We haven’t talked to you here in quite a while and you might be thinking we were washed away with the record rains of 2015. We actually measured a little over 86″ of rain at the garden last year.
So yes, it’s pretty wet out there. Still, lots of good work is going on to make this spring the best garden yet.
For example, when the summer crops died off, we removed most of the leftovers to add to the compost pile and then planted a cover crop of Elbon rye. As it grows, it binds nitrogen (aka natural fertilizer) which will be returned to the soil when it is mowed and/or tilled later. The cover crop also prevents germination of weed seeds that might be looking for a start, prevents erosion from all our rain, and when it is tilled in later, the decomposition will help to eliminate the harmful root knot nematodes that infest many of the vegetable crops in East Texas – so it’s also a natural pesticide. That’s a lot of good to come from a little grass, no?
Garlic and shallots are already planted. Onions will be out soon. Carrots, peas and spinach are being planted in the garden right now (under floating row cover). And it is already time to start sets for many of the spring veggies. Right now (or last month, whichever comes first) is time to start seeds indoors for cabbages, kales, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, lettuces,celery, herbs and spring greens.
We won’t be starting our seeds for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and other summer crops for a couple more weeks. Some cannot be safely set out until after our average ‘last frost’ date of March 15. (Many will require frost protection even then.) We don’t want the starts to become root-bound or grow too large in their pots before transplanting, so we’ll wait a couple of weeks still to start those.
We expect to start regular CSA deliveries the first of May, but hopefully the earliest spring greens will be available by March. Sure hope so! We’re getting hungry for that fresh spinach!
Welcome to 2016! It’s going to be such a great year!!