Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seeds and plants planted the week of March 21st

A row of Mesclun Classic Mix seed was planted in the bed along the 3rd St fence. After the seeds were planted, several plants of Viola Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow were planted within the row of seeds. These produce edible flowers that are so pretty in the salad or on the plate and will be lovely growing within the row of lettuces. Divisions of chamomile plants were scattered throughout the garden and one Rosemary officinalis(upright rosemary) was added to the bed along the 3rd St fence.
On Friday March 25, a row of radish seeds and a row of broccoli raab seeds were planted in the bed along the fence. More super sugar snap pea seeds were sown in one corner of each of the 4 quadrants.
On Saturday March 26, seeds of the following plants were sown in rows in quadrant one-Spinach Bordeaux, Chervil, Galia Endive and Escarole and more lettuce Rougette de Montpellier.

The red powdery substance sprinkled liberally over top of the newly planted seeds is a mix of cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. It is very effective for discouraging the squirrels that dug all throughout the first seed planting of kale - immediately after planting. If you try this, be careful that it does not blow into your face while applying.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vegetable Garden Planting/Harvest Calendar

It might be surprising to learn that some vegetable seeds can be directly sown in the garden as early as the beginning of March. Knowledge of optimal time to plant and days to harvest allows one to plan successive plantings which help to maximize yield from a vegetable garden that could potentially produce fresh nutritious herbs and vegetables for up to nine months of the year - even without a greenhouse or cold frame. The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension office has made available online a Vegetable Garden Planting/Harvest Calendar within a document titled Planning a Vegetable Garden. The document also includes a vegetable planting guide chart full of information including spring and fall planting dates, days to harvest, planting depth and distance and much more. It also includes a suggested garden plan for a home vegetable garden with some options for succession planting schemes. The six page document contains a wealth of useful information in a very easy to read and printable format.

Now for some very exciting news - the kale seeds that were planting in the garden last Tuesday March 15th are sprouting - and there were snow flurries throughout the day today! Ah spring.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Seeds planted the week of March 14th

The first seeds were planted in the garden this week. Kale Dwarf Curly Blue is a beautiful and very nutritious leafy vegetable which should be ready to harvest in early May leaving space for planting warm season vegetables. Then another planting of kale can be made at the end of the summer. Seeds of a very pretty lettuce called Rougette de Montpellier were sown in the central bed around the chives, apple and english daisy plants. This is reportedly very cold tolerant so might possibly be planted in the beginning of March. Successive plantings will be made weekly until mid to late April and then resume again in September. Here is a bit of lettuce history for your reading pleasure. Several plantings of sugar snap peas will be made until the end of March. Seeds of fava bean were planted as an experiment. This is a cool season plant with a long growing season of 85 days and will not thrive when temperatures exceed 70 degrees. So it really is not suited to this climate but a sowing in mid February next year might be worth trying.

Monday, March 14, 2011

First planting of 2011 in the Dutch House Kitchen Garden

Introducing Enterprise dwarf apple and its companion planting of chives.

First planting of 2011 in the Dutch House Kitchen Garden

This is Goldrush dwarf apple with its companion planting of chives. The apple varieties were chosen from a list recommended by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension office of apple trees especially suited for this area and having strong disease resistance. There are enthusiastic experts serving the community through this cooperative extension office. They are a valuable resource for the farmer and the home gardener.

Monday, March 7, 2011

This is the charming gate through which one enters the Dutch House Kitchen Garden from the sidewalk along E 3rd St. Pause to notice the warmth and beauty of the old brick paving and stone threshold pieces as well as the different patterns of the brick arrangement.

Look at this gorgeous stone and how it has weathered with time and foot traffic. Notice how the brick patterning changes here at the gate. When laying brick as paving, it is important to understand how the pace at which one moves through a space is affected by the arrangement of the paving. These bricks are set perpendicular to the side of the Dutch House. This arrangement tends to slow the pace as well as direct attention to the adjacent garden.

The boxwoods have been sheared to reduce their size in order to maximize the space available for planting fruit, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.

This is where we will be building two raised beds for additional planting space. The best lumber for this purpose is cypress. It is naturally resistant to insects and decay so needs no preservative treatments. It weathers to a lovely silvery grey. We will be using boards that are one inch thick and 12 inches wide that seem especially appropriate in this context since they repeat the look of the material used in the nearby fence.

This is the view of the kitchen garden as seen from the lawn behind the Dutch House.