Planting the Garden: First Day in the Dirt
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Garden season is officially open in my backyard: the first crops are in. Using my carefully designed crop-rotation plan, I dug the first of my raised garden beds. It was a pleasure to roll back the black plastic and find the soil warm and totally weed-free. Plus, thanks to my years of diligent composting, not to mention proximity to chicken and dairy farms, most of those beds contain a rich amount of compost and well-rotted manure.
Peas are traditionally the first to go in, along with onions and potatoes, “as soon as the soil can be worked.” I avoid planting the garden in rows if I can – but vining plants like peas will need a fence to climb, and straight rows make that task easier. I’ll use my poles and twine to build a trellis in a week or two.
Three varieties of potatoes followed: Katahdin, a standard white potato; German Butterball, a waxy russet; and Rose Finn Apple, a delectable fingerling potato. Covered with only an inch or two of soil, they’ll be mulched heavily with straw when the plants are a few inches tall. This makes more shallowly buried tubers, and easier digging when the time comes.
Finally, I seeded a small bed with some early salad crops: spinach, red amaranth, watercress and radishes. One of my favorite things about summer is stepping out the back door and picking fresh greens for the salad of the evening. According to the seed packets, I should be doing just that in about 21 days. Bring on summer!