It's been so beautiful, I feel grateful to be able to work outside all of the time. Yesterday we got our peas planted. We rototilled half of the pea patch, but the other half was soft enough to rake. We need to do a better job at mulching this year. The old greenhouse is ready for tomatoes! The chickens did a great job, and the soil looks wonderful. We just need to protect them from the chilly nights with double coverage.
This year I have three personal garden goals:
1.) successfully grow celery : I have already killed the celery that I started, so unfortunately I don't think this goal will be met!
2.) Try companion planting: Companion planting "involves the influence of some crops on others and the arrangements of different species according to their ability to enhance or inhibit each other's growth." (Anna Carr Good Neighbors: Companion Planting for Gardeners).
So I will try interplanting basil with tomatoes. This should work for us since we tie our tomatoes up on strings hanging down from the greenhouse. Supposedly interplanting basil with tomatoes makes the tomatoes taste even better (we'll be doing taste tests with our customers!) but to me, it just seemed like a great use of that space between tomato plants. I also planted radishes with my peas.
3.) Get the back garden under control!: This is a big task. In order to acheive this we are doing a few things. First, we are planting a low growing green manure crop such as clover with wheat. The garden isn't that big, so our idea is to leave the garden fallow for this year, harvest the wheat, till it all under and our garden will be as good as new! Well, that's what we're hoping anyway. But then there's my little section of the garden that I've been nursing. Using an idea that Paula told me about, I've started collecting leaves, dried grass, and any other mulching materials that I have laying around from last fall. I have been piling them up under a piece of clear plastic with the hopes of getting it warmed up enough to kill some of the weed seeds. Then, the plan is to plant started seedlings in the mulch. The soil is pretty good, since we have tilled in a lot of carbon in the form of horse manure and shavings, and nitrogen in the form of chicken manure. It's a work in progress. I have pictures of the before, I'll post them with the "after" pictures when we get to that point!
As for the parsnips, I still haven't tried them... maybe tonight!