Despite the patriotic meaning of Memorial Day, here in Maine this weekend marks the beginning of summer. Memorial Day weekend is planting time. We can safely say there will be no more frosts and most days get into the 70's or above by now. Tomatoes start shooting up like rockets, the cool weather crops are at their height and it's time to plant squash and cucumber seeds. That is exactly what I have done this weekend.
In my last post I had mentioned not gardening this weekend because Montana Man was home. I seemed to have forgotten he had a house and truck to work on! So, not wanting to waste the reasonably good weather I decide to scoot across the street to the farm store and grab some potting mix to get going. I looked online first to see how much this was going to run me (that's a Maine term... things don't cost you, they 'run yah') and I determined that the price of potting soil is dumb. Instead I got two 23# bags of organic compost and one 30# bag of organic garden soil as well as some organic slow release fertilizer. Back home I filled my wheel barrow about 2/3 full of our sand infused well rotted horse manure and proceeded to mix in batches about 4 parts sandy manure, 2 parts compost and 1 part garden soil. I mixed this all by hand and trowel... which took forever. My poor belly and arm muscles got a workout!
With my new soil all ready to be put to use, I first potted up some flowers I had gotten for my mom's birthday. Then I organized what needed to be potted up right now and what could wait and selected my sizes. Tomatoes were first in the five gallon pots. I filled each about 2/3 full of soil and then added two tablespoons of fertilizer and worked it in. I then took the tomato starts out of their little pots after striping off most of the lower leaves and placed the plant in the center. I then just filled in soil around it until only the top leaves were above the soil. All of the buried stem will sprout new roots and thus will have a much stronger root system.
Four bell pepper plants, two Jalapeno and one cayenne pepper plants all got planted in my hot pepper Topsy Turvy I got for a deal on Amazon. I will enjoy seeing how they grow upside down hanging from the framing in the greenhouse. It also elates me to have more raised bed and pot space to play with!
After mixing another batch of soil, more five gallon pots got filled (same as for tomatoes: 2/3 full, work in fertilizer, fill to top with more soil) and I planted two types of pumpkins, Delicata squash and Butternut squash. In two gallon pots I planted zucchini (1 tablespoon of fertilizer for this size).
Unsure of where I want my cucumbers to be quite yet, I planted seeds in the small 4" pots. Hopefully once they are a couple weeks old I will know where to put them!
I seem to have run low on soil again... time to call it a day!
My morning started in what is called the "grey hour". That mystical hour before the sun peeks up over the horizon but is hovering just high enough below it to light the world into a eerie grayness. I have always loved the grey hour. Normally I sleep right through it, after all I am no early bird. But, my precious little two year old finally decided at 4:45 am she was hungry after refusing to eat supper last night. I knew there would be no hope of her falling back asleep. Rather than being upset about the few more hours of sleep I was forfeiting, I just listened for a moment before getting up to get her. It was so... noisy! The Cardinal was singing his good morning song in a chorus with the other birds, my rooster roused and crowed a few times, the horses feet scuffling by his water. After I got little girl settled quietly in the living room and started my coffee, I was reminded that the world starts its day hours before I do. Nature's day dwellers awaken with the sun's rising and happily goes to rest at dusk. It has a lovely balance to it. In summer there is much to do and less sleep is prudent to make the most of the season. In winter there is nothing but to stay warm and fed and more sleep is welcomed to conserve energy and pass the days quicker. With having chickens, it's hard not to observe when they go to roost and when the rooster calls his girls to wake, no one tells them what to do! They don't fret over how many hours they get or the latest research, to them it is simple and not thought of. Not likely to happen, but it makes me wonder if rising and resting with the sun as generations before us did, would solve our tricky body clock issues. Just a thought.
After I put Mini down for a much needed early nap, I resumed my planting from the day before. I mixed another wheel barrow full of soil ( I had run for more compost and garden soil earlier) and proceeded in filling the rest of the pots I needed. I had four rainbow chard in small 4" pots that got replanted into one five gallon and then I started digging up the kale out of my deep raised bed. I put four in their own two gallon pots and the rest in two larger pots (5 in each). The chard and kale in individual pots are going to a friend.
Next I moved my prep table outside putting the newly planted cucumber seeds on it. I then worked some of the fertilizer into the now empty part of the deep raised bed and planted my two Rutgers tomato plants in opposite ends. Sixty of my Copra onions were planted in front of and between the Rutgers. So now the deep bed has two tomatoes, sixty onions and about 100 Yaya carrots. The remaining twelve onions went in between the rainbow chard in one of the smaller raised beds. I could have gotten all the onions into the large bed but I am hoping they will mature into large bulbs so I didn't want to crowd them.
I planted two five gallon pots with Kentucky Wonder pole beans and one five gallon with Northeaster pole beans, planting four seeds around temporary poles. I need to scavenge some tall saplings to make a four pole teepee in each pot once they sprout. And, finally I worked some compost into one of the empty raised beds to get it ready for the perpetual spinach that will be ready to plant in there in a few more days.
So except for a few more seedling transplants I am done with planting! Now it will be a summer of tending and watching everything grow.
I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! I'm going to go nurse my sciatic nerves that are on fire now.