I never got very excited about gardening until this year, but it seems to have taken hold of me, which I’m sure is very exciting for all of you. The heirloom corn (Golden Cross Bantam Hybrid, for those of you keeping score with your fantasy gardening teams) that is the first part of my three sisters garden in our 8’x8′ raised bed is taking off really well.
I planted four hills of seven seeds each, and all seven seeds sprouted in three of the four hills, much to my astonishment. The fourth hill has decided to be my “problem child,” and only two seeds sprouted, so I replanted that yesterday.
The 40 or so corn seeds I planted in our “sacrificial” plot (I’m hoping the bugs, birds, and critters will eat here and leave my stuff alone) behind the back fence really aren’t doing well, at all. Only seven or eight of those have managed to poke through our hard Carolina red clay soil. I’m going to see if I can jumpstart that plot by using one of the extra seed starter kits we have laying around the house. Once they’ve had a chance to get going in the tray I’ll try to transplant the seedlings—with a handful of topsoil each—and see if that is enough to get them going.
For whatever combination of factors, our potatoes have taken off like rockets. We’ve got four half-barrels planted, 3 of which used purpose-bought seed potatoes (I forget the exact variety, other than that they are a form of yellow potatoes, not red), and the fourth barrel is an experiment, from some Yukon Gold potatoes that I’d forgotten about in the pantry that decided they wanted to sprout.
We’ve had a nice warm week with the temperatures pushing into the low 80s, and we’ve had rain twice, so the plants are really starting to take off. Once the corn hits six inches tall, it will be time to plant the squash and pole beans so that they can make their contribution to the “three sisters.” The beans will be the Kentucky Wonder Pole (heirloom), which is a simple choice to make, but the squash choice is a little harder.
Among our squash choices are the ever-popular Black Beauty zucchini, Green Hubbard and Vegetable Spaghetti winter squashes (which I could care less about, but which The Boss likes), and my personal favorite, the cushaw, which make the best pie I’ve ever tasted. Since I have four hills of corn to play with, I’m tempted to plant a variety on each hill, maybe 3 plants each for pollination purposes, plus a few for the starter trays and eventual transfer to the sacrificial plot.
The only thing that really isn’t working at this moment that I’m playing with are the Poblano and Cubanelle peppers that I put in starter trays 10 days ago. Despite everything else doing really well, they show no signs of working. Maybe they’re an inner city variety. Generally, we’ve had incredibly good luck growing peppers here, so maybe they just need more time (or I need fresher seeds).
My wife is working with her two 4″x8″ beds, her container plants, and her herb gardens, so I’m sure there will be a little bit of healthy friendly competition to see who has the greenest thumb.