We don’t always write enough about the basics of vegetable management, even though it’s the core of what we do here. So to give a better look at this neglected topic, we’re going to start posting our plant (and mushroom) to-do lists from time to time, with some occasional commentary. Here’s our recent and upcoming agenda, which is definitely competing with the finishing of winter tasks such as infrastructure work, taxes & organic paperwork, website work, and more. Right now early March feels as busy as mid-summer.
–Lettuce for baby mix, when soil temperature is in low-to-mid-40s
–Carrots, when soil temperature is in mid-40s
–Radishes, when soil temperature is near 50
–Beets, when soil temperature is near 50
–Baby brassica mix, when soil temperature is near 50
–Mustard greens, when soil temperature is near 50
–Spinach, when soil temperature is at least 50
Note: Soil temperature criteria are for first planting, with regular successions thereafter (assuming soil stays warm). Radish bed temp on 3/6 was ~40.
Starting Transplants (first half of March)
Bed Preparation & Maintenance
–Pull mulch off of beds to be direct seeded; hoe weeds as needed
–Prepare beds for transplants; remove mulch if necessary & hoe weeds as needed
–Check pH in beds for spinach, beets; add wood ash if needed
–Add Azomite (volcanic ash) to beet beds (spring Pb, fall Ob, next year spring Pc)
–Add fertility in Od block (beds without kale/collards)
–Hoe pea beds deeply to break up vole tunnels and set up pea trellises
–Set up electric netting around pea beds to deter rabbits; test solar charger
–Prep blueberry & fruit tree sites for new plants
–Establish strawberry beds for new plants
–Remove straw from some or all of overwintered kale/collards & side-dress with full compost
–Pull back mulch from sorrel
–Weed the herb garden & ornamental bed in front of house
–Weed the spinach
–Transplant daffodils: I recently read that voles don’t like daffodils, and that a dense planting of daffodils near fruit trees can even provide some protection from voles. The healthy populations of daffodils in various locations on the farm supports the hypothesis that voles don’t eat them, and even if they don’t provide true protection to other plants, who can complain about having more daffodils around? And if they do provide some protection, great, because voles are one of our biggest problems without a solution; we recently discovered that they devoured almost every single overwintered parsnip and Jerusalem artichoke. Many of the daffodils haven’t been maintained and are overcrowded, so I’m going to divide and transplant to multiple locations. This almost certainly isn’t the ideal time to transplant them, but this is when I know where they are, and I’ve had success in the past with spring daffodil transplants.
–Prune raspberries (oops, not done in February)
–Weed strawberries in new beds and thin Sparkle strawberries in older established beds
–Keep mushroom logs moist (a losing battle with this weather!); also need to install eye bolts so can monitory log-moisture content (LMC) of reference logs & enter cookie weight data so can print out LMC cheat sheet for 2012 logs
–Spinach: We’ve been picking lightly off of these beds pretty much all winter. Not enough for a distribution, but enough for some fresh greens for ourselves and the workers who are already coming out for a weekly work shift. Continual light harvests help to tell the plants to keep producing (but the hot weather may tell the plants to bolt prematurely, sigh).