Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Garden, 2014, part 1 of ?

This post is long overdue. We started the garden early this year. Unlike last year, it was not wet. Last frost in late may, maybe around May 15th. Very favorable. First job is to fork up the soil. Some people use a tiller for this. This is essential for new rows, but for old rows I think  it is too violent. I use the old-fashioned spading fork. Then I spread manure, bought at Lowe's because I cannot generate enough compost. The  Alaska climate is, as we all know, very harsh. The   growing season is short -- and so is the composting season. My compost grows very slowly!  Anyway, the manure is mixed in. By hand. The result is nice, neat rows. No weeds, yet.

Then we put in the transplants. These have been sitting in the windowsills since early March.
I always cloche my transplants.Now cloche is a French word; it means "bell". The French, and later all European countries, used glass mini-greenhouses to get an early start on their veggies. These resembled bells; hence their name. Nobody makes them anymore; but on the other hand  there is an unlimited supply of transparent plastic, in my case old fruit juice containers. I run them through a bandsaw and slice off tops and bottoms. This protects the plants. I have seen frost on June 6! These pix were taken late May. If there had been a frost, my transplants probably would survive. They seem to like the cloches. It is almost time to remove their trainer wheels :). I always think I have far too many cloches, but I either break even or have too few. Drink more apple juice, JRC!

The rest of my stuff I start from seeds. I use my trusty Earthways seeder. I will have to do a post on this marvellous device. I was concentrating on what I was doing and did not get any pictures. Shame on me. The seeder saves days of handwork.

As I write some of the seeds are coming up. And I have been weeding already; dockweed is your deadly enemy. If you want to learn more about these techniques go read Eliot Coleman's books. He gardens in Maine, and that is almost as bad as Alaska.

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