Last week saw a flurry of activity here, as the weather finally began to resemble spring. I felt like a bear coming out of hibernation after a long winter! Warmer temperatures and windy conditions helped dry out the wet soil too. It was certainly good to get out and do some work, and I was able to plant potatoes and onions here on Saturday. Since onions are fairly heavy feeders, I amended the soil with some organic fertilizer, including a bagged chicken manure based product called Chickity Doo Doo. Hopefully that will help grow some nice onions this year.
I also weeded and fertilized the garlic beds, applying blood meal to give them an extra shot of nitrogen. The garlic beds were less weedy than last spring, which no doubt is partly due to our colder winter, but is also a result of better weed control in general throughout the year. I lost a few plants over the winter, but for the most part the garlic is looking good and growing nicely. It’s typically ready to start digging here in sometime in July.
On Friday I was finally able to get the tiller out and break ground at the Impact Community Garden. We are scheduled to plant potatoes and onions there later today. And hopefully we can plant broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and kohlrabi sometime next week. I have plants almost ready in the greenhouse, but they still need to be hardened off. I need to get them planted here as well, once I get the beds ready for them. And I need to sow some radish and carrot seeds here as soon as possible. It’s a busy time of year for sure!
Another current project is the rooting of sweet potatoes from the purple fleshed variety we are calling Carla’s Purple. I am rooting one of them in water, and one in a container of soil. The one I rooted in water is showing some nice sprouts already. Sweet potatoes can be sprouted in either water or soil, and I’ve done them both ways in the past. For sprouting in soil, I just lay the potato horizontally in a container filled with a good quality potting soil or seed starting mix, and cover with a couple of inches of the same soil. A shallow container like a bulb pan or dish garden planter works well for this. Bottom heat from a heating mat will speed the sprouting process.
For sprouting in water, you insert toothpicks in the root end of the sweet potato and suspend it in a jar filled with water. Norma Chang has a great article (with photos) about how to tell which end of the sweet potato should be put in water. I can’t describe it any better myself, so I will refer you to her Growing Sweet Potato Slips from last year if you need help with that. I am really looking forward to growing this lovely purple variety that was given to me by our friend Carla.
In non-gardening news, I have decided to set up a Facebook page for Our Happy Acres. I envision this as a way to reach a slightly different audience, and also as a way to post updates and items of interest that don’t really warrant a full-blown blog post here. I know, I know, I said you would never see me on Facebook, but there I am, fork in hand in the profile photo, just like my Gravatar. My wife thinks Twitter will be next, but I don’t think so. We will see!
Last week also saw its share of drama, when Randy’s Tree Service came to cut down a few dead trees for us and wound up cutting down our lovely, large pie cherry tree. They also ran over one of our two year old pawpaw trees in the process. They have done work for us before, and did a good job then, but their performance this time was extremely unprofessional and inexcusable. They have told us they will ‘work something out’ in the way of adjusting their fee, but how do you make up for a mature and producing cherry tree? All we have now is some photos and a few cherries in the freezer. It is safe to say they will never be welcome back here again.
And to close on a happier note, my wife found the first asparagus spears poking out of the ground yesterday. Soon we will be enjoying one of my favorite homegrown vegetables. This will be the 7th year for most of this patch, so it is coming into the prime bearing age. Last year we hauled in 30 pounds of it, and if it does that well again this year I will be a happy camper for sure. Go asparagus!
Rest assured I will be back here, there, and everywhere with more adventures as they develop. Until then, Happy Growing from Happy Acres!