Monday, April 9, 2012

Ready for Root Crops

Day 82
The Daily DuBrule

The moon is on the wane and its time to plant root crops. Carrots and radishes are going in my garden now. They don't mind the cool April weather. What they might mind is the dry weather. Man oh man, where is the rain? I have been faithfully watering my seed beds, even deep soaking my asparagus bed a few times, but there is no substitute for rain. It's a bit strange wanting rain as it really cramps our landscaping style and Lord knows we have enough to do right now. But the earth is dry and it just ain't natural. 

Raised beds are a natural for root crops. The soil has been worked for quite a few years and rocks, even small stones, are a rarity. Planting is a cinch. Loosen the soil with a digging fork, amend with compost and organic fertilizer, rake smooth, make a trench with a pointed hoe, and sit on the side of the bed and sow the seeds. It is especially good for teeny, tiny carrot seeds which are like dust in the wind. No matter how carefully you sow them, you still have to do a lot of thinning. That too is much easier sitting down. 

I've got plenty of places for carrots and radishes in my raised bed rotation scheme since I usually devote four or more beds per year to the Solanaceae family, the nightshades such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Switching out those beds with another family is simple to do. I keep track in a simple composition notebook. It's fun to look back and not only see what I planted, but also read notes about the weather, when the first woodchuck arrived, and what pest problems plagued me. 

Speaking of pests, I squished my very first red lily leaf beetle on Saturday. Let the games begin, you blasted buggers. I am now doing the old familiar scouting, checking the underside of every emerging lily shoot every morning and evening. So far, no more have been found but I'm not fooled. They're back...

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