I promised the gardeners that came to the market on Saturday an update on my garden and preparations for spring. I’ve started some plants by seed, germinating in the bay window in my dining room. These are the plants that take longer to grow before transplanting, about 8 weeks indoors. I have tomatoes, peppers, tobacco, and even sponge starting now.
If you plan on growing cruciferous veggies like broccoli or cabbage, it needs to be started now too. i have never had luck with these plants in the spring/summer, so i’ll start all my broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage in July to be transplanted in September. Anyways, i will start alot more veggies indoors, but not until March. Cukes, celery, pumpkins, and melons, among others, only have a 4 week growing period indoors before they need to be transplanted. They grow fast, and will actually start fading if not transplanted within 4 weeks or so of germination. I know from experience, and have had to start over with new seeds, because i killed all my cukes starting them too early.
i’m also in the process of tilling to aerate the soil . Plants don’t do as well in compact soil and need it well-drained. Tilling also makes it easier to mix in fertilizers and compost into the soil so it’s ready for planting in April. If using fertilizers, do it now, so it has time to break down. Otherwise it can burn the roots of your plants. I just tilled up my duck coop and sowed “green manure”. Buckwheat is used as a cover crop, but this will have a second benefit in the coop, because the duckies will eat it too. And it grows really fast and is ready to turn back into the soil in about a month. This puts nutrients into the soil and keeps it loose without amendments.
On to composting. You can turn yard and kitchen scraps into “gardener’s gold” by composting. If you haven’t started composting because your afraid it will stink, worry not. Anaerobic microbes that break down your compost can create a smell. To cut down on this aerate your pile regularly. This means to turn your compost and make sure it stays moist. i know alot of people use bins, which makes it easy to turn. I just have a big pile in the back of my yard, caged in on 3 sides, and i turn it with a pitchfork.
It is far better to be free to govern or misgovern yourself than to be governed by anybody else.~ Kwame Nkrumah