Friday night we saw our first firefly and the roses burst into bloom yesterday morning. That means Summer has begun on Stratheden Farm! Our seasons seem to lag about 3 weeks behind our friends on the other side of the Ridge, two weeks behind the town of Floyd, and one week behind our neighbors up on the road, so it seems reasonable to be nearly a month late for the official start of summer. (May Day)
This week I got the first plants into the ground. Potatoes and pumpkins. Don't get on me about being late on the spuds. The neighbors lost all their head start in the recent frost. Plant death everywhere!
The Kenebeck potatoes went into bushel baskets lined with black trash bags. I read that you're not supposed to plant potatoes in the same place year to year and the companion planting guides all say not to put them next to much of anything... bit of a dielemma there. Then I read that potatos also want super acidic soil... so the multiple "problems" are all solved in one neat manuever. Oh, and there's no digging in the rain this way. Just dump and grab at harvest time!
Since we're building a raised bed garden in stages I'll use the potato soil to begin a strawberry patch this autumn. They like it acidic too! We have a few strawberry plants in the walled garden but certainly not enough to preserve so I'd like to establish a big bed of them in the vegetable garden.
The pumpkins are a variety we purchased from Native Seeds / SEARCH who collected them from Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. Yes, we are renegade gardeners from the get-go. I started thinking this decision through AFTER we had four beautiful seedlings in the greenhouse. These pumpkins are not going to want ultra rich, moist soil for best flavor and keeping qualities. What the heck would they be growing in up on that mesa? Much tapping of head.... sand banks! I ran this by Mr. Fuzzy and he thought it worth a try as it certainly would be true of an old Hopi garden. Happy for us, we have an ugly little sand pit in the dwarf apple orchard. The siting is even decent with lots of afternoon sun.
So, two wheelbarrow loads of pure, stain-your-clothes, black compost and a few minutes with a shovel later we hade a hopefully decent bed prepared. At planting, I added some MoleMax (to deter burrowing beasties) and some mychorezial fungi to the hole. The planting was finished with four bamboo stakes and a length of string: the standard method of keeping the deer out around here. I may add some tepary beans to the same planting as they are another desert variety.
I promise some pictures soon. I just uncovered my camera last night... it got buried in one of our unpacking frenzies and the battery is as dead as my neighbor's garden.