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Getting the May garden in order

Squash seedling

If I were smart, I'd mark my calendar for a round of weeding and mulching two weeks after I put a mass of seeds in the ground.  Instead, I just play it by ear, which means I freak out when the garden suddenly seems to be overrun with weeds and in need of attention.  Luckily, a few busy mornings gets the beds back into shape.

Lettuce bed

Every plant needs slightly different care.  Slow-growers like carrots and onions (from seed) really require two rounds of weeding before they're big enough to mulch around, while most summer crops can be carefully mulched just a week or two after emergence.  At the other extreme, close-planted lettuce beds often grow so quickly that they don't need to be weeded at all.  This year, though, our manure is chock full of clover seeds, so I had to do a round of lettuce weeding, which is always difficult and makes it look like a cyclone blew through the bed.  One rain later, though, the planting is once again vibrant and ready to feed us half a gallon of leaves per day.

Tomato beds
Speaking of rain, an inch or two on Saturday morning turned our tomato raised beds back into chinampas.  You can't really see the tomato plants in this picture, but a few are already starting to bloom.  Visions of plump, red fruits are swimming through our heads, even as we anxiously wait for earlier crops to ripen, like the first spring peas.  This is definitely a good time of year for dreamers!



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Beautiful!
Comment by Jayne Sun May 11 07:28:08 2014
How many sq. ft. of lettuce do you plant to get 1/2 gal a day?
Comment by TERRY Sun May 11 09:32:13 2014

How many sq. ft. of lettuce do you plant to get 1/2 gal a day? And will this amount increase over time or is it stable because of picking small?

Thanks!!!!

Comment by TERRY Sun May 11 09:33:05 2014

Jayne --- Thank you! It was great to see you last week.

Terry --- I'd guess this is about 15 square feet. It's hard to measure lettuce picked --- I generally pick about a gallon a day, but it mashes down to about half a gallon once you put toppings on it. That's about how much you can pick from a bed this size and expect to be able to keep picking just as much daily until the lettuce turns bitter. I don't let the plants get any bigger than you see in the picture --- they keep getting haircuts, so they stay small. Using this method, you start eating when the plants are a month or less old and keep eating for about a month.

Comment by anna Sun May 11 09:45:27 2014

I'm jealous. I have lettuce envy.....We still have freezing temps here at night. 26 degrees on my front porch this am :(
We have to wait until Memorial Day to plant.

Comment by Elizabeth Tue May 13 06:59:36 2014
Elizabeth --- Next year, if you plan ahead, you don't need to be jealous. Lettuce is a cold-weather crop, so I plant the lettuce we grow under quick hoops when lows are still in the mid teens, and I plant the uncovered ones when lows are in the low to mid twenties. It sounds like you're waiting until the frost-free date, which is far too late to plant lettuce --- it bolts and turns bitter in heat!
Comment by anna Tue May 13 15:17:45 2014

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime