Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A rough winter, or, I think the worst is over

Firstly, I changed the URL of my nascent blog from “hoosiergardnr” to “gardenvariety-hoosier” .  The original URL was very similar to an established blog, which I did not realize when I created the URL.  
Here in SW Indiana we’ve enjoyed some refreshingly nice weather the past few days, and today it’s reached over 60 degrees.  It’s hard to imagine that the morning of Feb 10 saw 0 degrees when the last few days have seen highs in the high 40’s and low 50’s.  The “epic” winter storm in this area began with freezing rain followed by sleet followed by a dusting of snow, to give everything that just-went-through a blizzard veneer, with lots of tree branches down for ambiance.  The storm left a sheet of crusty ice about 2 inches thick that is slowly giving way to the warm up.  I still can’t open the door of my minibarns, which face north, due to the frost heave and ice buildup.   This morning I took a peek inside the plastic greenhouse where spinach and lettuce have overwintered.  There's a row of Space and a row of Bloomsdale (I think) adjacent.  It looks like the recent sunny warm days have motivated the spinach to start growing.  I'll have to thin it soon.  I see a spinach-mushroom-cheese omelet made with farm fresh eggs in the not too distant future.  

I was planning to start the first set of seeds on Feb 12 but the sunroom is being used as a work station for a bathroom remodel.  So the planting schedule got pushed back a week, or in this case 6 days, to Feb 18.   This year I changed the seeding interval from 7 days to a 6 days, which fits better into a monthly schedule, thus the seeding dates in the spreadsheet are on the 6th, 12th, 18th, 24th, and 30th of the month.  The broc/kohl/cabbage/bok notation is a shorthand for any combination of cabbage family crops that I want to start on that date.  I think that usually it will be something like one broccoli, two kohlrabi, one or two bok choi, and one or none cabbage for each planting.  Here’s the schedule, it's a little hard to read but it shows indoor seeding dates, transplant dates, direct seeding dates, and a column for the greenhouse bed, subject to change at any time. 
Now for the layout.  The beds are drawn to scale, although their relative position in space (sorry for the phraseology but I revert to my chemistry training at times) has been altered to fit the page.  The trapezoidal bed is a little problematic, as it is a little too wide to reach the center from either side.   A 2x4 board laid across this bed allows me to reach the center of the bed by setting one foot on the board and leaning forward.  This year the trapezoidal bed gets the brassicas.  The bed in front of it, which is also a bit overwide, gets the solanacea – tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.  Two of the 4x12 beds will contain the squash (two winter, one summer) and the potatoes, which I plan to plant in cages this year.  One of the 4x8 beds has the plastic greenhouse on it, this is the “greens” bed for spinach, lettuce, chard in the spring, and later spacefillers.  The other two 4x8 beds are for parsnip, rutabaga, carrot, onion, okra, celery and any other spacefillers like bush beans.  That’s the plan, anyway, and it’s a caveat that the plan is a very general plan that will be modified extensively as conditions demand.  The crosshatch marks on a bed perimeter denote a trellis, used for the butternut squash, cucumber, and sugar snap peas.
Next post, seeds and my seed starting setup.

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