The second round of planting is in and growing strong at Leafhopper Farm. The gardens are “thicker” this year with a sprinkling of native plants which have been slowly establishing in the garden. Young plants need a few years of nursery care before being planted out on the landscape. Many of these plants are shrubs and trees, so the gardens are not their final home. With a cover crop in, weeding has been very easy, and a lot of lovely green mulch abounds.
Potatoes planted last summer are showing up with gusto this year, and we’re bound to have a good crop. The greens will not get a lot of mounding, because they were unplanned, and I’m going to start thinning them out, to make space for other crops, but there were certainly some left overwinter in the soil and they are not back in action, for better or worse. Most information on this issue is vague, and using the same seed potato stock each year is not recommended, so next fall, I’ll be sure to hunt out all the tubers.
Onions are also thriving this year, though most are small native verities, like nodding onion (Allium cernuum), we’re still using them in substitute for store onions with great success. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum), are useful too, and easy to transplant, bringing more flowers around the garden for pollination. Brassica oleracea has flowered out in all her verities. I’ve certainly gotten a very good head start in the garden this year, and hope for a lot of good eating this growing season.
Many more seeds have yet to be planted through the next few months, and I will try to get a cold weather garden in by September this year. This last weekend, many of the greenhouse herbs were transplanted, and I took a risk in putting out baby pepper plants, who are still very vulnerable to slug predation. A few extra starts are still in the green house, to be planted out in a week or two. The timing of planting this year seems more in sync, with some plants bolted for seed, while enough young plants to harvest tender leaves from are coming into maturity at the same time. Now if I can keep the plantings in rotation enough to keep those young plants from bolting too soon in the hot temperatures of mounting summer sun.
Weeds are down, but still present, and rather than fight with them or worry, I just keep planting in new things to help shade them out. Weeding is also a given, and the study of what weeds come in and when they seed is ongoing. My cover crop did preempt the weeds in some parts of the garden, but enough weed seed is still coming though to illicit more mulch and better seed prevention through early removal of unwanted species. I’m itching to get a new scythe stone in the mail, as I lost my old one on a day of cutting and have no other rounded stone to use on the curved blade. The grasses are going wild with our recent rains; warming temperatures only add to the abundant growth.
This wonderful kickoff to the growing season has put Leafhopper Farm’s gardens in full bloom, and we look forward to cultivating more verities of tasty edible morsels, along with some good pollination color. The diversity and scale of gardens continued to grow, and with it, more advanced systems of watering, weeding, and planting to support this labor of love.