Well Its that time again. We have started seeds inside and purchased trees online. It is still a little early but today we started seeds outside as well. My husband got me an electrical rotor-tiller for my birthday back in January. We have wanted one and needed one and a birthday or holiday is a good time to get big ticket items and be able to not feel guilty for spending money. SunJo is the brand he got me-it is perfect for our size of garden space. It is amazing! So much power and made quick work and was so easy. We tilled up the area by the fence where we did corn last year and did not have much luck. We have added so much to the area such as ashes, compost, and close to a foot worth of leaf chippings from the summer and fall. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that the corn does better in that area this year.
We also rotor-tilled one of the 4 garden boxes. In the fall we added about 8 inches of chipped leaves to the boxes, they were getting pretty low on their soil level. I also have been direct composting all winter to the boxes. Now that we are planting seeds in the boxes I will start putting all my kitchen scraps into the compost tumbler again. Fruit and veggie scraps as well as used tea bags and coffee grounds have been tossed over the fencing into the boxes every morning. The dog goes potty and sniffs around and I pick up a few sticks in the yard and then we go back inside for more coffee and to get ready for work. My husband built wonderful fencing for the boxes last year and it kept the bunnies out all summer long. It also kept them out all winter long too. The garden box that we rotor-tilled up this afternoon is a 4 foot by 4 foot box. There is a trellis that is on one side and this is the side that we planted our sugar snap peas, I saved these from last years crop. There are 5 rows with a total of 90 seeds. Then in the other two thirds of the garden box I planted in 10 rows of 150 beet seeds.
Last year our beets did not grow as well as we would have liked. We have figured there are a few changes that need to be made. The dirt in the box was very hard and compact and needed some nutrition as well as loosening and softening in order for the root vegetables to expand and grow underground. We added a great deal of leaf mulch which we are hoping will lighten up the heavy soil so that it will retain more water and nutrients for the vegetables. Another issue that I personally have when planting the garden is that I get too excited about the plants growing and eating healthier for less money and I plant all of the seeds into too small of a space and I do not thin them out. So this year I did give some of the seeds away to a neighbor friend and planted the rest in three times the amount of space. My husband says that we will thin the veggies this year. We have been growing a garden together for nine years-we have yet to ever thin out the weaker smaller plants – we like to give them all a chance. We have learned if they are all going to have a chance they all need more room.
We did some inside gardening as well. The pumpkin sprouts and the spaghetti squash sprouts, both from the seeds I saved from last years crops, have all sprouted and are all over 6 inches high. Their root systems needed more dirt and room. So the pumpkins got split into two small indoor pots and the spaghetti squash got split into three small indoor pots. All went back onto the table that has the electric blanket as well as the grow light shining on it at all times for the last three weeks. The two trays of sunflowers that are also six inches high each went into small pots. Three trays that had a total of 6 marigold sprouts got condensed into a small pot and the tomato sprouts have had half of the sprouts taken out and put into a small indoor pot. All pots went back onto the electric blanket where they get the grow light 24 hours a day. The husband is a bit worried that they are going too fast and soon our home will be taken over by plants.
The two blueberry bushes are doing amazing inside the house in their little blue indoor pots, across from the window where all the seeds were started. The three fruit trees that we purchased earlier this year are in their big pots in the living room in front of one of the sliding glass doors. I have kept these blinds open even at night to allow as much light to them as possible. These particular set of sliding glass doors face the back yard so no one can see in from the street, so we don’t mind them being open all the time. We purchased a peach, golden delicious apple and a Bing cherry tree. The peach and apple are being very stubborn and have not sprouted any leaves yet. The Bing cherry is being a good little tree and has so many little leaves all over its twigs. We would like to plant the trees on the side yard using the Espalier training style. A good friend who does this highly recommended it. They produce a higher yield in a smaller space and all the fruit is produced in easy harvesting reach. We have just a few concerns. Such as if we can reach the fruit so can the deer that we have seen in the yard. Also we have been told that they need a great deal of pruning and attention. There are only two of us and three of them so far. We are out numbered because these three do not include the two apple trees and the two pear trees that are already well established outside in the same side yard area. We both work full time jobs including a few part time jobs as well. It is the start of a very small orchard, we are hoping to have enough time to tend the trees in our busy lives. We are estimating at this time to only have to spend close to 10 minutes twice a day watering them and checking to see they are doing well. We will probably spend close to an hour every Saturday establishing their growing structure once we have the trees and support posts in the ground.
So far RickabaughReviews approves of using an electric blanket as a heat mat and grow lights to get seeds started. It will be a few weeks before we know if Espalier style is for us but until then we are checking out a few digital books from the local public library.