It has been nine days since I planted the newest crop of lettuce and spinach. The majority of the lettuce (all but one) spouted within just a few days and has enjoyed the overcast, wet and cold weather the past few days. They’re already over an inch tall. The spinach has been a little slower to start, I think I now have six of the twelve that have sprouted, the earliest of which are close to two inches tall already. The cold weather really has done a lot of good.
I’d like to get out and take some newer pictures, but it’s been raining solid for the past day or so and will be through today and tomorrow.
Planting broccoli and lettuce
The first planting of broccoli and lettuce were well approaching three inches tall in their starter tubes, and had sent long roots out the bottom of each toilet paper roll. Even though I originally wanted to wait a couple more weeks, I decided to put them in the ground on Saturday since it was cool and overcast. I planted a total of sixteen lettuce and nine broccoli. Planting them was easy – all I had to do was bore out a small hole, sprinkle in some worm castings, unfold the bottom of the toilet paper roll, drop the tube in the hole and fill in with dirt.
Thinning the carrots
I thinned the carrots out to one every inch or two, which leaves me with a total of 125+ carrots. I’ll probably thin again in the next several days – I’ve noticed more seeds have germinated due to the wet weather and I need to keep the spacing to one every two inches. They, too, have grown to a couple inches tall.
The problem children
I continue to wonder what is wrong with the squash, zucchini and cucumbers. They started out so fast and strong and then completely stunted. They’ve since produced flowers, but they are not producing any large leaves or vines. It appears that the worm castings tea and the rain have knocked off the aphids, but they still look pretty rough.
Preparing the wildflower bed
This is the prime time to plant wildflowers for next Spring – October 1st through the first half of November. I stripped a two-foot by thirty foot section of soil along the west-facing fence in the backyard (I read that south and/or west facing stands of flowers do best in Texas, with exposure to 10 hours of sunlight daily – this area is perfect). While pulling the sod up, I took care to disturb only the dirt in the top inch of soil to avoid bringing up dormant weed seeds. Then I poured down a little more topsoil mixed with compost, scattered the five packets of wildflower seeds I purchased a couple of weeks ago, then covered with a thin layer of dirt on top. The sprouts should start coming up within the next couple of weeks, giving them several months to develop leaves and a good root system in order to bloom next Spring. I’ll be sure to weed the area well over the next several weeks to ensure that the wildflowers take hold and aren’t choked out.
That’s if the birds don’t eat all of the seed. I woke up at seven on Sunday morning, looked out the back door and saw a blanket of blackbirds across the neighborhood yards, including several along the freshly prepared wildflower bed. A half-gallon jug of water tossed in their general direction caused the entire neighborhood to be engulfed in the frantic flapping of dozens of black wings as the ground seemed to lift up and break apart into pieces in the air. Hopefully they were out there just snacking on bugs and worms, but they can move along to the next yard anyway.