Saturday, April 23, 2011

Planting the Garden in Freezing April

This past winter has been especially long and cold.
Now in mid April, some days are sunny and 50, some days are rainy and 34. Yuk!
Everything is muddy, sloppy and cold.

Yesterday, it was cloudy and 35. Towards the later afternoon, we started to get some tiny sprinkles, the kind that stab you in the eye if you are facing the wrong way.
So I had this crazy urge to get into the garden. It's been so long!

I already had some of my raised beds prepared. I had them filled with fresh topsoil last week when we had a warmer day.

I started with carrots. I was getting kind of windy. I planted Danvers and Little Fingers. The Danvers will get 6 or 7 inches long and the Little Fingers will be small, 3 inches or so, and they should be done 7 weeks from sprouting.
These are carrot seeds. Not the clearest picture, but the wind was trying to take them away.

I simply sprinkled them over the dirt, and raked over them lightly. Carrot seeds must stay moist, and take 3 weeks to sprout. The drizzle season is a good time to plant. They like it cool.

Next was beets. First, I used my two fingers to poke holes in the soil up to the first knuckle. Cold! Cold!

Then I dropped a seed in each hole and covered it up and lightly tapped the dirt flat.
These are beet seeds. They feel like hard styrofoam. They are very light and the wind will take them if you are not careful.  

Each seed is actually a cluster of seeds, and when they sprout, they must be thinned in order for the roots to have room to grow. These are Detroit Dark Reds. We really love pickled beets here.  The pack says to wait until after danger of frost.  We can actually have frosts up until the first of June, but I don't care. I want them in now, so call it an experiment. If they sprout, and frost threatens, I will cover the bed with plastic, or a sheet or something.

Third was the onions. By this time, I was getting rather uncomfortable and crabby.
I took a pointed hoe and made short furrows across the onion bed.

Then I put the onion sets in the furrows about 3 inches apart. I have both purple and yellow. I don't like the whites..too sharp in flavor.  The yellows are much better keepers, but the purples are sweeter.  It doesn't matter if you plant them together unless you are isolating for seed saving. I won't be saving onion seeds this year, so no worries.

Then I covered them up and covered the whole bed with waste hay. DONE!
Well, except the back corner. I didn't have enough onion sets. I will plant garlic there. I think I pated maybe 400 or so onions. YES, we use that many in a year.  I eat an onion everyday.  I love onions! and they are very good for you besides.


  1. did you know that when you thin your beets, you can take tiny scissors and just cut the inbetweens you want to remove to the ground, and just take the tiny greens? then there's no digging and rearranging them!

  2. Then you get to eat the tiny tops you cut off! Mmmmmm