The beds are in…the beds are in! 20 beds all tucked in, one Parsnip, all tuckered out!
Today was the first day schedules meshed with the Parsnip, my Father-in-law and his tiller.
It could not have been more perfect. Around seven the Parsnip started tilling the two beds that will have flowers around the driveway. By 11 or so all 20 beds were done and I was sweeping off the porch. The Parsnip even did the squares for my pea teepees. He was very grouchy about it, and he was not at all pleased about having to do it, but he pressed on anyway. He’s good that way.
At 11:30 he was all done and I was beginning to rake out the clods and making some rows. At 11:45 it started to rain, not hard, but kind of insistent. By 12:30 it was raining too hard to get anything done. So, in a little less than 5 hours we had done what the Parsnip said ¤couldn’t be done. (I never doubted it, so there) ¤ Note: The Parsnip said after he read my post, “I didn’t say it couldn’t be done, I said it shouldn’t be. See the difference?” It’s whatever.
I have beds to tuck all my babies in…Yay! A place for the peppers. A home for tomatoes. Seedlings, many, many seedlings now have a place to reside.
I think I’m going to hold off another week on the tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. The melons and cucumbers will go in within the next couple of days though. Peas and beans, radishes and turnips as well. I take a chance with my turnips and radishes, they don’t really “love” to be transplanted, but I am very gentle with them and haven’t lost any yet.
After looking over these pictures, I realized that you can’t tell how much this truly is. This is four beds, each are 6′ in width and approximately 20′ long. Then in the back yard there is one 3′ x 7′ bed and one 3′ x 12′ bed for melons, one 12′ x 15′ bed for peppers and eggplants and one 12′ x 15′ bed for tomatoes. Oh, yeah, then on each side of the house is a 12′ x 20′ bed, herbs in one, flowers in the other. Five pea plots, five bean plots, wow, I owe my husband a foot rub. Bugger I completely forgot, three 4′ x 20′ cucumber beds. I may have to rub his feet tomorrow too…nah.
My “secret” to transplanting those crops that set a taproot is not anything scientific or brainy. These are the things that get very “upset” if you try to start them as seedlings and then plant them in your beds. While none of them really enjoy being transplanted and may nod their little heads for a few hours with a little plant, “Oh, just who does she think she is”? kind of attitude.
But there are some, really uptight little guys that actually lose the will to live should you decide they must be moved after you start them. These are the things that need a little careful planning and a big dose of coddling in order to safely transplant them as seedlings.
Squash, including pumpkins, summer or winter varieties fall in to this group, as well as turnips, radishes and parsnips (the veggie, not the hubby. I rarely ever transplant him). Melons and cucumbers are picky about being transplanted, although they won’t usually just die completely, they may put on a very convincing death show before rebounding. Drama queens.
Here’s how I treat my transplant persnickety plants.
- I always grow plants that don’t like to be transplanted in styrofoam drinking cups. I do this for two reasons. One, they hold in the heat of the day and keep a uniform temperature (I have tested this with my soil thermometer and know it to be true) easier than my regular yogurt container starter pots that I put tomatoes, peppers, and herbs in.
- Prepare your holes in the bed where you will be putting the transplants completely before you even mention anything to them about the idea of moving. Be careful when chatting with your friends about the impending move, if the pumpkins hear you, they can give up the ghost at the mere prospect of such a venture. So, dig your holes, prepare them with any organic matter you’ll be using with them and be completely ready for the little guys.
- The day of the move, you can go two ways. I’ve done it both ways and had pretty much the same results with either. You can get up very early, like right before the sun gets up, early and plant them then. If you choose this, you must put a box, bucket or other cover over each of the transplanted babies for the entire day except for perhaps an hour in the late afternoon. They cannot withstand the heat or bright of the day. You’re pretty much going to treat them as invalids for three days or so, then you can treat them as infirm and build up to bratty plants after about a week and a half. The other way to go is to plant them in the very late afternoon. There are pros and cons to both ways. In the morning, can be risky because of sun exposure, but evening damp can spell problems with mildew. So, make your choice and then stick with it.
- The second reason I use styrofoam is because of the ability to slit the side of the cup all the way down, eliminating the need to dump or pry the seedling from the container. I slit it down on two sides then separate carefully. Do this right in to the hole you have prepared for the new guy.
- Carefully build up your organic material around the stem, water in and cover.
- That’s it, well, this and at this point your prayers, happy thoughts, meditations are all that is needed. They’ll either make it or they won’t.
Remember, some of them will seem like they really are going to die. They will lay completely bent over and you’ll be tempted to think that there is no way they’ll come back from this. They still might. After the full two weeks, if they still look that way, try again with one of the other seedlings you definitely kept in reserve for just such occasion.
Oh yeah, did I mention you should keep a few (maybe two or three) in reserve in case you lose one? Well, do that.
Avoid the temptation to feed your seedlings for at least a month after transplanting. I put it on the calendar, first feeding, one month from the date I transplanted them. However, I do water with worm tea and kelp tea sometimes two weeks after a transplant.
I’m so excited, I know I won’t be able to sleep tonight thinking about all my little guys that are going to live in my new beds. Who am I kidding? After all that raking and making those rows, I’ll sleep like a bear in December, waking only to down some Ibuprofen, then switch to Demerol at 3am. It’s totally worth it. It’s even worth the foot rub I’m going to have to give the Parsnip tonight. He so deserves it!
Have an excellent Paisley day!~KeriAnne