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ImageArleneB
Mar 3, 2015 9:53 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA
I am going to give this a try, keeping sort of a journal here about doing the market gardening this year. Sometimes I am full force ahead to begin with and then sort of fizzle out so you may have to prod me a bit.

I thought I would start with planting out into the garden, weeks before we ever actually make it to market. Many seeds have already been sown, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce of all varieties, tomatoes and peppers. And every year I have to try something new, even if it's something I have done years ago and wanted to try my hand at again, and this year it is artichokes. I don't even like artichokes! It's sort of like picking crabs, not a lot of reward for a lot of work, although there would be a lot of people, in Maryland particularly, who would beg to differ!

The brassica were all planted into the garden last Saturday, Feb. 28. This is probably the earliest I have ever been able to get something in the garden since my son, Matt, usually plants a green manure or cover crop in most of the garden. Last fall I asked him to leave some open space so I could get an early start. And the ground was tilled and manure added in the fall as well so all I had to do was stake and mark the rows and start planting. Such a relief to not even have to rake this year.

We have been having quite a bit of rain again this spring so I wasn't sure if I would be able to plant, but it seems to be pretty good. Our garden is set on the north side of my son's house, sloping down as you go north, then back up again to where he has a small orchard, and past that, the bees. We always have some wash out with heavy rains but this past years it has gotten really bad, huge gullies in the rows. I tried putting up barriers, digging out the aisles to divert the water flow to the center aisles but it hasn't worked. Finally, Ira (my ex and Matt's dad, who lives with Matt on the farm) put in some crusher run gravel and some metal barrier along the chicken run to help. (The chicken coop and run is at the top of the slope, on the south side of the garden.) It has helped somewhat. I will have to rake some of the closest rows when I start to plant them though to get the gullies filled in.

So, the brassica are planted but still need to have a floating row cover put on them. I just ran out of time on Saturday. I had also planted a 50' long double row of peas. There are two rows of brassica, with the rows being 3 1/2' wide by 50 feet long.

I have many flats of lettuce seedlings in paper pots to put into the garden this Thursday. We have had warmer weather since last week with gentle rain but we are expecting freezing night time temperatures again beginning on Thursday night so I HAVE to get anything I am planting covered with a floating row cover to protect them from freezing. I have just ordered two more 500 foot rolls of a heavier cover and I am keeping my fingers crossed it will come by Thursday. I still have a bit of new, lighter weight row cover but most of what I have used has become very tattered and would have to be pieced for that length. If the new doesn't come, pieces will have to do.

Root crops such as carrots, beets and turnips should have already been planted but other than a few seeds in one row weeks ago, they have not, so I am already behind. With market starting in four weeks from this Saturday, it's not looking like I will have anything to sell. And I really thought I had timed things better this year!

There are several vendors who are farmers for a living and most have hoop houses so they are able to get a jump on things. I try not to compare myself to them since we are really doing market because we enjoy it and it brings in enough extra cash for me to buy new perennial plants and any new gadgets and supplies I need/want. I have always worked on a shoestring but the past few years I have let myself splurge a bit since I can. And, market money did pay for my greenhouse!

So the pressure is on to get things planted and more seeds started. When we finally get to market it will all be worth it!
Imagevic
Mar 4, 2015 3:21 AM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Arlene, I am so in awe of all that you do for market - WOW - I only wish we lived closer so I could come to your market.
NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION Purslane & Portulaca ~ Garden Art
ImageArleneB
Mar 4, 2015 6:52 AM CST
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA
Close is relative Sticking tongue out Hilarious! Thank you.

