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Adventures in Resiliency

May 29, 2013

I think it may just be me, but I like direct seeding.  I like transplants too, but for the most part, many of the plants growing in my gardens are direct seeded.  I am trying to build a reserve of seeds that are viable in my ecoregion.  Namely a very wet region of Cascadia.  Of course, I like all the fun stuff too, hybrids and fancy, fractal cauliflower but the staples that could feed my family (and others) in hard times hold my seed saving interest.

Headland maintenance

Headland maintenance

So with some trepidation I planted some of our warm season crops early just before the weather changed from seriously dry, to seriously wet.  To date we’ve received almost 8″ of rain in the two weeks since I planted.   Certainly seed rotting weather, if the preceding two months hadn’t been so dry and warm.  The soil was warmer and drier than usual for early May.

Sweet Meat winter squash

Sweet Meat winter squash

On the homestead seed saving front I agree with Carol Deppe about winter squash varieties losing their vigor from seeds always being saved from transplanted plants.  Direct seeding really weeds out the weak ones in the bunch, whereas planting transplants gives the less vigorous plants a leg up.  I am sure the same could be true about many other varieties of vegetables too.  Direct seeding prevents any transplant shock, and since I plan on dryland growing for these squash, a strong taproot is very important.

I am happy to report that out of the squash, beans, cucumbers and corn I direct seeded that only the corn was weak.  I still cannot make myself grow corn transplants, but I know lots of folks do.  Corn is a pretty minor crop for us anyway, so I’m kinda meh about the whole deal, hence no corn transplants, and I probably have about 75% germination in my corn rows, which may not be enough for pollination.  Most likely I will replant when it dries out, we still have enough time for sweet corn to be direct seeded and mature.

Dry beans

Uncle John dry beans

We planted dry beans, and a small succession planting of filet beans, both germinated very well.

Turga parnsip

Turga parsnip

The seed parsnips are sending up their seed stalks, and to the right of the seed row you can just make out Jane’s parsnips for next winter.  My home raised seed was VERY vigorous, so much so parsnips are now a weed in my garden!  I guess I need to be a little more careful when I harvest seed.  The deliberate intent of this photo is not lost on me, parsnips for milk cow, enough perfect roots left over for seed, and all this going on under the watchful eye of the house cow who grazes grass so I don’t have to mow.  That is definitely moving us towards resiliency.

National pickling cuke

National pickling cuke


Spring Treat F1 corn

Poor little ol’ corn hill 😦

Nicola potato

Salem potato

Of course the potatoes don’t mind the weather, but they are so pretty I had to snap a photo anyway.  Now we’re just waiting for some dry weather so we can get caught up on our hilling, and weeding of course.

Buckwheat cover crop

Buckwheat cover crop

And last but not least, the buckwheat cover crop has jumped out of the ground in the greenhouse space slated for fall/winter crops.  I was quite nervous about the dry weather earlier but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy every last bit of it.  For us a record amount of crops are planted and established outside, and that means not such a rush to plant everything on the first dry day we get in June.  Which in turn will give me more time to devote to Miss Jane when she has her calf 😀

Speaking of calves, we’ve got two on the ground, a heifer and a bull and they are darling.  Note to self – take the camera for paddock shift.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Victoria permalink
    May 29, 2013 4:43 pm

    I love transplants, both for their season extension (6 more weeks of tomatoes!) and easier weeding (I just spent an hour pulling the tiny weed seedlings out of the baby carrots and parsnips).

    I’ve also discovered that plants which have sprouted inside are much less appealing to little critters than seed planted outside, although this year I covered the popcorn with a row cover after planting the seed. We’ll see if that fixes the problem from last year where something dug up and ate the seeds.

    I usually direct sow lettuce, spinach, carrots, parsnips, beans, peas, and corn. I start inside and transplant for tomatoes (season extension), peppers (only hope of getting any), leeks (much larger plants in the fall when they’re started indoors), all brassica (flea beetles love the tender seedlings), chard (lets me select colors for bright lights), squash (season extension and seeds being eaten), and most herbs (iffy germination rates and slow growing seedlings make planting in their final home almost impossible).

