Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Gardening starting again

May has finally turned beautifully warm, and I've been outside most days trying to get the garden planted. It's mostly done, but now we're waiting for stuff to start coming up.

I planted about 125 potatoes this year. Not as much as in some years, but one variety I got - Sangre - turned out to have very few eyes per potato. So I only planted one row of that one. I planted 2 rows each of Chaleur, All Red, German Butterball and Warba. Lee Valley tools no longer sells that biodegradable black plastic mulch, so I've had to order a big roll of it from a Quebec agriculture supply dealer. I can't do without that stuff; it heats the soil as well as keeping down weeds.

I tested my garden soil for the first time in many years, and was surprised to find that it had grown rather alkaline! I was sure for years that the soil naturally tended toward the acid, but I think that years of cultivation and adding compost has altered it a bit. Now I think that's why the raspberries haven't done well for several seasons. In alkaline soil, they have trouble extracting nutrients, so even though I'd sprinkle fertilizer on them, they couldn't absorb it. I'm going to overhaul the entire row of raspberries, digging down and working in peat moss as well as composted manure.

I discovered a garden place outside Smith's Falls called Gemells, and they sell bags of acid-enhanced garden soil. I'm going to buy a few bags of that to help out, too.

In addition to the potatoes, I've planted Swiss Chard, turnips, carrots, garlic, shallots, 8 tomatoes, 2 cucumbers and 2 butternut squash. We've never had much luck with the carrots, as tree roots keep invading the soil and making it hard for them to grow. Also, rabbits do get in and now that we've got a chainlink fence I've given up entirely any hope of keeping them out. But this is a red variety, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

There's not much to photograph yet, but Dean picked some Lily of the Valley by the river today, and I got a shot of the lilac in bloom. Today I'm going to make a rhubarb pie.


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