My dad was quite the gardener and I know he is smiling down on us. He would have really enjoyed doing market too.
ImageElena
Mar 4, 2015 12:09 PM CST
Name: Elena
Middle Tennessee
I second what Vic said. My dad was an agriculture teacher and he taught the family the ins and outs of gardening all the time. My mother was a dedicated gardener plus she also was way deep into flower gardening too. I am the second generation and I have passed it on to one daughter who was the only one of my three interested in gardening. Her daughter is a gardener also so we are keeping it in the family for sure. Spring signals my mind to start planting no matter where I am or what I am doing. It is just in my blood.
ImageSkiekitty
Mar 4, 2015 12:50 PM CST
Name: Toni
Denver Metro, Zone 5
Too many cats!!
Growing up we had a garden because I liked to dig in the dirt & it was a (mostly) harmless hobby for a rambunctious kid that I supposedly was. But grew mostly weeds & tomatoes.. with more weeds than tomatoes I swear! Then as a teenager, when we moved to the mountains, had a HUGE garden which the deer were happy to eat... will be trying to grow some corn & squashes & pumpkin this year. But have to wait for the snows to melt & the ground to thaw. Everything's a frozen mess. So jealous of those who can dig right now!!! Been tempted to do a hoop house but where? I really don't have the space for one. I did grow this 2 years ago & it was fun watching it grow!

http://allthingsplants.com/thread/view/18717/Mystery-volunte...
Never be afraid of a scar. It just means that you were stronger than something that tried to hurt you.
My new Etsy shop - handmade jewelry by ME!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/OjodelGato
Buy some of my photos! http://www.catsonkeyboards.com
"I've seen better acting from extras in Godzilla movies!" - Calculon
ImageArleneB
Mar 4, 2015 4:20 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA
What a nice pumpkin surprise for you, Toni! I've never really gotten very big pumpkins and squash is a problem for me because of squash vine borer and squash bug. Last year was the first time I was able to harvest any because I was diligent picking off the bugs.

My oldest son, Matt, and only daughter, Jen, in MI both are avid gardeners. My youngest son, Corey, not so much. Too much physical labor. He likes gardens and eats veggies but he isn't interested in spending his time there. Today Miranda was here and she was helping me plant carrots and beets when she said, "Grandma, I think when I grow up I want to be a gardener." Made my heart melt!
ImageElena
Mar 4, 2015 5:17 PM CST
Name: Elena
Middle Tennessee
That is exactly how I started my granddaughter to gardening.
ImageArleneB
Mar 5, 2015 3:57 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA
THURSDAY, MARCH 5

We were at the farm by 8 a.m. today to try and beat the weather. It was a balmy 62 when we got there but it didn't take long for the temperature to start taking a nose dive and at first it just started misting.

The first thing I did was check the peas that were planted last Saturday because peas have a habit of popping up out of the soil as they start to put out the first root and I didn't want them to freeze so I pressed them back down into the soil. There were a few with first green peeking through too, but since i wasn't planning on covering them I just pushed a bit of soil over them too.

I hurried and spread the tattered, muddy row cover on the first row of cauliflower and cabbage but it only covered about two thirds of the
row. I unrolled the new cover and cut it full lenght for the broccoli/cabbage row. As I started to toss soil on the edges to hold it down, the wind decided to kick up. David was busy with compost so I was struggling to keep the row cover from carrying me away when a gust came. Got it done and used the last of the roll to finish the last third of the other row. Luckily the wind calmed down and I was able to get it down easily.

I opted to not use the hoops because I have so much trouble keeping it from blowing off. I hate using soil on the edges to hold it down because the cover gets so muddy and looks terrible. I struggled for years to accept in the real world the row cover was never going to look like the photos you see in every catalog with the cover stretched tight, crisp and clean and held down with the ground staples. It just doesn't work. So, since no hoops and soil holding the edges down works every time, I'm giving up on making it look like the catalog.

Row cover in place so I wanted to plant a few root vegetables and some greens. The double row of peas is planted in the center of the 3 1/2' wide row so it leaves me with space at the edges to plant something low. I started with my seed box with all my "greens," kale being a priority. Just as I started to plant it the rain started coming down enough to make my hair drip so I was ready to call it a day. Then the rain let up. Okay, I'll plant some radishes so I'll surely have something to sell. Again, as soon as I started planting, the rain came down heavy again. I rushed to get them sprinkled and covered and ran for shelter.

By that time David was already waiting for me in the truck. He was ready to go. I figured I'd go home, take a shower and do some much needed house cleaning.

