Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Woman and her Schtick ~ Ruler, that is!

Greetings readers! Welcome back to Wild Indigo.  I'm vacillating over whether to call this blog Wild Indigo or Fayetteville Celtic Garden but for the time being we'll leave it as is and continue on. Hopefully we'll actually lay our hands on the real deal (plant that is) this spring, be it plant or grown from seed!

Now today is Tuesday and by now you've likely managed to reset the myriad of clocks in your home and office. Personally I relish waking up to the light of day at 6 am so now once again I find myself shunning these dark mornings. Will someone please tell me why we still move time to and fro? After all, today's farmers run tractors equipped with GPS! So as I re-establish my circadian rhythm I'll enjoy my longer evenings, perhaps with a cool beverage in hand, gearing up for star gazing and observing whatever else goes bump in the night.

We've had some down right balmy weather here in Da'Ville! I took some extended time off this past weekend and planted me some seeds - YAY! Yes the primal need for grimy phalanges has reached its climax. I've been bit by the warm-weather, spring-is-a-comin, gotta-dig-me-some-dirt bug! But not recklessly so. I've been advised not to rule out the possibility of ill-weather so I've taken heed and utilized a measure of restraint.  Besides Mother Nature has been about as unpredictable as a cantankerous woman so wise precautions have been employed. More about that in a minute.

Now there's many ways to skin a cat ~ can't believe I just wrote that considering I have more than my fair share in my care ~ but what I'm referring to here are the methodologies of planning a garden scheme and seed planting.

Square foot gardening (I'll refer to it as SFG) has become quite popular over the years. Mel Bbartholomew - the SFG guru - still has his site up and running though there aren't any recent updates. There's other useful means such as apps like this one where at the click of a mouse you can create your desired layout. Features like color coded crop rotation and helpful sowing reminders are neat options.

As far as planting dates are concerned average frost dates by region apply. Around these parts that magical date is April 15th. The danger of frost has passed by then and soil temps are ideally at optimum temperatures suitable for planting Spring crops. Set yourself up for success by reading your seed packets carefully to determine what your plant needs! Lettuce doesn't generally tolerate frost so wait a little longer before you plant to avoid disappointment.

According to the ancient practice of Lunar Planting, the moon can speed up germination rates thus influencing seed growth. For instance during a new moon gravitational force theoretically increases soil moisture, causing seeds to swell.  Read more about it here. Since 1818 the Farmers Almanac has doled out tried and true information based on lunar planting. The Farmer's Almanac recommends vegetables that bear above ground crops be planted during the light or waxing of the moon while below ground crops be planted beginning at the new moon until the moon is full. Here's the Farmers Almanac gardening link. So in the spirit of Wild Indigo, this Spring I'm attempting square foot gardening and moon phase gardening methods.

In SFG, one must consider the full grown size of each plant: larger plants need more space and visa versa. What appeals to me about this method, besides yield, is weed control. Mulching is standard weed control protocol and for good reason. Quality sourced mulch breaks down into highly desirable organic material so its a win win.  But with SFG full grown plants receive good air flow and leave little if any room for weeds to grow. This year in addition to mulching, incorporating SFG into the mix will be an interesting experiment.

For good measure

Yes kids, I got out ye 'ol trusted ruler.  I actually spaced the holes about 3" apart as per packet recommendations and used the rulers end to make said hole. Worked like a charm!

Rule of ThumbBeyond measure

Ground rules
Ground view. Morris Heading Collards lower left.

The Golden Rule
A little twine and the trellis will be ready

I can't tell you how exciting it was to be out planting - carrots, beets, collards, spinach and snow peas. Carrot seeds were sown twelve to a square foot, though sixteen is recommended but I wanted to be sure I had enough seeds for now and for later on. Now when it came to planting my cauliflower I ran into a snag that hopefully others can learn from. Note to self: Direct sowing of cauliflower is NOT recommended. So once I find or grow suitable starts they'll be added.  Once again, and I repeat, set yourself up for success by reading your seed packets carefully to determine what your plant needs! I put in two rows of beets (red and gold) and collards. (Morris Heading and Yellow varieties) I planted two collard seeds per SF so I'll have starts to transplant into my landscape later on.
That's it for this week friends! As for the Wild Indigo thought of the week: Projection makes perception. Light and joy and peace abides within me.

As always, may happiness be a ray of sunshine to your mind, body and soul!

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