Garden Preparation: A Day in the Garden

By Susy
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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.

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.

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.

Kennebec Potatoes: A late maturing white potato variety. An excellent one for fries, chips, baking or hashbrowns.

Yukon Gold Potatoes: A favorite among gardeners, consumers and chefs. Delicious flesh is drier than most other yellow varieties, perfect for baking and mashing. Yellow flesh appears to be buttered. Bred and selected by AgCanada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food in 1966. Excellent yields and a great keeper. 80-90 days.

What are you planting right now?

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Not Dabbling in Normal.