Just as I started a load of laundry I remembered there was a large tray of potted greens sitting outside the greenhose and they had to go inside or I would lose them all, so back we went to put them away. I was hoping my new row cover would be delivered by then but it wasn't. We ended up running other errands since we were out and pretty much spent the whole day and when we got home there were two huge rolls sitting by the front door. Maybe we'll go over tomorrow and put another layer on.

ImageSkiekitty
Mar 5, 2015 4:03 PM CST
Name: Toni
Denver Metro, Zone 5
Too many cats!!
Arlene - You could have just taken a bar of soap with you & showered in the rain? Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious! I would do that, but when my hair gets wet like that after I've been sweating outside, I usually smell like wet dog. Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing And catalogs = photoshop. Like any other professional photography, real life NEVER looks that good.
Never be afraid of a scar. It just means that you were stronger than something that tried to hurt you.
My new Etsy shop - handmade jewelry by ME!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/OjodelGato
Buy some of my photos! http://www.catsonkeyboards.com
"I've seen better acting from extras in Godzilla movies!" - Calculon
ImageArleneB
Mar 5, 2015 4:14 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA
Never thought about doing that! Rolling on the floor laughing

I KNOW things are photshopped AND, it's just a setting for a photo, BUT I still want mine to look that neat. Shrug!
Imagevic
Mar 5, 2015 4:20 PM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
A good day Arlene but fighting the elements is no fun Sad
NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION Purslane & Portulaca ~ Garden Art
ImageArleneB
Mar 5, 2015 4:27 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA
I got the rows covered and that was my main objective so I feel successful. I can work in gentle rain but this was coming down a bit more and it quickly got COLD!!!

Before covering the rows:
Thumb of 2015-03-05/ArleneB/7ff9f5
Thumb of 2015-03-05/ArleneB/2fe937
ImageSkiekitty
Mar 5, 2015 4:42 PM CST
Name: Toni
Denver Metro, Zone 5
Too many cats!!
*JEALOUS!!!* my yard's still covered in about a foot snow.. and will be for at least another week or two, then another month before it starts to thaw enough to dig in...

LUCKY!!!
Never be afraid of a scar. It just means that you were stronger than something that tried to hurt you.
My new Etsy shop - handmade jewelry by ME!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/OjodelGato
Buy some of my photos! http://www.catsonkeyboards.com
"I've seen better acting from extras in Godzilla movies!" - Calculon
Imagevic
Mar 5, 2015 5:31 PM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Awesome Arlene Hurray!
NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION Purslane & Portulaca ~ Garden Art
ImageElena
Mar 5, 2015 10:24 PM CST
Name: Elena
Middle Tennessee
I am dying to start planting but we are having record breaking temps again in Nashville and there is plenty of snow and ice on the ground. Will spring never get here????
ImageMaryE
Mar 6, 2015 9:44 AM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
Arlene, it's looking really good!
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
More ramblings at http://thegatheringplacehome.myfastforum.org/forum54.php
ImageArleneB
Mar 6, 2015 11:46 AM CST
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA
Thank you. I love this time, before the weeds take over. We are planning on planting the lettuce seedling on Sunday and it didn't get as cold last night as they predicted.

Today I have to straighten the greenhouse before I can pot up anything else. Also sort the pots where the seedlings didn't survive and condense. I potted up the ranunculas and repotted a Persian Shield and gerber that were in an ant infested pot. I was able to divide the Gerber into six crowns.

ImageElena
Mar 6, 2015 1:24 PM CST
Name: Elena
Middle Tennessee
Persian shields and purple passions plants are some of my favorite potted plants. I don't decorate with a lot of purple but somehow those two are quite beautiful to me. I have a friend who absolutely loves eggplant color and I like it too. Guess it is strange that I have never used it in my home. Hmmmm! Now that might be a thought for something a bit different in the house or even outside. The nice weather has me thinking thoughts other than snow or ice thoughts as you can see.
ImageArleneB
Mar 7, 2015 7:19 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA
SATURDAY, MARCH 7

Today we had to re-set the brick walkway in the greenhouse at the farm. It had become uneven from ants doing their thing. We needed to get this job done because we have been filling the greenhouse with seedlings and it was a bit dangerous going in and out. Some of the bricks were already torn up so it didn't take too long to remove the rest, screed and tamp the sand and then re-set the bricks. It's not perfect but it's much better than it was.

