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Garden Preparation: A Day in the Garden

| 5/28/2010 1:05:39 PM

A portrait of Susy, the author of Chiots Run.My mom has nice soil and a nice open sunny area in her back yard with a traditional rowed garden. She's been generous enough to increase the garden each year to let me grow sun-loving crops in exchange for some seeds, plants and work. A few Wednesdays ago I went to my mom's house, and we spent a day working on garden preparation for the season. She covers her garden with a tarp over the winter to protect the soil and to keep the weed seeds out. We uncovered the garden and went to work amending the soil a bit and planting a few early crops.

Tilling the garden

Traditionally here in Ohio you plant peas and potatoes on St Patrick's day (which we missed by a few weeks). It was too cold on that holiday, and it's been pretty wet this spring, so we've been waiting for the weather to break to start planting. We spent the entire day getting the garden ready and then planting 8 rows of peas and 4 rows of potatoes and some onions. We follow a more intensive planting system so we plant wider rows of plants instead of single rows with walkways in between. In the walkways we're planning on adding stepping stones and lower-growing plants to make even better use of the space, perhaps beets, chamomile, and other low growing herbs.

A day in the garden

We planted peas and potatoes for the freezer and the pantry. I'm hoping for a good pea harvest so I can enjoy lots of peas in our winter stews and a pantry full of potatoes to eat on all winter. What varieties did we plant?

Wando peas: 68 days, produces good yields of 3 ½-inch long sweet peas. Pods have 6 to 8 dark green peas. A remarkable high quality variety that is resistant to warm weather and drought conditions. The Wando Pea will grow a crop during the driest, hottest summer months, at a time other varieties fail. High in Vitamin A, B, and C. Excellent freezing and canning variety. Vines are 26 inches tall.

S.M.R. Saia
6/1/2010 11:38:30 AM

That looks great. I'm having trouble with my peas. I had the same trouble last year. They come up great and grow and grow and grow and then just kind of turn white and crispy... I'm not sure why. I'm trying Yukon Gold potatoes this year too. I hope they turn out well. I got mine in about 5 April. I also have some early yeild red potatoes that have already bloomed and dropped thier blossoms! I love that idea with the tarp. I think I should do that this year. I really have a continuing battle with weeds. Thanks for sharing!

Nebraska Dave
5/28/2010 4:45:31 PM

Susy, You have been busy busy busy. The weather has popped here in Nebraska too. It went from 40 degree days to 85 – 90 degree days almost overnight. I waited so long to get the plants in the ground hoping that the ground would warm up and be better. So far I think that was a good idea. Everything looks so good. Every morning while drinking my wake up cup of coffee, I have to stroll through the garden to see how everything is doing and if any creatures of the night have come a visiting. Only a couple times have I noticed a spot where I think a rabbit nestled down in the straw mulch for the night, but nothing eaten. I hope it stays that way. I really tried peas one year. They all grew well, but by the time I had removed them from the pods, processed them in the canner, and stored them away I wished I had just went to the store and bought big bag of frozen peas for a couple dollars. It was just way too much work for what I got out of it. Beans are kind of the same unless just storing them dried. I haven’t tried that and maybe that could be done with peas as well. I wish you well with all your gardening this year. Be sure to update us on how your garden grows.

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