Sunday, March 20, 2011

The garden begins ~ planting seeds and Spring Equinox

Yesterday was Spring Equinox, and the halfway point between Winter and Summer.  It was a full moon last night, and the closest the moon has been to earth  in 18 years.  I worked outside in the garden until dark, and then throughout the evening watched the moon, around 11 pm it was really glowing, Did you see how big it was?  They say it will look 30 percent bigger than normal.  Our golden retriever Summer stayed in the moon glow and didn't want to come inside the bottom of the barn to sleep like normal.  She stayed out all night on the cabin porch and soaked up the moon, I don't blame her, it was gorgeous.

I've been planting by the moon for the last couple of years, and like the rhythm of it.  What is planting by the moon you ask?  Well it simply means I plant above ground crops when the moon is waxing (getting bigger), and below ground crops when the moon is waning (getting smaller).  This was the last day of a waxing moon in the full moon cycle, so I pulled out my seeds and worked on getting as many early season above ground seeds planted, and in the ground.  Most were planted in flats and are sitting on a warm heating pad in a bright window.  Outside in the garden I worked on an area to plant peas and hardy greens.  I turned over the area with a shovel, amended it with several wheel barrel loads of compost, then mixed it thoroughly with the shovel again, pitch forked it till fluffy, made the rows, planted the seeds, then covered  them up lightly and patted all snug. 

Outdoors I planted 3 different types of peas (a pea trellis will be installed soon), and 5 different types of greens.  2 varieties of mesclun blends, red romaine lettuce, perennial sorrel, and red leaved spicy mustard greens.  In the flats I planted 3 different types of broccoli, 3 types of tomato, swiss chard, brussel sprouts, cauliflower,  3 types of cabbage, and even am trying to grow Litchi tomatoes, they sounded good in their description in Baker Creek Heirloom seeds catalog.  It's still too early to start pumpkins, squash, corn and cucumbers.
I will be spending the next couple weeks outdoors planting early season root crops, like potatoes, onions, radishes, and carrots.  The most important focus this week will be pruning everything from fruit trees to blueberry bushes, raspberry plants, gooseberries, and currents, along with kiwi and grape vines.  The following week my goal is to weed and compost around the fruit trees and berry bushes, and give all a wheel barrel load of compost around their base.  This is the best organic approach in raising fruit trees and berry bushes, along with mulch in the summer to keep them healthy and fruitful.  I try to plan my fruit tree pruning when I know there will be at least 2 clear days with no rain.  Ideally you don't want to prune in the rain, only when it's dry to help prevent disease. 


Pam said...

I loved reading about planting your garden. Well, no, actually it made me jealous. We've still got a foot of snow and I won't get to do what you're doing for another month. I've read about planting by the moon, you've inspired me to try it this year. Let's see, the weekend of April 16th? Yep, that will work.
Thanks! - Pam

Jewel said...

Hi Pam,
It snowed a little the night before I planted this section of garden. The nice thing about this time of year is that if it snows, it seems to melt quickly.

Planting by the moon has helped me to be a better gardener by giving me a timeline to plant both above ground crops and below ground crops throughout the growing season.
Nice to have you join us.