ARE YOU PLANTING YOUR SPRING GARDEN?

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iceagefarmer
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ARE YOU PLANTING YOUR SPRING GARDEN?

#1 Post by iceagefarmer » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:49 am

What's going in!? How much? Are you psyched!?!?!?!

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Re: ARE YOU PLANTING YOUR SPRING GARDEN?

#2 Post by Farside » Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:48 pm

I moved from New Zealand to Canada a little over ten years ago. One of the biggest shocks I experienced is just how much you have to HUSSLE when there is only 90 days of frost free growing.

Although a lot of that can be mitigated by greenhouses and starting seedlings indoors, my concern as a permaculturist is producing annual food at scale and I've been researching ways to push the limits in this climate using direct seeding into the soil without any capital intensive infrastructure.

2 weeks ago I sprinkled used coffee grounds on my growing beds. This accelerates snow thaw and gets the sun on my soil as quickly as possible. They have been clear for about 5 days but are still frozen solid. There is still a good 2 ft of snow in my garden paths and on the surrounding area where no coffee grounds were applied.

By April 14 I usually have 10cm of thawed ground (below that it is still frozen solid) and the soil temp is about 5 to 8 degrees C. I plant barley, spinach, and bok choi then.
This might seem extreme, but by the time June 14 rolls around, it is so hot that the spinach is bolting. That gives me an 8 week window to grow spring spinach and I get 1 cutting (or 2 if I'm lucky and get a cool, damp spring) before the plants are pulled. If I'm a week late then I get baby spinach, and if I delay until May 1 then I don't get any spinach at all.

Yesterday I removed the top (thawed) layer of mulch from my garlic beds to expose the frozen mulch below. I also removed the last of the hay I used to insulate my young air layered berry bushes that went into pots last fall. I also removed the hay mulch from over the top of my strawberry pups so that the soil can also thaw.

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Re: ARE YOU PLANTING YOUR SPRING GARDEN?

#3 Post by Farside » Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:26 pm

My sweet potato experiment is beginning to take off.
SweetPotatoe_sm.jpg
SweetPotatoe_sm.jpg (103.83 KiB) Viewed 714 times
The one peeking out of the top of the container is growing at around an inch per day.

This variety is a Japanese sweet potato and I chose it because it is exactly like Kumara (the sweet potato grown in New Zealand). It isn't orange and mushy when cooked, and it isn't sweet like candy.

It is also twice the price of normal sweet potato and their supply is limited.

As you can see, they are growing in a container of water. Each piece is sitting on a section of plastic water bottle I cut up for the purpose. This enables the roots to grow down into the water and not get too tangled up.

I've heard of people successfully growing normal sweet potato here so I thought that this year I would experiment with these. If anyone here has had kumara fries then you know why!

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Re: ARE YOU PLANTING YOUR SPRING GARDEN?

#4 Post by Green-Eyed Gimlet » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:31 pm

I live on an island off Vancouver Island, BC. The changes are noticeable here.I'm incorporating short season plants this year and trying new items like Moringa, Hamburg parsley, Amaranth, Glass Gem popcorn, Lambs Ear, etc. 40 different seeds all told. All plants have multi-purpose. So I will see what works, what doesn't and what I can trade for... like fresh eggs.

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Re: ARE YOU PLANTING YOUR SPRING GARDEN?

#5 Post by dirtmurphy » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:56 pm

We ate fresh asparagus yesterday and are about to have King Stropharia for dinner. I just harvested it this morning. I've been transplanting lots of spring greens: lettuces, arugula, beets. I still need to transplant kale. Peas, mustard greens, sochan, carrots, onions, and garlic are doing well. I'm finally almost done transplanting peppers into 4" pots and I'm planning a plant sale for May 4. Amaranth and tulsi just started being born this week. Cukes, squash, and sunflower are planted but not up yet. Oh, and the hens have been working hard. I'm very proud of them :D

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Re: ARE YOU PLANTING YOUR SPRING GARDEN?

#6 Post by Farside » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:12 pm

Came in to work this morning and the sweet potato is half way to my colleague's laptop. I think I may have sprouted them too soon...

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Re: ARE YOU PLANTING YOUR SPRING GARDEN?

#7 Post by Farside » Fri May 03, 2019 6:27 pm

So it's been snowing here for the last 3 days. It's late for spring snow, but not unheard of. None of my seeds have sprouted although I noticed garlic shoots poking their heads up.

