate bird to work it’s way through the fence to even realize what type of plants they are. There is plenty of greener plants around to peak their interest. Spoiler alert….it worked!

Next, the lettuce seedlings came up quickly. Since we never use weed block fabric on the lettuce rows it’s also the beginning of weed pulling! Be honest. Take a look at this picture. Can you tell me which are weeds and which are the lettuce? No? And this is why the woman of the house is stuck weeding the lettuce and root vegetables until they are 2 inches tall!

Beets and carrots take longer to surface. We hand water the carrots in particular as soil dries quickly here, seeds are shallow and they seem to take forever to take a hold and leaf out. Unfortunately they initially look like blades of thin grass. Another reason the man of the house will never weed the carrots this young. Bean seeds come up quickly and we can use weed block since they grow farther apart. Luckily another reduction of manual labor. We try to minimize it as much as possible. In the next few weeks we will be able to bring out the transplants we have been growing inside. Until then we have hand watering and weeding to do!

Seeding Root Vegetables

We’ve always planted lettuce, beet and carrot seeds by hand. The lines have never been that straight and the density of the seedlings were inconsistent. Working on our inefficiencies again, we researched seeders and found this easy to use model. While our clay soil made it a little difficult to smoothly roll the seeder and perfectly drop the seed, it was still far better and faster than our previous methods. There were a couple rows we weren’t sure had enough seed so we just went over them twice and will thin out later.

After each row was done we hand tossed compost over the seeded lines. It puts the compost right where it’s needed. We believe in putting plant food right on the plants we want to grow, not amending all the soil unless we have an area where compost is needed for texture.

Now that the rows are quickly seeded, we need to hand water to keep the seeds moist until they germinate. Then continue watering until the seedlings get big enough to reach the soaking of the subsurface irrigation. No watering overhead. We don’t want to be watering the weeds. It’s a waste of water.

It won’t be long now before we have our first plants!

Watch us running the seeder on our YouTube Channel:

 

Seeds Are Here!

After spending January planning the expansion of the beds, February was spent deciding what to plant. After we evaluated what grew the best and what sold the best last year we decided to focus on greens, carrots, beets, snap peas, beans, summer squash, cucumbers and tomatoes. We saved a section for personal use where we’ll plant a few items that don’t sell well but we can’t live without! We absolutely loved the celery and okra last year but nobody was interested in it.

March is here and I’m excited to say our seeds came in the mail! While we saved seeds the last 2 years we were unable to collect enough to cover what we will be growing this year. Some items, like carrots, didn’t go to seed. We will also be trying a couple new varieties to see if they do better than ones we’ve previously grown.

My next objective is to clean up some of my collected seeds from last year before planting including trying to separate more of the lettuce seed from the soft white propeller pieces that stubbornly stuck around. I also need to finish shelling peas and beans from their dried pods. Anyone for a shelling party?

Spring is coming up soon!

 

 

Transplants In the Ground

Cabbage Transplants

The weather is finally cooperating! I finally got some transplants in the ground including cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Seeds planted include peas, 4 different types of heirloom beans, 3 types of onion (bunch, red and Walla Walla sweets), spinach, collards, radishes and carrots.

Seeds still to plant……beets, lettuce, cucumber, corn, okra, summer squash, watermelon, cantaloupe and pumpkins. Transplants that still need to be planted….celery, tomatoes and peppers.

I also have herb transplants that are taking a long time to grow including parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme (the Garfunkel), basil and oregano (the Italian), and lemon grass.rosemary, lavender, lemon balm, and fennel (the aromatics).

And where would we be without flowers? There are already so many on the property, including lilly of the valley, iris, daylillies, hostas, shasta daisies, peonies, catmint, phlox, roses, wallflower, vinca, passion flower, dianthis and penstemon. Amazingly they haven’t been eaten by the deer or rabbits yet. I’m planting more native flowers as a xeriscape food source for the bees we will be bringing home next week. That includes sunflowers, blanket flower, pineapple sage and not so xeriscape, but great for eating…nasturtiums.

Wow! Reading all that I realize there is still a lot of work to do!

First Seeds in the Ground

Planting Onion Seed

The snow is gone! I finally starting planting in the evening after work. Here is my first row of seed, an heirloom Walla Walla Sweet Onion! I also seeded bunching and red onions as well. The bunching onions can be eaten whenever you want. The other two onions will need to grow through to next year to get of any size. I also planted spinach and collards. A good start for a couple hours of work!

Tomorrow will be peas, carrots and beets!