Exodus 23:25 – “Worship the Lord and his blessing will be on your food and water.”
The best place to greet spring is in the garden and like every year, as soon as winter’s grip is loosened, Vanessa and I grab a shovel and pitchfork and head outside.
Spring marks winter’s (long overdue) departure and the awakening of – well, everything. The birds are back, the frogs are “peeping” from the creek down the hill from our home and plant life is bursting in anticipation of another growing season. All of this makes spring my favorite time of year.
Back in March, we started our onion and leek seeds. As soon as the ground is workable, these frost-hardy plants can be transplanted into the garden. If we were able, we probably would have planted these out a couple of weeks ago – even the end of April isn’t too soon – although the weather wasn’t as agreeable.
This year we planted about 100 plugs – and each plug has at least two or three seedlings. We’ve learned the onions can be planted in small groups, given enough space between groupings, and the onion bulbs will form without any problem. This saves a tremendous amount of time in planting – and eventually harvesting, as it takes the same time to plant a one-seedling plug as it does a three-seeding plug.
We adjust the spacing between the plants to accommodate the groupings. Individual onions would be planted about 3-4″ apart. We keep our groupings spaced about 8″ to allow for the plants to bulb when they mature.
Our leeks are planted similarly – with two seedlings in a pot. With the leeks, though, we dig a deep hole about 6-8″ deep and drop the whole newspaper pot in it.
As the plant grows up and out of the hole, the soil will be gradually filled in, thereby keeling the lower part of the leek white: a process called blanching.
And it’s just amazing to watch the garlic grow – seemingly right before your eyes.
So while Vanessa was planting the onions, garlic and leeks in one bed, I started preparing another bed for a different crop.
Last year, we ran out of space for our broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards and cabbage. This year, we’ve dedicated two beds for these cruciferous veggies. This weekend we planted our cauliflower, broccoli, kholrabi, kale (two types), collards, turnips, rutabagas and cabbages.
In the other bed, we’ll plant additional broccoli and cauliflower every couple of weeks for a continuous supply of fresh vegetables, along with brussels sprouts, cabbage and whatever else we’d like more of.
In addition to planting out some of the seedlings we started inside to get a jump-start on the season, we directly seeded our peas (snow peas, sugar snap peas and a shelling pea), carrots, beets, radishes, spinach and swiss chard.
All these plants can be started a few weeks ahead of the last expected frost date without any concern. Other vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn and cucumbers are heat-loving and wont tolerate even a light frost, so we’ll wait until June before introducing these to the garden.