Saturday, April 14, 2012

Planting the Spring Vegetable Garden

Finally - a sunny weekend in the forecast! I got up and headed right to the Farmer's Market and the Hayhurst stand. Top on my agenda today was getting my onion seedlings planted. For the last 3 years I have planted purchased onion seedlings instead of onion sets and have been thrilled with the results. My plants are larger, healthier, and have produced bigger bulbs from seedlings. For the past two years I have planted the red storage onion "Mars" and the yellow storage onion "Prince". Both have grown well and stored amazingly well. I am still pulling last year's onions out of storage now and they are firm, juicy, and in great condition. When I stopped at the Hayhurst stand this morning I was disappointed to discover that they weren't carrying "Prince" this year. It has been replaced by "Frontier" another yellow storage onion. I was assured that I would like "Frontier" just as much as "Prince" so I picked up a six-pack of it as well as one of "Mars" and headed home to plant.

I started by building a long, narrow raised bed, parallel to the garlic row. Once I had my bed constructed I set in 10 plants of "Mars" and 14 plants of "Frontier". I then watered in my seedlings well with a good drink of liquid kelp fertilizer.

A newly planted "Frontier" onion.

And a new "Mars" plant. You can see the immature bulb is red even at this young age.

Directly in front of the new onion row is the garlic row that was planted last October. The plants seem to be doing well. The tallest of them are about 14-16" tall now. The plants do seem to have a bit of yellowing in some of the leaves. I gave them a good drink of the kelp fertilizer too and hope this helps.

Here is a picture of the "Chesnook Red" plants, a hard-neck variety. They appear to have recovered from getting buried in a couple feet of snow last month after all of the snow from the roof landed directly on them. They seem to be growing in a much more compact fashion than the two soft-neck varieties.

Here is the section of "Nootka Rose". "Nootka Rose" is my only variety that has sent up more than one shoot from the individual cloves that were planted.

And finally the Silver Rose " plants.

And then there are my poor "Blauschokker Purple Pod" Pea plants. They have really struggled since getting planted a month ago. I have discovered that they really need more to climb on than this bean tower offers and getting buried in snow wasn't very helpful either. I think that I have lost about 6 plants at this point.

But those that are left have finally gotten a hold of the tower and are putting on some really healthy, vigorous new growth. We might yet see a pea blossom from this motley group!

After I finished getting the onions planted and covered I moved on to my second project. I built another raised bed. This one is for my Spring radish crop. I planted six rows with a total of four varieties. They are:
  • "Cherry Belle" Red Radish - Territorial Seed. A new variety for me this year
  • "Early Scarlet Globe" Red Radish - Seed Savers Exchange - A new variety for me this year
  • "Plum Purple" Purple Radish - Seed Savers Exchange - I grew this last year
  • "Ostergrub Rosa" Pink Radish - The Cook's Garden - A new variety for me this year

As you can see, Tom-cat was a huge help with my planting projects. I think that the cats were as excited as the humans were to finally have some sunshine to enjoy. The temperature hit 64 degrees and it felt wonderful.

After I finished planting the radish I covered them up with a remay cover as well. Last year the birds pulled up my just-sprouted radish seedlings so I have learned my lesson. I will remove the remay tunnel after the plants reach a couple of inches high.

Parvati and I hope that wherever you were today, you had a chance to get outside and enjoy some sun - Yawn!


Beth said...

Love your raised beds and Tom-cat! I raise cherry belle radishes as well. Looks like your garden is off to a good start!

Athena at Minerva's Garden said...

Love your cats! One of our cats made my post today as well! Your garden is fantastic--I really like the way you have it set up. The garlic looks wonderful--I have some that keeps coming back on its own, and I think it was Nootka Rose that I planted. I started Walla Walla Sweet onions from seed, and need to get my little seedlings into the ground very soon as well. I am late with peas, but it was so cold and rainy I held off earlier, and hope to plant them this weekend. Your pea plants look healthy, and you'll have peas before I do! I have a salad greens bed in, with starts and seeds, and the seeds germinated, so we're off to the races! They are all under plastic covers with hoops. Too much rain and cold at night here.

Clint Baker said...

Looks like you are off to a great start!

Michelle@ Simplifiy, Live, Love said...

My sister lived in Portland for a number of years and I loved visiting your beautiful state of Oregon! She's been in Seattle know for several years and I have yet to get out there to visit her since she's moved. I miss the PNW. Might have to get out of there soon. Lovely garden you have there!!

Thanks for your suggestions about my carrots!

Susan said...

Looking good - I love the raised beds!

And I feel just the way your sweet kitty felt after a day in the garden!

Becky @ Vegetable Garden Hub said...

Those floating row covers are great, aren't they? We've been using them too, with great success. Keeps the birds away from our seeds and greenhouse transplants. But our biggest problem are slugs right now, ugh! We're in Oregon as well - seems to be slug heaven.