Let the Planting Begin!

12 Apr Let the Planting Begin!

Crazy weather got you down? Don’t fret, we are heading into a wonderful stretch of mild, sunny, spring weather and it’s TIME! I spent Sunday working on my raised beds, getting them ready to plant my cool season veggies, finally. I reset my stakes and wire fences for my peas, I loosened the soil with a digging fork, and I worked on my crop rotation plan for the year. Then I sat down and worked on a shopping list…
Look at all the cool season veggies and herbs we have!
  1. 9 bags of Quoddy Lobster Compost
  2. 1 50# bag of Pro Gro
  3. 2 bags of Cocodelphia (a wonderful, new, loose form or coir to lighten my clay soil)
  4. 1 bag of Organic Plant Magic
  5. Seedlings of pre-sprouted sugar snap peas, ‘Nancy Butterhead’ lettuce, spinach, onions (yellow and red), Swiss chard, kale, parsley (curly and flat), and culinary thyme (mine didn’t make it through the winter.)
  6. Legume inoculant for the peas (and later for the beans)
  7. 1 more package of Floating Row Cover fabric
  8. 5 more floating row cover hoops
Check out this new coconut coir. It’s loose in the bag, so easy to use. The garden crews LOVE it!

I already bought all my seeds: radishes, carrots, lettuce, spinach,sugar snap peas, broccoli raab, scallions. All I have to do is add the compost and organic fertilizer and plant. I add it to each individual planting hole for the seedlings and to each row for the seeds. I am expecting that, now that my beds are ready, I will be able to put all of my spring veggie seedlings and seeds in the ground next weekend. It’s TIME!

 
This year I am planting my broccoli, kale, broccoli raab, and spinach under floating row covers. Swiss chard too. This will prevent any damage from two very troublesome pests- the spinach and Swiss chard leaf miner and the cabbage worm, that little green worm that eats holes in all of the
Spinach leaf miner lives inside the leaves. Eeeww!!
plants in the kale family. I did this last fall and had the best broccoli ever. I will never go back, it’s the only way to grow these plants in my opinion. I staple the light weight fabric to long boards and drape them over the hoops. Then I secure the ends down with heavy rocks. When I need to feed or check on the plants, I lift a board up to the top of the hoop and rest it there. It’s an easy, efficient system.  

Last fall I grew my broccoli under floating row covers. It was perfect! This spring the broccoli will go under row covers in my raised beds and I will use these containers for spinach and Swiss chard to keep out the leaf miners.
Besides planting my veggies, I am planning to continue cutting back my perennials and grasses that I had left up over the winter, prune my roses and

This weekend it’s time to feed the garden with our Magic Formula.

summer blooming shrubs,  and start feeding the garden. If you aren’t sure how to exactly go about this process, join me this Saturdaymorning for our first Saturday morning Garden Walk of the year! I will demonstrate how to do all of these tasks. We will mix up our Magic Formula and start feeding the roses and perennials. We mix up three bags of Coast of Maine Quoddy lobster compost and 1/3 of a 50# bag of Pro Gro organic fertilizer. Mix it up well and sprinkle it around the perennials, add a few shovels full around every rose and butterfly bush. Avoid the lean feeders such as Sedums and yarrows (Achillea). Click here to link to our Feeding the Garden handout that contains a list of the lean feeders and tons more information about our organic feeding procedures throughout the growing season.

 
This Sunday I also sprayed my peach tree with dormant oil to help prevent the disease peach leaf curl which really affected the vigor of my tree last year. We have been fielding calls about applying dormant oil for a few reasons- fruit trees, woolly adelgid on hemlocks, scale on lilacs and Euonymus. This oil smothers the insects or insect egg cases and also helps prevent fungus spores from germinating. 
 

We have also been fielding lots of calls about vole damage in the garden. We recommend Repellex Systemic for all emerging tulips and other bulbs that are vulnerable to voles or deer, as well as perennials that may also be eaten above or below ground. This organic product is taken up into the plant and makes the plant taste like VERY hot peppers. Once in the plant, it lasts for THREE MONTHS! My crews have found this an invaluable aid to protect plants for the entire spring. You don’t want to use it on edibles as they will all taste super hot! But for ornamentals (think hostas, garden phlox) it is a time saver AND a plant saver.  

This Saturday afternoon, I am teaching a fun, hand’s on class: Getting a Head Start on Dahlias. This will be held in our new, spacious teaching tent. You have to register in advance and there are still some spots left, so sign up with a friend today. See the Calendar of Events below for all of the details. I adore dahlias and have promised myself to plant a lot more of them in my yard this year. This class will inspire me to tick this item off of my to-do list!
Plant your dahlias indoors this week to get a head start. There is room in my class this Saturday– join me!

What else can you do in April to get a jump on the busy growing season? Put your peony cages on NOW! We have amazing, heavy duty double peony hoops that will last a lifetime. Start thinking about dividing your fall blooming perennials. I have been eyeballing my perennial mums, asters, and summer phlox- they both appreciate division every 3-4 years. I also have a major rearranging project to do- one area of my courtyard is a mess. I need to dig up and move some shrubs and replace them with more compact, easier care plants. I want my courtyard to be a place of relaxation. Having a project staring me in the face makes it hard to chill out in the evening. 

Beautiful blue Nemesias do just fine in cool weather.
Finally, keep on adding pretty cool-season annuals and perennials to your containers and gardens. Snapdragons, Nemesias, pansies and violas, sweet alyssum, fragrant stock, Hellebores, De Caen anemones, Arabis, and so much more. We unloaded lots of plant deliveries last week (hardy souls that we are) and our benches are starting to fill up. More plants are arriving this week. It’s going to be in the 60’s, perhaps even the 70’s by the weekend. 
All kinds of blueberry bushes have arrived. 
Don’t wait- come in and stock up on your supplies and grab some plants and seeds and GET GROWING! I am sure we will see you this week!

 

 

 

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P.S. Tune in this Thursday at 5 pm for Facebook Live. I will demonstrate how to set up your floating row covers and we will be planting spring veggies. 


We are now open Thursday evenings until 7 pm