This Spring the garden seems more enjoyable than ever before and so far the best and most beautiful of any in 34 years. It’s almost impossible to attribute any success or failure to any one thing because of all the variables involved. But there are certain major things that you can point to as being responsible for most successes and/or failures.
- A good healthy soil that allows an active complex community of organisms living in the soil – is top of list in importance. And since I was able to supply an even greater abundance of organic material to my soil this past fall, that has to be part of it.
- The weather is another main factor in how a garden does. One we can’t control — only accept and work with — but a main factor nonetheless. And this Spring in my opinion has been almost perfect. Yes, we had almost 4 weeks of drought in April — but temperatures were cool. So that — coupled with the fact that rain came just at the critical mark — the garden continued to look and do great. Since then the gentle rains have come often — but not too often.
Spring temperatures in Virginia as usual have fluctuated from cold to hot, but the extremes didn’t last long and most of the temperatures were perfect. While I was enjoying all this, a lot of gardeners were saying it was too cold. But it certainly worked for me — giving me time to plant more and find room for more.
The Other Major Contributing Factor – The Wintersown Method
Aside from healthy soil and cooperating weather, I will attribute this year’s beauty and success in the garden to my slightly altered version of the wintersown method. (Posts listed at the end.)
As regular readers know, I’m not set up to start seed inside. (No room and insufficient light.) The wintersown method has been my answer to the problem.
The seedlings germinated more quickly, were robust – healthy and lush, grew quickly to ideal size for transplanting, held a month or more until I could get to them, and responded beautifully when placed in the garden.
Once warm weather crops like peppers, eggplant and tomatoes were up, I transplanted them to another jug. When I had enough jugs I planted one seedling per jug. When I ran short, I planted 3 seedlings per jug. After that I just forget them and let them grow until transplanting to the garden. The jug acts like a little terrarium so I didn’t even have to water them. (You do have to have the seedlings in 2 to 3 inches of moist soil when you tape the top of the jug to the bottom to insure there’s enough moisture.)
About 2 to 4 weeks before it was time to direct sow crops like radishes, beets and Hakuri turnips — I seeded in jugs via the wintersown method. Because of that I enjoyed these crops much earlier than I normally would have had I waited to direct seed only.
As mentioned in a previous post, one secret for an ongoing harvest is to plant continually. Winter sown allows this with very little “tending of seedlings” involved. (I started planting in jugs Dec. 25th and am still planting even now. I’ll stop in June and begin again in August.)
Thanks to winter sown I have lettuce, beets, radishes, turnips, kale, chard, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in various stages of growth — and with very little effort. At least, no more than what I could handle giving it a few minutes of attention each day. And by the way — various stages of growth means that I won’t be overwhelmed with harvest of any one thing.
Abundance of beautiful produce in my garden has never been better!
Other Wintersown Posts:
Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.
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