Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vernalization


Remember those seedlings I photographed coming up a few weeks ago? Here they are! The artichokes have to go through a vernalization process (i.e. cold weather to fake winter so that the plant thinks it is spring. In this case so that the artichoke thinks it is in its second year) before they will produce the tasty buds we know and love. Actually, this variety Tavor has to go through only 8-10 days with nights below 50 degrees, so I am contemplating taking them back to Phillies Bridge until they are a wee bit bigger and I can maybe install a cold frame at the farm.

Peas, Spinach and more after the cut.



What an historic day. I planted my first seeds at the farm today. All the usual suspects, peas spinach and arugula.
The Sugar Ann dwarf peas are planted in three rows relatively close together so that they can grow up small and bushy with minimal support. All I will probably need to do is poke some brushy twigs in between the rows to hold up the mass of them. The Mammoth Melting snow peas and the Sugar Snaps are set off in their own bed, two rows with a space in the middle to provide room for the trellis I will put in later on. I also stuck in some Desiree Dwarf Blauschokkers peas....a blue podded heirloom variety that may or may not be a success. I realized after I planted them that I forgot to inoculate them! I've gotten lazy in that regard as usually the soil actually does have the beneficial bacteria naturally occurring. But I doubt that my trucked in soil has the same thing going for it. I wonder if I get some inoculant and water it in after fact, will it still work?

The arugula and the spinach went in the same bed. When I finally figured out my garden plan, everything had it's place. In particular the early crops - they will be replaced by, or become neighbors with later crops such as tomatoes and summer squash. I tried to plan things out according to companion planting principles, but in reality I just tried to make sure everything has a place in time. I'm crossing my fingers until after Friday. Perhaps this late March sowing is really just a way for me to convince myself spring has indeed sprung.

2 comments:

  1. I wonder what the inoculant is? Can you say more?

    I look forward to seeing greenery coming up from those great beds.

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  2. Hi Bernard,
    The inoculant is Rhizobia bacteria mixed in with a powdery substrate that will cling to the seed. The idea is that you slightly wet the seeds, mix in the inoculant and then immediately plant.
    These bacteria work with several species of legumes (peas, beans, vetch, etc.), colonizing their roots and "fixing" nitrogen from the air, or rather the air in the soil. In other words they take nitrogen in its stable form from the air and change it into an ion form that the plants can use. This leads to more nitrogen availability for the peas and also adds nitrogen to the soil as long as the pea plant is composted back into the soil.
    I've usually ordered the inoculant from various seed companies, but I am wondering if I can buy it locally? I will let you know.
    -Jes

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