10 March Weekly Update

Broccoli & Lettuces

Broccoli & Lettuces

Pickings this week were a good amount of broccoli side shoots and a little bit of lettuce for a lunch salad.  Much was done in the garden this past weekend though as temperatures slowly begin to rise as we make our way towards Spring.  The fig trees were pruned and we removed all of the leaf mulch from the asparagus bed and fertilized the bed with a high nitrogen fertilizer (seabird guano).  We also removed about half of the leaf mulch from the garlic, which we mulch heavily for winter.  We’ll remove the remaining mulch from the garlic early next month.

Pruned fig trees

Pruned fig trees

We also sowed early Spring “crops” that get directly seeded – carrots, head lettuce, beets, and radishes – into their designated box spaces.  Although we no longer adhere to the square foot garden method, we still have a few grids and I pulled one of them out to seed the lettuce since we have 9 different varieties we wanted to start.  It seems like the visual cue of the grids might be helpful on this task.  The unwatered back portion of the bed in the picture is where tomatillos will be planted next month.

Lettuce box

Lettuce box

Potato boxes also got prepped and we’ll plant our chitted potatoes on Monday after work (by the dark of the moon; one of those old-timer tidbits of wisdom that we chose to abide by each year).  On Saturday evening, we cut a few of the larger seed potatoes in half in order to get the number of seed potatoes we want.  You’re supposed to cut them a day or two before planting (assuming you cut any of your seed potatoes) so that the cut edge will cure (harden) a little prior to being planted.

Hardening off seedlings

Hardening off seedlings

Most of the tomato seeds we started last week in the basement have germinated!  And I expect more will come up this week along with things like peppers that have a bit longer of a germination cycle.  On Sunday we also started hardening off the cabbage, broccoli, kale, mustard, and cauliflower plants that are scheduled to be planted later this week or next weekend.

Our oldest long garden boxes (12 of ‘em) that are somewhat terraced into the slope of our backyard are now 5 years old and are starting to show it.  In particular, the lower long side of some of the boxes is starting to bow out fairly significantly as the wood ages and rots.  We had a plan to try to reinforce the problem boxes but when we went out to start working on them this weekend, it became apparent that reinforcing them was only going to stress the wood in other ways.  So we just tried our plan on one box to see if it helps or hurts and left the others as is.

The bowing out problem

The bowing out problem

Shoring up the bowing out

Shoring up the bowing out by using rebar every few feet

Since we think that some of the boxes will have to be replaced next year, we’ve started talking about what we want to use next time and how we would do things differently.  Since this mostly-hobby is something that has stuck, we will probably go with some sort of masonry boxes next time.  It’ll be a large capital outlay but will last basically forever (which is another reason we want to plan this well).  We’re contemplating having more aisle space between the long side of the boxes but doing away with the center aisles (i.e., between the short sides) and having very long rows; this is because erosion is a bit of a problem in the sloping aisles.  At this point, we’re thinking that 4 or 5 rows of very long boxes (and a bit wider than the 2-foot growing area width we have now) may be the solution for the sloping part of the yard.  Even with fewer rows, the result will be the same amount of growing space (or even a bit more) while bettering some of the small problems we’ve noticed.  But we’ve got at least an entire year to contemplate this.


Cabbages almost ready for harvesting

Overwintered Kale & Mustards

Overwintered Kale & Mustards


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8 Responses to “10 March Weekly Update”

  1. kitsapfg Says:

    The garden is looking fabulous. My oldest beds are now 8 years old and I have quite a lot of rotting etc going on with them. I intend to wait until they completely fall apart before I replace them, but like you am considering going to a concrete or masonry product edging when I do.

    • foodgardenkitchen Says:

      The rotting problem gets excerbated for us because the boxes are on a slope so the lower edge of the box gets some of the soil weight pressure just from gravity. Obviously, when we installed the boxes with untreated wood, we knew they wouldn’t last forever but we were thinking somewhere in the 7 to 10 year range. The boxes that are on the flat ground in our yard are actually 6 years old now but they’re still doing OK because there’s less soil pressure. (Or at least this is the theory going on in my head…). Of course if boxes on flat ground fall apart, you don’t have quite the erosion problem right away with the first big gully washer 🙂

  2. Barbie Says:

    LOL- With you on the beds. I’m trying like all get out to do them this season and it’s a major PITB. How old are your fig trees?

  3. Norma Chang Says:

    Wish I could keep my fig tree in the ground year round.

    • foodgardenkitchen Says:

      Once they get established here, they do OK but you need a couple of milder winters in a row for them to get established. The first two we planted 4 years ago didn’t make it because that year was a very cold winter for us. The nursery we bought them from replaced them free of charge and we were fortunate to have mild enough winters 3 years in a row now so the trees are now established.

  4. Diana Says:

    Oh those cabbages look really cute!

  5. marysveggiegarden Says:

    If you beds get much longer than 20′ you will get tired of walking around them. Mine are 20′ and that is OK.

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