Breaking Ground, and Finding Treasure

I took advantage of Monday’s warm weather (high 60°F) to work for a bit in the kitchen garden and greenhouse. One task I wanted to do was to begin preparing one of the beds for spring carrots. It’s about 3 weeks before it will be time to sow carrot seeds, but I wanted to see how the soil in that bed looked, and to clean it up a bit.

preparing bed for planting

preparing bed for planting (click on any image to enlarge)

Last fall I planted that bed with radishes, mostly daikon types plus some China Rose. I harvested what I wanted, then left the rest as a cover crop. Daikon radishes and other ‘forage’ type radishes have a large taproot that will penetrate into the soil and open it up for the next crop. The decaying roots also contribute some nitrogen and organic matter. I used a fork and loosened the soil to the depth of the tines, which should help get it ready for some nicely formed carrots.

I also removed some of the larger pieces of radish that were left, and moved them to a nearby bed that will get planted a bit later on. That should give the organic material more time to break down. Some of the radishes were still recognizable underground, especially the reddish pink China Rose. It is amazing they had survived the winter so far, though the tops were certainly either dried up or rotten.

leftover radishes from underground

leftover radishes from underground

The other bed I wanted to work up had been planted in carrots last fall. I thought I had dug them all up last December, but I obviously missed a few, as you can see in the below photo.

buried treasure, in the form of carrots

buried treasure, in the form of carrots

By the time I had worked up the whole bed, I had over 12 ounces of little golden surprises! They all looked amazingly sound, and will no doubt figure in one of our meal plans in the near future. They will surely be appreciated, since the rest of our fall carrots are long gone. I never dreamed I would be digging up a harvest when I got out my fork, and I’m glad I didn’t spear any.

how did I miss this one?

how did I miss this one?

nice haul of carrots

nice haul of carrots

Last November I had planted some smaller cloves of garlic in the first bed with radishes, for pulling as green garlic this spring. About half of them didn’t make it, so I replanted with some larger cloves that were now sprouting (Red Janice and Maiskij). Hopefully they will fare a bit better. I sometimes plant green garlic in containers, but this year I had a little room on the edge of the bed that I dedicated to it. I may still stick some in the ground somewhere else, since what is left of the early Asian/turban type garlics is all sprouting.

sprouting garlic planted for green garlic

sprouting garlic planted for green garlic

planting green garlic

planting green garlic

The beds look better now that they have been turned over and cleaned up a bit. I want to work in a little compost before planting, but I’ve used up all I had from last fall. There’s no doubt plenty ready in our two bins, but that will be a job for another day.

beds after cleanup

beds after cleanup

One last chore I got done was weeding the bed with the overwintered spinach. It had a lot of chickweed and dead nettle growing in it, so I tried to get as much out as I could without hurting the spinach, which still needs to be thinned a bit. I thought I would give it a few days to recover from weeding before I finished thinning. And with any luck we’ll be enjoying some spinach soon!

overwintered spinach after weeding

overwintered spinach after weeding

After a brief warm spell early in the week, the weather turned cold again. I’m glad I got a little done outside while I could enjoy some warm-ish weather. I know that the hot and humid days of summer will be here all too soon, but it was still nice to be able to work outside without shivering in the cold!

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8 Responses to Breaking Ground, and Finding Treasure

  1. GrafixMuse says:

    Treasure indeed! Enjoy those little carrots. It must have been so nice to dig in the soil again. Mine is still covered with about a foot of snow. It will be a while.

  2. I’ll be growing some Daikon this season. I hadn’t really thought about the fact the roots would help to bust up tough soils. That makes me think that maybe I should plant them outside the raised beds where they can do some good.

    You found quite a nice little harvest of surprise carrots! The only surprise I get get with carrots around here are teeth marks…rotten voles 😉
    Curbstone Valley Farm recently posted…February Garden Update: An Erratic WinterMy Profile

  3. Daphne says:

    Wonderful surprise. And you can dig your soil already? Wow I’m still frozen solid and covered with snow. On a “normal” year (though now not really sure what that is anymore) we are frozen until mid to late March. Of course last year we never really froze for the whole winter.

    • Dave says:

      The ground has been frozen here a few times this winter, but it thaws in a few days. It would be better to freeze and stay frozen of course, but that hasn’t happened in several winters now.

  4. Bee Girl says:

    I love it when things like that happen! Nothing better than finding gold where didn’t believe any existed 😉 Enjoy!
    Bee Girl recently posted…Recycled Take OutMy Profile

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