It's All About Consistency, Part Two

Part two of a two-part post.  The first part is here.

The midafternoon yesterday was devoted to transplanting a third row of leeks in addition to the ones I got in last Thursday, plus putting in the last planting of potatoes (the ones that were supposed to be Purple Peruvians but were instead a blend of red, yellow, and blue storage potatoes).

It didn’t make sense to return those potatoes since it’s already pretty late to be putting them in, so I made them a new bed.  I will have to call the company and find out exactly what the varieties are, so I know what I’m growing (and can tell my customers).

The blue ones are easy–they’re called “All Blue,” and I’ve grown them before.  The red ones are likely Cranberry Reds, but the yellow ones are a mystery.  Yukons, I’d have thought–but they aren’t as yellow insideas Yukons usually are.  So I guess I’ve got some mystery potatoes for the time being.

I’ve got about half of the newly developed area (between the east and northeast gardens) planted between the double row of cabbages, the three beds of leeks, and that last bed of potatoes.

I guess, since I’m going to have to manage it separately from the east and northeast gardens, it should be dubbed the “east-central garden”–my seventh garden!  The management consists of putting in only transplants that are easy to do weed control (that is, hoe) around because that spot has been grassy and weedy for the last several years.

Not only transplants, but about half of them will be planted in a trench, so they can easily be “hilled” or filled in by pulling down the soil from the sides of the trenches into the planted row.  That makes weed control easier because I’ll simultaneously hoe the weeds and hill the potatoes/blanch the leeks.  That’s the grand plan.

Cabbages should be easy to keep weed-free while they’re younger by hoeing around the widely-spaced plants.  Once they get big, they tend to shade out further weed growth.  I’ll probably also plant broccoli in that area–another widely-spaced brassica that can easily be hoed.  What else?  Maybe peppers and/or eggplant–again–easy to hoe around.

The last project of the afternoon was to take another stab at the Canada thistle issue in the west garden–an ongoing struggle–and to hill the very first planting of potatoes–the Russian Bananas.  It’s hard to believe I was planting and hilling potatoes on the same day–but that’s how it goes.

The Red French fingerlings are also planted in the west garden, and they’re just barely starting to poke up–I was worried about them with all the deer tracks in that bed previous to the new configuration of the electric fence.  But they’re peeking through now, so I can rest my mind and focus instead on the !@#$%^& thistles.

I dug out two buckets full of them plus what dandelions I found and dumped them on the bottom of where I’ll be creating a new compost pile in a week or so.  That wasn’t all of the thistles, but it was enough for the day’s work. Then I hoed the edges of the planted beds and the whole of the two beds still sitting empty there.

Had I gotten the 10lbs of green manure seed I ordered a couple of months ago, those beds would be in a cover crop by now.  I still don’t know when or if that’s coming (another reason to call the company that sent me the wrong potatoes).

Also in that garden, the cilantro is starting to emerge, and the dill is up, too.  It turned out I didn’t need to replant the two varieties of lettuce I sowed in that garden, but the stands aren’t as thick as I’d like them to be.  I’ve got to get some romaines going for when summer comes on and the salad mix gives out.

I keep wondering how it’s all going to fit together this year.  I haven’t got beets in yet (maybe in one or two of those empty west garden beds–well protected from rabbits), and I’m not sure where the pole beans will go–that’s going to be the biggest project because of the trellising I’ll likely have to erect for at least one of the varieties.

The summer crop placement is starting to fall together in my mind in some respects–tomatoes in the central garden, maybe peppers in where the spinach is now, summer squash in the middle of the raab/bok choy row, cukes on the west garden trellises.

The tomato project is always fraught because of the sheer number of plants–I’m thinking of horizontal trellising this year at least for the slicers–vertical will work better for the cherry types because there’s so much more picking involved.

I know that I’ll get it all worked out in the end, and as long as I keep on top of what’s in the gardens currently (so as to avoid the weed-control anxiety I mentioned in part one of this post), I can focus the better part of my strategizing on the puzzle that is 40-some different crops in seven different gardens in the space of one season.

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