Saturday, June 21, 2008

First Harvest!

A week later, carrots are thinned. You can kind of see the spacing in this picture. OK -- who likes thinning carrots, by a show of hands...? Anyone? Anyone? Heartless thinning of strong little sprouts is one of the hardest chores of the gardener.

The first cuttings of the Bull's Blood beets. They are the most beautiful silvery red--the photo really doesn't do them justice. Although they are still tiny, I took one leaf from each beet for a salad.

Happy sweet potatoes, about a week later. You can kind of see four volunteer beans near the fence if you look hard. These are blue Shackamaxon beans, from the Lenape Indians of the Delaware watershed, where I grew up. I grew them last year, on the trellis that we replaced with this fence. I didn't really have a place to squeeze them in this year, but I guess I'll string up something for them to climb on. They are an exceptionally beautiful sapphire blue as shelly beans, which darkens to black when they dry.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Planting the sweets

This is the east bed, soil being loosened. Note around the edges a bunch of potsherds that somehow made their way into this bed! This soil is amended every year with about 4" of City of Ypsi compost.

Meet the White Triumphs. These came in a dessicated bunch wrapped in formerly damp moss in tissue paper. I didn't have time to put them in on Saturday when they arrived, so I stuck them in a glass of water overnight. Seems to have done them good. (The first year I ordered sweet potatoes and received those dessicated stems, I stuck them directly in the ground, tho they barely had a root on them. I was positive they would yield nothing--but I dug up about 15 lbs or so of potatoes in the fall.)

These were much better rooted. In fact, I managed to break up some of the rooted stems in such a way that I ended up with a few extra plants. These are planted 6" deep on 9" centers, according to Jeavon's charts for double-dug soil.

Here's the bed with 19 plants in place, all watered in.

And here's the bed with about 20 leeks squeezing in beside the sweets. The variety is Lancelot. This is the suggested method of planting from Johnny's Select Seeds: make a 6" deep hole, drop in the leek seedling and do not firm up the soil. Rain and wind will slowly fill in the hole, allowing the leek to blanch. Seems to have worked the past few years.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More fancy Four-Squares!

Lisa, here. I'm the garden steward at Recreation Park Community Garden and have an 8'x16' plot there, plus I have an herb garden, native medicinals, edible landscaping, and a lot of containers at home.
I've designated two of my roughly 4'x4' containers as my Four Square beds. This one is my west bed, containing St. Valery carrots and Bull's Blood beets, both heirlooms from Seed Savers.
I admit, I've gotten a little obsessive with this bed. As you can see on the right, germination was spotty the closer you got to the fence. So I spent many damp days gently prying out carrots from the soil and moving them, evening out the spacing.

There's about 180 carrots in this bed on 2" spacing. The beets had better germination on 3" centers around the edge.

The east bed is being planted in White Triumph sweet potatoes and leeks. The leeks were started from seed in lil greenhouses made of plastic blueberry containers. (I still have quite a few leek starts remaining, if anyone wants some.) The sweet potatoes are from Pinetree Garden Seeds and they are an ancient east coast variety that's actually a close relative of a morning glory!

This is my first blogger post ever, so please forgive clunkyness. More pix of the sweet potato planting next time!