Get a spot ready in the garden. Full sun is important. You could probably get by with 8 hours of sun, but if you can swing it, find a great spot.
You are looking for the greatest amount of the white/blanched stalk of the leek. While all parts of the leaves are edible, the white parts are prized. I dig down about 6 inches deep in my garden.
Next step is to take some fertilizer and finished compost and add it to the bottom of your trenches. This will be the root zone for the leek plants and you will not have another chance to get soil amendments this deep.
While you are digging you might find some stuff you do not want to be in your garden.
Left side: Amazing pernicious perennial weed that roots off small pieces. I think it is a bindweed of some sort.
Right side: Japanese beetle grub – left in the open for the birds
I layed out my seedling about 6″ on center then dug them down another inch or two. Might as well go for State Fair level Leeks if you are planting right?
Once planted, the seedling get a big drink. I will water around the plant letting the soil settle in around gradually while they grow. At this point they are pretty spindly looking things. A little kindness early on will pay off down the road.
We will talk about diseases both bacterial and fungal, pests including cucumber beetles and stink bugs and go over identification and control methods including beneficial insects. Hope to see you there. The class is FREE.
Cue the music from Jaws. The 17 year Brood V Cicadas are due for emergence in the next few weeks and Hocking County is smack in the middle of the target area. I have been getting a few questions about them so here is a very nice video courtesy of the folks at Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer. Get your earplugs ready for a fun spring!
Let me know when you start to see emergence. When temps at 8″ deep in the soil hit the mid-sixties for four days in a row watch out! All heck is going to break loose to the tune of 1.5 million Cicadas per acre. This is a once every 17 year event, it is time to party like its 1999!
So now your leeks are looking pretty good, the weather is back to spring. It is time to harden off the seedlings. The process of hardening off a seedling is where you put them outside in a controlled environment like a cold frame so that the seedlings can gradually acclimate to an outdoor lifestyle. I would have done this about a week ago but Mother Nature did not cooperate with the 25 degrees and 20 mph winds.
So outside they go.
They are simply going on a table in my backyard as the weather projection is for moderate temperatures and little wind/rain. They have been awhile since they have had a haircut and they are looking pretty shaggy, so after a quick trim, they will stay outside for the next few days with a sunday or monday planting target.
Keep track of water needs as they can dry out in sun and wind faster than in your basement and make sure you continue to bottom water with a dilute water soluble complete fertilizer until planting time.
Is there anything better than free stuff? How about tons of free information you can add to a favorite LINK or download to your computer?
Most of the Universities, including The Ohio State University, are moving away from printed publications and fact sheets and are embracing the digital age. They are placing their information online where it can be accessed either for free or for a small fee. Then if you want to print it you can or you can just print the parts you want.
I am adding great links as I find them. If you see something cool, send me an email and I will check it out.
To access this FREE STUFF! look left to the Extension Links/Information page or CLICK HERE.
Members of the Hocking County chapter of the Master Gardener Volunteers will be answering your gardening questions at the Tractor Supply Company store in Logan on Saturday April 16th from 10am – Noon. I will be on hand to talk backyard poultry as well.
The 4-H Horse Committee will be holding a bake sale that day at the store as well so breakfast is covered.
I was coming home from work on March 24th and drove past Wallace Community Garden, the park where I do my vegetable gardening. I have deep shade under Walnuts in my backyard so I garden at Wallace. To my surprise I noticed that they had plowed and then tilled it. This is a bit early normally for this in my little town, but the weather was right for it and the ground was perfect for it.
I was leaving town for a week of college visits, but had enough time to get my Sugar Snaps in the ground the morning of the 25th.
Sugar Snap peas are a family favorite. They do not seem to be effected by much in the way of disease or parasite and fix their own nitrogen so you don’t have to add any extra to the soil. They are cold hardy especially when young.
When I got back from the trip I went to the garden to check progress and they were starting to peek out of the soil.
That means I need to get a fence up around them quick. The only critters with a passion for peas similar to me are bunnies and deer. The fence and the trellis are both getting long in the tooth and I will contemplate replacing them after this season, but they have at least another year in both of them.
Tonight we expect a hard freeze. Pea shoots are pretty tough, but I decided to put a light mulch of leaves over top of them that will protect them for tonight and that I can pull back tomorrow when it warms up.
It is not too late to plant Sugar Snaps. They are dynamite fresh and freeze easily as well. The whole pod is edible and they are a good source of protein, fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B and Vitamin K. They like full sun and need at least a 5 foot trellis minimum.