Addition to Post: Hey, All! I've written a guest post over on Dig the Dirt. Go take a peek and leave a comment if you wish. (After arriving on the site, scroll down in "Popular Member Posts" and click on Mama Pea. I believe you cannot comment on my post without being a member, but that doesn't entail too much.)
I know what I'm going to blog about today will seem ridiculous to those of you gardeners in more temperate climates (who have your tomatoes in the ground already, for Pete's sake!), but yesterday I planted out one of our garden beds. It was the earliest I have EVER put seeds in the ground here in northern Minnesota.
April 11th! In a normal year, we would still have snow covering the beds. Because of our winter's scant amount of snow melting so early this year and warm(ish) temperatures also gracing us earlier than usual, I've been debating for some time whether I should try some cold hardy veggies in one of our garden beds.
Yesterday the sunshine and 60 degrees got the better of me, and I just went for it.
I had my choice of about 21 beds to plant in, and I chose this one. Some beds have permanent plantings in them, and currently we're using three for compost making. This one didn't have too many weeds growing in it yet so I deemed it THE ONE.
I turned the soil over with my trusty spading fork (lots of earthworms --- good sign), smoothed it out with a rake, and started planting.
Here I am making a furrow for planting radishes with my pointy-little-furrow-making stick.
Ta-dah! The bed totally planted and watered.
Our beds are 4' x 8' and I plant in 4' rows. The soil in the beds is good enough that I plant very intensively with only 6" of spacing between the rows. Granted, some veggies require a wider spacing, but for salad greens and such, I get by very nicely with only 6".
I planted 5 rows of lettuce, 5 rows of radishes, 4 rows of spinach and 1 row of arugula. That equals SIXTY feet of veggies in a 4' x 8' garden bed. It truly is amazing what you can do in a small space if you have good soil.
Because it wouldn't be uncommon to have an occasional frost at night all the way through May, I got hubby's help to put one of our cold frames on top of the bed. Now all I have to do is remember to water the bed regularly, open up the frame for ventilation in the morning so the little greenies don't suffocate and/or get fried by the sun (the cold frames overheat very easily), and then be sure to close it up at night to keep chilblains from setting in.
Yup, way, way early for gardening outside in northern Minnesota. Will my efforts turn out to be worth it this year? Or will it have been an exercise in futility? Only time will tell . . . but I'm already salivating just thinking about those fresh-from-the-garden salads!
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