A Day Of Toiling In The Fields

We had what we thought was a little bit of non-labor-intensive garden work to do today, but, as so often happens, it ended up being a vast undertaking of various odds-and-ends planting and tending chores.

The first thing we did was plant the Nardello and Habanero peppers in their forever homes. We didn’t bother taking any pictures of them once they were ensconced in their spots in the bed with the radish chevrons because they’re still looking really bedraggled after spending too long in a cold frame they were sharing with some slugs. The Nardellos look like they might have turned the corner on their way to recovery, but the Habaneros have us working on contingency plans. Plans that include buying Jalapeno seedlings at a nearby nursery and enjoying jalapeno poppers later this summer. Um, not that we’re wishing misfortune on the Habaneros or anything.

Next on the docket was gherkin bed. There were still some volunteer potatoes coming up in there from last year’s crop, and since we wanted to minimize how inviting the bed is to wireworms, we had to dig those up. In happier news than the fact that our old potatoes are acting like weeds is the fact that the gherkins are showing signs of life!

Our biggest concern this past week was the diseased cast the tomatoes were taking, but after consulting with a nearby garden center, the verdict was that they’re just sunburned. Who knew that tomatoes could get sunburn? We had a few laughs at their expense, suggesting they’re a bunch of southern belle drama queens that need to have parasols held over them all day long, but they look much better now after a week living out in the open. And more than that, they’re getting their first little sets of flowers.

After tending to the gherkins, it was time to plant the Calypso beans. We had a hole in the potato bed where one of the All Blues didn’t come up, so we decided to do some companion planting by adding beans, and these are just too cool-looking not to plant:

While we had the bean innoculant out and handy, we figured it was a good time to plant the peanuts, too.

We learned something about peanuts today, namely that storing them in a cool, damp place is probably a really bad idea. It’s a good thing we’re not counting on any peanut cash crop this year, as they were pretty moldy. Pickin’s were slim to find plantable peanuts in the shells, but eventually we scrounged up enough of them. Planting peanuts totally cracks me up, because you just put a peanut in the ground! It’s like planting jellybeans or something.

When we finished with the peanuts, we moved on to mounding up the potatoes. Apparently you’re supposed to keep piling soil up around the plants as they grow more than six inches tall, to encourage lots of potatoes to grow underground. We piled our potato plants just once last summer and had a great harvest, but we are at least attempting to do things right this year, and some of the plants are already well over the six-inch limit.

It’s almost ridiculous how quickly these things are coming in, and how lush they look. And I’m not sure our perfunctory pilings of soil around them are doing the trick, but hey. We’re gentlewoman farmers, not pros. We’ll just see what happens.

We had scads of scallion seedlings to be distributed around the onion and tomato beds, and once we finished that up, it was time to turn our attentions to the pumpkin patch. We put our pumpkins every year in a big, sun-drenched bald spot at the front of our yard, and despite the terrible erosion trouble there this winter, it looks like we’ve got a couple of volunteers there already.

Are they pumpkins? Melons? Who knows! Let’s wait and see!

We transplanted a few Sugar pumpkin seedlings, and direct-sowed some white Caspar and Cinderella-style pumpkins (Rouge vif D’Etampes) as well.

So yeah, just a little bit of work for us today. But all the crops are looking great so far, and, more importantly, we’re still having fun.



Filed under 5. May, Garden

2 responses to “A Day Of Toiling In The Fields

  1. andrew

    Late to the party but I thought I would join in . So you guys only mounded your potatoes once last year, and you still got a good crop? That’s great! I was reading that they should be constantly covered so that only the top 2 inches are poking out above the soil…so many differing opinions.

    Anyhoo, good luck with the peanuts. Hope you get something out of them.

  2. andrew, we were very negligent of the potatoes last year, but we did mound them more than once. Schnookie’s just forgetting that. Of course, by “more than once” I mean like, twice or thrice. Anyway, we’re mounding them a lot more this year. I think we could probably do more than we are. I had read that only 2 inches should be showing… *looks outside and sees foot-tall plants waving in the breeze* Hm…

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