Garden Quest #2 – Direct Sow Sprouts and Weeds

We’ve got more sprouts now. I spotted the first cucumber two days ago, but now we’ve got at least one sprout on every hill. I’m realizing it’s hard to get the goblins excited when they’re not the biggest vegetable fans 😛

cucumber sprouts

Our first green bean sprouts just popped today. I’ve always loved the way those particular sprouts emerge from the “shells” of the seed pod. So cool.

bean sprouts

We’ve got a lot of critters in our neighborhood, so I’ll be curious to see if we get any chompers breezing through. Quite a few birds have been hunting for worms and grubs. A couple especially fat squirrels poked through my compost amended beds (searching for leftovers?). If rabbits have visited us, there’s no evidence yet.

The peas are getting tall enough that I should probably cut some long stakes soon.

peas

For a sense of scale, that’s a 2×12 with relatively little dirt added to it. We’re trying to do our soil addition and amendment as slowly as possible because we don’t have much working capital in the house-dedicated bucket right now. I broke in a bit more sod over the weekend. Initially I was going to do rough sod planting and hope for the best but I may break down and put a thin layer of compost over the top to start raising the beds and improve drainage. The lawn soil is heavily compacted clay that even professional core aerators barely put a dent in.

I can typically identify most weeds as weeds quite easily, but I’ve spent a decent amount of time researching pictures of sprouts and seedling leaf shapes to make sure I don’t pull the good plants. The weeds in my spinach area have stumped me until today:

spinach in bed

The spinach emerges with two very distinctive long, thin leaves which then die off and leave the leaves we’re used to eating as baby spinach. The weed right next to it doesn’t do this, but the leaves were just similar enough that I’ve left them alone until peering more closely today. There’s nothing quite like kneeling next to your garden and staring for a while.

Eventually I determined a quick, easy way to tell what was salad and what was a (maybe edible, maybe not) weed. The leaves of the weed have slightly toothed edges, whereas spinach leaves are smooth edged. See the rough edges:

weed

Experienced gardeners, please correct me if I’m wrong!

Last but not least, I transplanted a few of my baby cherry tomatoes over the weekend. I didn’t realize how under-developed they were until pulling a few. They were tall but with very little root development. I now realize after reading a bunch of NWEdible over the past few days that my seedlings are/were “leggy” from not getting enough light. All I have is a bank of west-facing (not even south-facing) windows. Next year I am definitely building some grow lights.

That said, they aren’t showing signs of stress, so maybe I haven’t killed them:

tomato seedling

That’s it for this update. I’m pretty pleased so far. My next major decision will be how many additional beds to cut in the lawn and how thoroughly to amend them.

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One Comment on “Garden Quest #2 – Direct Sow Sprouts and Weeds”

  1. We have an allotment that we bought two months ago – as soon as we bought it we planted “stuff” and this week we’ve picked lettuce and radishes (real easy to grow, will plant some more tomorrow) and then lots of oregano, which spreads like weed. Am going to dry some and freeze some. I know almost nothing about growing things, but it’s very fulfilling when it starts to grow! I am amazed also about the seed-to-plant-magic 🙂


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