As we were putting the trays of lettuce seedlings back in the greenhouse I had one tray that was still plugs, never potted up so I decided to go ahead and plant them in the garden and just cover them since we are expecting one more night of freezing temps. David pushed out the plugs while I planted them. It was a 288 plug tray and there were a lot of doubles. I was able to gently separate the doubles so both had a decent amount of roots but I planted nine across this year instead of my usual seven.

I took the row cover off the row I have been babying all winter, where I planted carrots, beets, spinach, turnips and radishes about a month ago. Things are starting to come up! We had to put the row cover back though. There is another short row of lettuce we have been harvesting all winter and we took the cover off it as well because I wanted to check on the parsnips. They are looking great! We forgot to put the row cover back on that row but I think everything should be okay.

We ended up also planting the tatsoi and baby bok choy and red mustard, then covered everything up. Just as we were getting ready to head out, Ira decided he was going to rototill some areas so David helped him hook the tiller to the tractor. While they were doing that I inspected my strawberries, or what I could find of them through the mass of henbit! I was trying to decided if David should just mow or if I should attempt to weed them. Everything was pulling out quite easily so it looks like I will be weeding the strawberries next weekend. The two new rows were mulched and weeded in the fall and they are in good shape but there are two other rows that were neglected so I will remedy that.

We only stayed until 1:30 because I had not packed lunch and David wanted to get home. I wish we lived closer, walking distance would be nice, but it could be worse,

Tomorrow we will plant the rest of the lettuce and the potatoes. I will pack lunches. Now I just need to make a list of which lettuce is leaf, which is butterhead and which is crisphead for proper spacing. My printer isn't working so I guess I'll "speak" it into my phone.
ImageArleneB
Mar 8, 2015 5:32 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA
SUNDAY, MARCH 8, 2015

We remembered to turn our clocks forward last night but that doesn't mean we got up an hour earlier! It was dark out so we stayed in bed until 8 am! We didn't get to the farm until about 11 am, much later than I had planned.

As soon as we got to the farm I started bringing all the trays of lettuce from the greenhouse to plant. I guess I didn't realize I had planted so much lettuce. We always sell LOTS and LOTS of lettuce so two rows this year instead of one will be good. Problem is, I think it may be a bit more than two rows. I tried some crisphead this year, you know, regular head lettuce. Well, it never gets as big and solid as what you buy in the store, but it can do very well.

Thumb of 2015-03-08/ArleneB/d89edd

Did you notice all the paper pots? Thank you, David! It took me awhile to sort the lettuce by type, crisphead, butterhead and loose leaf. I like plant the lettuce mixing the colors so when it's full grown the rows look pretty too. I do a fair amout of reds and speckled lettuce so there is quite a variety.

I didn't get everything planted though. I was exhausted. I got all the leaf lettuce planted and half the crisphead and half the butterhead. It will have to wait until Thursday or Friday now. David has a dentist appointment on Thursday so I'm not sure we'll be able to work at the farm, and Friday he has an eye doctor appointment. I kind of messed that up by not scheduling them both for the same day.

Leaf lettuce row with stray cabbage on the end. I'll take another picture just before the first market day so you can see how fast it grows.

Thumb of 2015-03-08/ArleneB/5c72a6
This is the mixed crisphead and butterhead row. Not a lot to actually see yet but it won't take long.

Thumb of 2015-03-08/ArleneB/39328b

I connected with a friend of Matt's that has horses and lives nearby to get some manure. We dropped the trailer off tonight and will pick it up and also get a load in the truck tomorrow unless it is raining. We used to drive well over an hour to north west of Atlanta to get manure because we need someone who will load it for us. It is wonderful to have someone so close now. It will go out in the field in a big stack and be turned several times and left to compost.

The next few weeks will be spend weeding. I don't mind weeding, it's just that I can never keep up with it and I never ask David to weed. Sometimes he takes on an area as his and weeds it, like the asparagus. He is the one who picks it, weeds it and mulches it. That works for me!

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