Thursday, May 26, 2011

Communal Bed Planting Bee

Are you a member of the CPCG communal bed? We need you!

When: Saturday, May 21, 9:30 a.m.
Where: Communal bed
Why: Planting tomato, pepper, cucumber, squash, melon, groundcherry seedlings

Bring a handspade, a big spade, and sunscreen (because it WILL BE SUNNY [shaking fist at sky]!). A wheelbarrow might be handy for laying down wood chips on any new paths.


Our drainage woes are receding, thanks to some excellent shovel work on the part of many members.

If you haven't yet, please add a ditch at the base of your bed and gulleys along the sides. If you're in a centre bed, chop a small gulley through the wood-chip paths so that the water can drain away. Standing water in a garden is not good.

Next year, we'll add more soil amendments to loosen the clay. This year, we have to be pioneers and work with what we've got.

Is that gasoline in the water?

Some observant members have noticed a gasoline-like film on top of the water in the gulleys. Is it gasoline?

Closer observation will show that it doesn't look quite like gasoline. It looks more like the greasy scum on the edge of standing-water ponds.

It's most likely a by-product of the compost, combined with the standing water. Think of it as a greasy tea that's been steeping for three weeks. Not good. Let's get those drainage ditches open and flowing.

Are we there yet?

The nights are above 10 degrees but not by much. Cool-weather seedlings/seeds should be planted by now. Tomatoes, peppers, and cucurbits can go out, but they'll be happier when it's warmer at night.

Avoid the temptation to plant snap beans. Only broad beans and purple-pod beans can be planted now, since they're the cold-hardiest of the beans. The next hardiest are the black-seeded beans (the black colour is a hardiness indicator). The least hardy are the pale-coloured beans.

Wait till the beginning of June.
Beans needs soil of 15 degrees at night. After that, you can do successive plantings every two weeks until mid-August to get a continuous crop. By August consider seeding a purple-podded bean like Royal Burgundy in case September is cool.

What's up?

Seeds have been slow in germinating, due to the cool weather, but the rain has been very helpful. In the communal bed, the mesclun, kale, and swiss chard has sprouted. So have the peas and green onions. The carrots are just starting. No sign of the potatoes yet.

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