Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Early seed planting time

We got another dry day today, and I went out this afternoon and got four kinds of seeds planted and my kohlrabis in the ground. Some of the flakes I had left on the ground last time were dry-ish enough today to pull apart, and I made 6 short rows running east-west in the annex. I planted two rows of snow peas, two of salsify, and two of fennel. Just as Ruth advises, I left the ground bare where the seeds went down, and piled up the pulled-apart hay between the rows. As the plants grow (I hope), I'll snug the hay around them and add more on top.

About the middle of the annex, I planted my 8 kohlrabi pots. I was really pleased with their root development and hope they'll be happy in the ground. I wove a light layer of loose hay between the plants. They're 6" tall already so there was room to tuck a little bit around them. The bare strips along the fence next to the "retaining wall" sandbags and the south fence are now home to daikon radish seed. I've never eaten any daikon and I'm not sure that I will, although the package says they're really mild, you're supposed to harvest them when they're 3" across and 18" long—that's not a radish, it's a log! The real reason I planted them is that I hope they'll be a trap crop for flea beetles, keeping them off the bok choy and collards I still hope to grow elsewhere in the plot. What I've read on the web is that daikons are the only thing that flea beetles love more than collards.

I went through the remaining hay bales that were under the tarp, and the three on the bottom in the middle were relatively dry, so I hauled them off to permanent shelter. Three other bales were pretty wet, so I broke them all into flakes and put the flakes around as mulch, around my greenhouse and in a nearby ornamental bed. I also used a half dozen more flakes along the lower east side, next to the fence. Eventually I'll have that whole fenceline edged with a retaining wall of dirt-filled sandbags, but for now the hay flakes are saving me a little time and a lot of effort.

If nothing else they'll keep weeds from growing there. I'm halfway hoping they'll dry out as the ones in the garden did, and I'll be able in a week or two to pull them apart and use them as hay mulch.

I noticed there were a few little sprouts coming up through the hay! They're either garlic or onions, I can't remember which I planted in that half of the row. I'll have to be more careful next year about writing down what goes where! My three little broccolis don't seem to have grown at all yet, so I'm half expecting they'll stay that size and have little half inch heads in a couple months--that's how my gardening exploits frequently end. Must think positive thoughts! I'll feel a lot better when I start seeing potato sprouts coming up.


  1. Your garden is looking good! What is salsify used for? I thought it was just a very pretty weed!

  2. Thanks! I read on the web that salsify can be used in soups and stews, but I'm really curious about what it's actually going to taste like. It gets compared to oysters, artichoke hearts, and white asparagus, so maybe it's one of those indescribable tastes. I'll probably go with putting olive oil and garlic on it.

  3. Very interesting. Asparagus and artichoke I can believe, but oysters?!

  4. Search me. It's also called "the oyster plant" because of its flavor. I have no idea what an oyster tastes like, so this could be interesting.