Tuesday, April 28, 2009

strawberries, peppers, squashes

Between yesterday and today I transplanted a bunch of peppers (hot and sweet, indoors and outdoors), acorn squash, zucchini, and strawberries.

The zucchini went into a traditional mound, and the acorn into a bed where I will lovingly but firmly instruct it in the use of a nylon trellis net. I'm not totally sure that it's going to get as much sun as it would like, but figuring that stuff out is a big part of this first year's efforts.

I built two 2 x 1 boxes for strawberries, planning to put in four per square foot as recommended by Mel, but ended up with seven in each box. That's what I was left with after putting eight in the greenhouse, since Irish Eyes Garden Seeds, which I am liking less and less, stiffed me on on my order of 25 Tristar plants. Tristar is a day-neutral variety. Flowers should be removed until mid-July in this first year to encourage plant growth. Runners should always be removed. Fruit production should increase dramatically in the second year.

The berries in the greenhouse are a bit of an experiment. I'm sure on occasion it's going to hit temperatures that will make them unhappy and stop producing, but I think the potential is there to get an extra couple of months of fruit. Certainly it will make sense to bring the boxes into the greenhouse in the fall. That's probably the best approach, rather than permanent residence. The 2 x 1 boxes are easy to handle and can snug into various places in the greenhouse.

Tonight one of the peppers took its first basketball casualty as I was playing Horse with Nathaniel. I knew that was going to happen! It just lost a couple of leaves, but the crop is doomed unless I figure something out to protect the plants for the next five months. For now I'm using a couple of tomato cages in the squares where the earth is penetrable, and I propped up some trellises against the sides of the bed. I don't want to resort to some kind of hideous chicken wire cage, but I do need to account for the inputs of both solar and sporting spheres.

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