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Re: ARE YOU PLANTING YOUR SPRING GARDEN?

#8 Post by dirtmurphy » Fri May 03, 2019 11:31 pm

No snow here thank goodness! The garden is doing well so far except for insect damage to the kale. Today I started planting corn and beans as well as worked on expanding our medicinal herb garden. I also transplanted some sunflowers. Tomorrow I need to finish transplanting the herbs and then start transplanting tomatoes and peppers.
The King Stropharia has been producing heavily. I can't keep up with it. So far I've sold 5 lbs and have probably given away at least twice that. We eat it every day and I've been dehydrating it for summer and winter use.
It looks like we're going to have a good berry year. Strawberries, wine berries, raspberries, and elder berries all look like they're going to bear heavily. Our peach tree is full of tiny peaches.
The chickens are also doing well. Lowena's wound healed nicely after a couple of weeks of twice daily yarrow wound wash and comfrey poultices.
So, other than being overworked, I can't complain.

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Re: ARE YOU PLANTING YOUR SPRING GARDEN?

#9 Post by Farside » Wed May 08, 2019 3:59 pm

dirtmurphy wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 11:31 pm
No snow here thank goodness! The garden is doing well so far except for insect damage to the kale. Today I started planting corn and beans as well as worked on expanding our medicinal herb garden. I also transplanted some sunflowers. Tomorrow I need to finish transplanting the herbs and then start transplanting tomatoes and peppers.
The King Stropharia has been producing heavily. I can't keep up with it. So far I've sold 5 lbs and have probably given away at least twice that. We eat it every day and I've been dehydrating it for summer and winter use.
It looks like we're going to have a good berry year. Strawberries, wine berries, raspberries, and elder berries all look like they're going to bear heavily. Our peach tree is full of tiny peaches.
The chickens are also doing well. Lowena's wound healed nicely after a couple of weeks of twice daily yarrow wound wash and comfrey poultices.
So, other than being overworked, I can't complain.
Haha I had the same experience with Oyster mushrooms last summer! I traded for all sorts of things, and in many respects it was the most productive year for the garden even though my beans and peas died from disease.

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Re: ARE YOU PLANTING YOUR SPRING GARDEN?

#10 Post by Farside » Fri May 10, 2019 12:42 pm

Well it was snowing again here yesterday. Just light snow mixed with rain. But snow nonetheless. What is more damaging are the hard frosts that follow.

I did make a great score earlier in the week. Last year I gave someone some mushrooms in return for me being able to take cuttings of their Jostaberry bushes. This week I went over to collect them. I decided to air layer since you get a much more advanced plant at the end of the process.

This garden has a permaculture approach, and with all the leaf growth yet to come in one plant looks very much like the other. I was 2/3 through my first air layer when my friend realized that he had directed me to a haskap. Since he had a number of haskaps, and none of them produce much fruit at all, he decided to dig up an entire bush and give it to me, and he'll do the same with the Jostaberrry at a later time.

The thing with Haskaps is that you need two different varieties to get good yields. On variety, the fruit producer (which is what I just got), and another (the pollinator) which tends to produce fruit that is more astringent and not great for fresh eating. To complicate matters, Haskap varieties flower at different times so you need to pair up a specific pollinator with a specific fruiting variety. My friend doesn't have a pollinator which explains his problem, but when I tried to tell him this he wasn't very interested in listening and just gave me the bush.

Now, the reason I know all this about Haskaps is that last summer I was on the hunt of some bushes to take air layers from, and a local woman had two large ones but she didn't like the fruit. They look sort of like blueberries and she had expected a blueberry flavour. But they are not the same. She was disillusioned with the whole Haskap experience, and so I went over and pruned the bushes for her in exchange for some air layers (I got 4 plants from the exercise). After some research into Haskaps, I discovered that her plants were pollinators, which goes a long way to explain why she wasn't too impressed with the fruit. Now it turns out that these pollinators are fully compatible with the new bush I just got from my friend.

I'm certain that the reason this is happening is that the garden centers who sell these bushes don't do their homework, and often only stock one variety at any given time. So if you ever buy perennials from a garden center it is really worth doing your own homework first before buying anything unfamiliar. The labelling also fails to communicate this vital information.

Anyway yeah, Haskaps. Look them up. They are an extremely cold hardy and early fruiting perennial food shrub. They are one of the first plants to flower, and so they are an important food source for pollinators.

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