Sunday, April 19, 2009

Putting in the cold crops

We put the potatoes and onions in the ground yesterday, and Sunny will finish up with the beans and peas and today, while I bottle some beer (maybe I'll blog about that tonight). Anyway, you could probably get the carrots and salad greens in the ground now, too. By the time they surface the threat of frost should be gone. Still, the way the weather has been treating us these past couple of years, it wouldn't hurt to invest in some plastic to cover the plants in the evenings -- just to be safe.

You can build a little tent over the plants pretty easily with a couple of stakes and a staple gun. But, you want to make sure the plastic isn't touching the plants. If the plants touch the plastic they could still freeze if the weather gets cold enough. You also have to make sure to remove the plastic during the heat of the day or you will cook your plants. It's best to do that first thing in the morning, so put a sticky note on your coffee pot to remind yourself.

When we told Sunny's Dad that we were headed over to get the potatoes in the ground, he broke out two of those ancient tools you see in the picture above. They are potato planters. You just step on them to sink them into the soil and then pull against the lever (to the left side of the picture), and it creates the perfect hole for your potato starts. I got quite a kick out of using this tool, but then again I am easily amused. Still, it beats being slumped over all day planting.

Sunny's Dad also has a corn planter. It is quite a contraption. I'll blog about that later when we put the corn in.

In fact, now that I think about it, I may have to start a regular name-that-contraption blog post. Sunny's Dad has a whole collection of weird gardening and farming tools that were used back in the day. I find it interesting that we got away from using these tools at some point and reverted back to crawling through the soil on our hands and knees to tend to our plants.

He didn't have a tool for planting onion starts, though. So, I let Sunny do the honors. I felt justified because I don't eat onions much and she loves them. (She's a little sore today).

Sunny put down about 100 onion plants yesterday. She special ordered Texas Sweets this year. We got both red and white onions. They grow to be about 6 inches in diameter.

One of Sunny's clients gave her a Texas Sweet that he grew last year and she had to give them a try. If they do well, I suspect they'll be competitive at the fair this year. They really are impressive looking.

Actually, I am hoping to do pretty well across the board at the fair this year. I was going to enter the fair competition last year, but unavoidable issues prevented that. After viewing some of the winning entries, I kicked myself a little bit. We would have been competitive.

Of course having the greenhouse gives us an advantage this year too. We have started all of our plants from seed this year. They are all looking very healthy and we can't wait to get them in the ground. But, we'll probably wait another three or four weeks to put the sensitive plants in the ground. We jumped out of the gate a little early last year and lost a few plants. We usually wait for Mother's day to get everything in, but sometimes waiting until Memorial Day is probably best -- unless you invest the time and money into building the plastic row covers.

I'll leave you with this photo today. BTW, our youngest daughter (Daisy Girl) deserves the credit for most of the photography on this blog.

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