The quietest starting “bang” I know is the unfolding of the trout lily flowers in my back yard. Their blooming is my signal that it’s time to plant potatoes and peas. Once those crops are in the ground, the new planting season rolls out before me. In years when the weather cooperates, all goes smoothly, but usually the gardening proceeds in little bursts.
This past weekend, with Joe’s help, the potatoes and peas were planted. Next weekend, if the forecast rain isn’t too abundant, I will be planting little patches of carrots, beets, lettuces, and spinach.
Even though there is a lot of available space in the garden right now, the patches for those cool season crops will be small because I want to save room in the garden for the summer vegetables, which will start going into the garden nearer the end of April.
As spring goes on, the planting will be interspersed with soil preparation work. That mostly includes adding as much compost as I can gather up, but it includes mixing in other amendments, too.
Before planting the potatoes, the compost added to their assigned space was the most mature/aged compost that I had on hand. “Younger” composts can increase the odds of the potatoes’ developing scab. A little bone meal (phosphorus for root development) and cottonseed meal (acceptable nitrogen source) also were mixed into the potato patch.
The pea patch got a small amount of a mixture of ground-up limestone (calcium), bone meal (phosphorus), and sul-po-mag (a rock source of potassium), along with a little compost. I didn’t add a separate nitrogen source, because when peas get too much nitrogen they get attacked by aphids; at least, that’s the experience I’ve had in my garden. If, as they grow, the peas look a little wan, I’ll consider adding a nitrogen amendment (like cottonseed meal) then.
I can see plenty of work ahead, but also the adventure of a new year of planting, and an abundance of good food.