Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Seeds & Soil In Spring Equal Magic

"In his garden every man may be his own artist without apology or explanation."  Louise Beebe Wilder

Here in the northern Great Plains, spring is slowly beginning to unfold. Last weekend we had high winds, rain, sleet, and snow. But after all that, the grass is greener, leaves are coming out on trees, the perennial beds are bursting with new growth and the optimists among us can feel spring in the air!

During a lovely light rain, I managed to do the second planting of early vegetables yesterday...so more beets, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard, peas and carrots went into the garden tanks.

The first planting has emerged from the soil. This is what I have been waiting for since the seeds arrived. Even experienced gardeners feel a thrill when the first seeds come up.
I used a sharp, clean knife to slice the larger seed potatoes into smaller pieces each with 1 to 2 eyes or buds. The smaller potatoes will be planted whole. As soon as they form a thick callous over the cuts which will help prevent it from rotting, I will plant in one of the garden tanks. This year I will plant some in the ground and some on top of the ground ala Ruth Stout as I did last year. These potatoes are certified organic and DELICIOUS as we know from last years experience.

On the left are German Butterball heirloom potatoes from Seed Savers Exchange. First place winner in Rodale's Organic Gardening "Taste Off". The buttery yellow flesh is especially great for mashed potatoes but also a good choice for roasting or frying.

On the right are Purple Viking also from Seed Savers Exchange. This is a great tasting, slightly sweet, general purpose potato. It has a snow-white flesh and excellent storage qualities.

I started several seeds indoors yesterday. Since I have egg cartons galore, I used the Styrofoam ones for the seed planters.

I planted tomatoes, peppers and eggplant all from last summers saved seeds; along with yellow onions and hollyhocks. After planting and watering, I covered with plastic wrap to form a warm moist environment. I will be picking up grow lights today to ensure they have a constant temperature and the correct light for 14 hours per day.
Asparagus are coming up - I can see just a couple spears right now but soon we'll be indulging in my favorite spring vegetable.

A friend gave us several rhubarb plants and they are doing so well in our garden. I planted two rhubarb plants last year and they have come up too. I can't wait until I can begin to cut it for rhubarb delights.

The lilacs are forming the flowers so it won't be long.

One lone daffodil is blooming but all the bulbs are filling their buds so a sunny day should open them all. We live in the hills so we're just enough higher in elevation that our spring blooms are later than many areas.

Enjoy nature's gifts of spring.

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