1405 SW Vermont St.
Portland OR 97219
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Filtering by Tag: vegetable starts

Hardy Vegetables – Plant Them Now!

Sarah West

by Anne Berblinger, Gales Meadow Farm

A few of the starts you'll find this Sunday

Many vegetables, the “hardy” varieties, do well in early spring. They can even stand a frost. This year, they should do better than usual, since the soil has already warmed up some and it looks like our extra warm weather will continue.

Gales Meadow Farm will have many hardy vegetable varieties at the market this weekend: kale, lettuce, collards, broccoli, peas, onions, beets, and more. And of course, we have many varieties of most of these and some pots of mixed varieties. Any of them can be planted right now or as soon as your garden is ready.

These veggies need good soil and a spot that gets sun for at least 6-8 hours a day. Most of them will do well in pots on a sunny deck or parking strip. so you can have fresh homegrown vegetables even if you don’t have a sunny garden. For hardy spring veggies, a light dressing of complete organic fertilizer mixed into the top 2-3 inches of the bed should be good for the whole season. If the soil is clay or sandy, a generous dose of compost applied before planting and mixed into the soil will help.

It's good to do your transplanting in the evening or on a cloudy day. Water the pots before you remove the vegetables, and as soon as you have finished planting, water the newly transplanted vegetables well to settle them into the ground and establish good contact between the soil and the roots.

Our pots of veggie starts have more plants than garden store six-packs. The pots may look crowded, but the plants don’t mind. You need to be gentle as you separate them, but they are not terribly delicate. Gently take the whole block of potting soil out of the pot. Plant each one as you peel it from the soil; don’t let the roots have a chance to get dry.

Make sure your garden or pot does not dry out. (We usually don’t have to worry about this in the spring, but this year is different.)

You can start picking lettuce, collards, chard, and kale leaves and beet greens in a few weeks; the peas will be ready before long; the onions can be harvested young or left to mature in August.

In between the Rain Showers, Dig up a Patch in your Garden

Sarah West

Gales Meadow Farm will be back at the Hillsdale Market on March 4th. We will bring starts of many kinds of hardy vegetables plants – sugar snap peas, shelling peas, lettuce, kale, broccoli, beets, and others. Even if the temperature were to fall to 22ºF, these little veggies will survive and thrive. They will do even better with a light covering of floating row cover (Reemay or Agribon, available at garden supply shops and online through seed companies).

These early vegetables do need protection from slugs. We have two methods which do not involve poison and which really make a difference:

  • Save your eggshells and crush them up into a fine powder. Sprinkle the eggshell powder around your plants. Slugs just hate the way the eggshells get stuck on their slimy skin and they will not cross egg shell powder.
  • Mix water and flour to the consistency of cream. Add a pinch of sugar and a package of yeast to a half gallon of this mix. Put an inch or two of this liquid in deli or yogurt containers, sink them in the ground here and there among your vegetable plants, and watch the slugs crawl in and die. This is better than the old beer technique because the alcohol, which is what attracts the nasty little creatures, is continuously renewed for up to a week, rather than dissipating within a few hours. About once a week, dispose of the contents in your compost, and do it again.

We use both these anti-slug defenses at Gales Meadow Farm, and we have another one as well: ducks. Our 14 ducks and Sgt. Queenie the goose range around the farm all day. They nibble on some of the winter greens, but their main diet is slugs, grubs, and other pesky things. A wonderful by-product of this slug control technique is duck eggs. We will have rich and delicious duck eggs for sale at the market.

We will also have some winter greens, arugula, and other produce. The amounts will be limited, so come early.