    8″ of rain in two weeks sounds crazy to me – we’ve had 2.5″ in the last two weeks here, and that’s been enough to make me happy I have raised beds.

    • May 29, 2013 4:57 pm

      Victoria, oh me too, don’t get me wrong. I would have zero tomatoes and peppers if I didn’t raise transplants, but gosh I see folks transplanting stuff like peas, beets, beans,corn and cucumbers. Like anything I do both, mostly it depends on how easy each method works out to be for each plant. I got my alliums all transplanted except leeks and I have just seeded a round of brassicas and chicory for early fall harvest. So I do use transplants, probably for half of what I grow.

      We really needed that rain, although I think I could use a little warm and dry now to get caught up on my weeding 😉

      • Victoria permalink
        May 30, 2013 6:23 am

        I do transplant my cucumbers and other squash – but it’s only 16 plants total, and I like to get them going as soon as possible.

  2. May 29, 2013 5:50 pm

    Is that Jane in the background – she is looking beautiful. Your garden is heaving up out of the ground and after last year we are not complaining abut the rain. Have a lovely evening, lovely photos today! celi

  3. May 30, 2013 2:20 am

    Congrats on the calves – that never fails to charm. We’re into our third consecutive year of rain deficit. Like you, I have mixed feelings about it. Enjoy the sunny days, but hate seeing my hay go to seed early and the traffic areas getting crispy in MAY??!!

    When is Jane due? She is a beautiful girl.

    • May 30, 2013 5:23 am

      AMF, I know they are so sweet when they are babies. I think we finally caught up on our rain shortage, it has finally penetrated deep and I can tell when I build fence, but we did miss some great grass growing weather 😦

      Jane is due next week, we’ll see if she hits it on the head like last year. I can’t wait to see the baby, it should be a cutie.

  4. May 30, 2013 3:44 am

    I prefer direct sowing as well. I’m just a beginner but I find it much easier and less hassle. Plus we live in a very wooded area so our main crops are potatoes, lettuce, and peas which all happen to love direct sow methods.

  5. May 30, 2013 6:32 am

    i have gotten tot he point that the only crops I early sow for transplant are brassicas, onions, tomatoes and peppers. I also like to start perennials from seed and start them inside. We no longer are in a drought either but I sure am glad I live on a hill because many of the flatter grounds neighboring me are flooded.

  6. May 30, 2013 7:39 am

    The new beginnings bring so much hope and warmth to the heart. I liked the idea of buckwheat as cover crop. I would like to try it out here in India. We are just getting out of exceptionally hot weather in my area, and are looking forward to the rains to cool the earth and start the germination.

  7. Chris permalink
    May 30, 2013 8:20 am

    Oh I can’t wait to see Jane’s calf!! In the meantime, take some photos of the other little guys and gals already here! 🙂
    For the past couple of yrs. my squash plants…(yellow summer) have developed lot’s of nice blossoms only to shrivel up later and just drop off or just sit there and do nothing beyond the blossom stage. What do you think is causing that??

    • May 30, 2013 8:33 am

      Chris, usually early on the squash blossoms are not getting pollinated, and many times there are more male blossoms than female and if there are no insects available to pollinate you might have to help them along 😉 The female blossom is the one with the tiny squash, and the males are the ones on long stems. You might also try succession planting too, summer squash tend to run down anyway so it’s nice to have a second planting coming on when there are more pollinators available. Hope that helps.

      Everyday at cow moving time it has been pouring, so I haven’t taken the camera. Soon I hope!

  8. Chris permalink
    May 30, 2013 4:56 pm

    Very helpful, thanks! I do have lots of good pollinaters around so I’ll try a second planting this year!
    LOVE the photos of the newborns BTW in your Cuteness post! 🙂

  9. May 30, 2013 9:08 pm

    How, but how, do you fight off the slugs?

    Every single one of my direct seeded cucumbers was laid low by slugs. The zucchini were easier to save- those went under water jug cloches.

    • May 31, 2013 6:00 am

      They just don’t make it across the garden, and during the wet days we just look for them and well, you know, stomp them!

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