Plans: January Edition

The Rainbow House

Cover crops are growing slowly, and some greens planted late in the fall have been poking their heads up but not doing much for a while.  Garlic has been pushing strong new shoots out for the past couple of months, and we’ll probably plant more of it in February.

[caption id=”attachment_25” align=”alignleft” width=”300”]metal tool with a handle that goes "kerchunk!" and spits out four blocks of soil with a divot for a seed Ladbrooke Soil Blocker[/caption]

Mid-February is also the time to start tomatoes, eggplants, ground cherries, and other nightshades indoors, along with some of the brassicas.  We’ll get to use our new soil blocker!  It’s very exciting - no more plastic pots!  Still have to decide on a good way to keep the seedlings warm, though; they need about 75°F to germinate.

Portsmouth Community Garden

Later this week we’ll check on the plot, see if late-planted cover crops from the fall are coming up, cut back the fall-bearing raspberry canes, and clean up some remaining vegetation from summer.  Not too much going on in the community garden plot so far this winter, but we do have some kale and collards, plus volunteer radishes from plants that went to seed over the summer.  Also wild chickweed and bittercress, which are nice salad greens but need to be pulled before they go to seed or we’ll never have room to grow anything else!

Annex #2

Yesterday I put down more wood chips to cover up the cardboard.  In the next couple weeks we intend to pick up compost and/or more leaf mulch to add to the first new bed and build up a second one.

In about a month we’ll start seeding lots of early spring crops - hardy greens, radishes, onions, and more garlic.  A lot of the greens and radish seeds will be ones we saved from last year.

We’ve also got some fava beans, oats, and peas to plant for eating or green manure, depending on how much the beds they’re in need amending.  The new sheet mulch beds at Annex #2 in particular will get nitrogen-fixing peas and fava beans to balance the high-carbon mulch.

We have a few 55 gallon rain barrels at the Rainbow House, one of which we’ll take to Annex #2 to reduce our impact on their water bill… but not quite yet.  In previous years we’ve found that Portland rains can fill even a big 250 gallon cistern in a week or so.  We’d rather set up rain barrels in late spring so the water doesn’t have as long to sit and is more fresh when we go to use it in the summer.

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