A garden is the best alternative therapy.

The lettuce bed is growing nicely.  The sixteen transplants I put in a few weeks ago, although really tiny, have really taken off over the past week or two – was it the compost tea?   These shots were taken yesterday before all of the rain.  I was up at seven tending to a few things in the yard, and I gave everything a short little drink of a mixture of fish emulsion and compost tea.

lettuce

First lettuce bed, 11/8/09

red sail

Red Sail lettuce

cosmo savoy

Cosmo Savoy lettuce

buttercrunch

Buttercrunch lettuce

The parsley is well-established now.  I put them in a few days prior to the lettuce.  We harvested a good clump yesterday.   Michelle mixed it and some fresh chives in with some cream cheese and sour cream to make a Green Goddess dip for our coqu au vin chicken and vegetables.  It was delectable!

parsley

Curled-leaf parsley

And, for comparison sake, here is the same bed three weeks prior.

lettuce parsley

parsley/lettuce bed 10/16/09

I also had twenty or so lettuce starts coming up that I needed to do something with, so I took advantage of the overcast day and planted them in the bed that I originally prepared for the yellow crookneck squash that perished due to aphids.  The area is more shaded now than it was in the summer when I put the beds together.   I think it will be perfect for growing the lettuce and spinach, which both love cooler weather and dappled light.

lettuce starts

Here are the newest lettuce starts before transplanting

new lettuce bed

And here they are in the new lettuce bed (what used to be yellow squash)

I had a few spinach sprouts going in toilet paper tubes – three of twelve that germinated (that sucks!).  The others that I transplanted a week or two ago have not really done much at all.  I read that spinach is very slow to start and then grows like crazy.  I hope this is what is happening here.  I thought I’d transplant these three new plants earlier than I did with the others and see if that helps them.  The dirt in the new bed has some new compost mixed into the top six inches of soil.  I’ve watered it with compost tea and let it sit a couple of weeks.  I can tell that it is working because there are strands of fungi across the top of the soil, and as I was digging, I found a few earthworms.  The soil appears to be pretty healthy.  Nonetheless, I dug a hole for the transplants, added a handful of fresh compost, watered the hole with a mixture of fish emulsion and compost tea, dropped the transplant in and filled in the hole with compost and watered again with the compost tea mixture.  I also did something different with these transplants: I completely removed the paper lining to allow them to easily grow into the rich soil around them.

spinach sprout

a spinach sprout, one of three, before transplanting

spinach starts

spinach transplanted in their new bed (used to be cucumbers)

I’ve still got 2/3’s of the new spinach bed empty, waiting for more spinach.  I’ve got three more seeds planted now, and as of this morning, two of them have sprouted.  I’ll be able to add them to the bed in a week or two.   I’ve also got another round of lettuce sprouts already coming up – it only takes a few days given the cool weather we’ve enjoyed lately.

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