Saturday, May 15, 2010

Harrowing and Planting the Squash Patch

Today, I planted some recently sown "experiment station squash" seedlings. They are all children of a single acorn squash that I cooked for last year's Thanksgiving Day meal. This squash's seeds are amazingly prolific, and produce some pretty impressive yields.

Below is a photo of the current batch just about one week ago, after the seedlings began emerging from their peat pellets. The tray is sitting on my tile table in the Hawkins House mud room, which is well ventilated and gets a lot of sunlight and seems like an ideal nursery for most seedlings:

Last fall, after I had turned the garden bed that these seedlings were ultimately destined for, I sowed a mixture of winter rye and crimson clover as a wintertime cover crop to hold the soil together. Of course, once the temperatures began to warm up, these small crops began to grow dramatically. Below is a photo of the rye and clover mixture just a few days ago. You can see that much of the clover has already begun to flower:

A crimson clover's flower up close:

So last weekend, I incorporated the cover crop into the soil. I did this first by cutting the plants down by hand, and then used a stirrup hoe to separate the remaining stems from the roots and further break the root systems up just beneath the surface:

Then, tilling with a large cultivator, I worked all the material down into the soil as much as possible, and let the bed just sit the rest of the week to try to get the crop material to begin decomposing a bit:

Naturally, a small percentage of the clover and rye that didn't get completely incorporated was beginning to take hold again, so today, I tilled the soil one more time, and then tamped it down. The photo below shows much of the bed after the soil was tamped:

A view of the bed from the other direction:

Finally, I planted the squash seedlings and watered them. I planted a total of about 35 seedlings; five seedlings I had given to a friend for her garden, and about seven or eight didn't thrive. Not a bad yield, though, I thought, for a simple store-bought squash. The photo below shows the seedlings contently relaxing in their new home:

Today, I also directly sowed some tarragon, cinnamon basil, and wild marjoram seeds in a small area outside the border of the main bed:

Often, I'll fill small areas like this one (delineated by the fescue and the flagstone) with random plantings, with no particular objective or plan in mind. I refer to these small areas as micro gardens. Not sure exactly what motivates me to do this; it's just something I like to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment