Sunday, March 11, 2007

Garden Journal, Week 2

We've jumped from the snows of midwinter, to mid-sixties in one week. Gotta love Utah weather. So to celebrate, I planted 2.5 more flats of seeds. Large cherry tomatos, big beef tomatos, cilantro, marigolds, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, lettuce, and jalapenos. This year in planning the garden, we are going for a more eye-pleasing look instead of high yields so that potential buyers find the garden attractive (but still productive), so we are doing fewer tomatos, and more herbs. This week I will also prepare all the beds and plant onion sets, carrots, and some more lettuce and spinach and possibly some chard. The tulips and daffodils in the front yard are shooting up, and the strawberries have started growing already as well.

The back lawn is looking its best since before we bought Maggy. Its too bad she had to die, but man our backyard looks nice...

I also noticed reading last years first garden journal that I'm planting two weeks earlier than I did last year. Yay. And there was much rejoicing.

(I took a few pictures, but I'll put them in later...)


Cabeza said...

Later?! But I want them noowwww!

Julie C said...

Don't forget to take pictures of your family working in the garden too! Okay, so it's just been too long since I saw pictures of my sister or my niece (or you).

JonnyF said...

I endorse your decision to plant chard. Have you considered kale? Katie and I discovered swiss chard and kale over Christmas.
By the way - when are you planning on moving? Do you know where you are going yet?

Nick said...

I like swiss chard in salads, and is a good substitute for spinach in most recipes. I haven't tried kale.

I am trying to graduate by sometime this summer, August at the latest. We will probably move around then, assuming I have a job offer somewhere. I am looking for a job primarily in Seattle, but if I can't find one there, we'll go anywhere I can find one. We want to move to Seattle, so thats where the job search focus is.

Cabeza said...

I endorse the kale. It's like non-stinky cabbage. And it's pleasing to the eye in a vegetable garden.

Is there something particular I need to do to prep my soil? I'm very much a novice at the vegetable garden thing, as you can see.

Nick said...

You can go all out and do a soil test to check your nitrogen, PH, potassium and phosphorus levels.

If you don't want to do that (I haven't in our garden), you can just dig around in the soil and feel how clayey/sandy it is. If it seems too hard, add some peat moss (expensive, but worth it), or some manure/compost material ($1.07/bag at lowes or home depot). You might already have a nice loam with lots of organic material, so even if you don't put anything in it, you should turn over all the dirt in the garden, digging down as deep as you can and mixing up all the dirt, then raking it all smooth, getting out all the larger rocks and roots and weeds. You shouldn't do this until the soil has warmed enough so that when you dig down several inches, pull up some dirt and squeeze it in your fist, it kind of holds it shape but crumbles very easily. Otherwise, it is still too wet and shouldn't be worked yet. Usually 4-5 (consecutive) sunny days in the mid fifties in enough.

If you don't want to go the organic route (that takes years of making your own compost to get started), then get a bag of fertilizer (one where all three numbers are nearly identical like 20-20-20, or 8-8-8 etc.). You can either get the water soluble kind (you will need to use it much more often like every two weeks) or the water insoluble kind which you will only need to use every 6 weeks or so. When you prepare the soil, toss in a handful of the water INsoluble kind every few feet and dig it into the soil.