Rainy days? I don't carrot all.

Hello, again! 

Hopefully with the recent moisture we have received my potatoes planted last month will be sprouting soon. I'm confident, but it’s a bit like watching water boil, so this morning I had to scratch the earth to see what was going on with the potatoes. They were all in good shape; the cut pieces of Yukon Gold potatoes and their buds will be emerging soon. Visiting with Jeremy recently about the option of cutting versus planting whole potatoes made me think about that process. I’ve always cut mine and let them dry a bit. He suggested just planting the uncut potato. As early as it is, I’m going to do a second planting and compare the results.

I’ll also plant a colorful mix of cold hardy vegetables this week. Onion sets and plants are ready to go in. While we have seed packets with just one variety of radish, carrot, lettuce or greens, I’m going with packets of a colorful blend of all the above. One seed packet could produce up to a 25’ row of plants. I never could eat all that would produce, so a blend will be fun!

While I don’t amend the soil every year, I do like to amend every other year. I have shared our soil recipe in the past which works well for all types of soil in our area, sand to clay. Save when buying all the ingredients together!

Johnson’s Soil Recipe - Covers 100 sq. ft.

• Three 2 cu. ft. bags Cotton Burr Compost
• 4 lbs. Hi-Yield Bone Meal
• 4 lbs. ferti•lome Gardener’s Special
• 4 lbs. Natural Guard HuMic Granular Humic Acid

To improve the health and condition of your soil before spring planting, add these amendments to your soil. Mix in well with a tiller or a garden shovel to about 8-12” deep. Deeper is OK, but not always practical in heavy clay soils. Never till or work up your soil when it is too wet. You’ll create hard clods that may be difficult to break up. Be patient. Wait until the soil has dried to a crumbly consistency.

After planting, you might want to sprinkle Hi-Yield Herbicide Granules Weed And Grass Preventer (Treflan) on top of the soil and around your plants to prevent annual weeds from germinating. Be sure to check the label for your plants before using.

Here is a list of Soil Recipe ingredients and the benefits of each:

Cotton Burr Compost
100% organic compost that improves poor soil immediately by restoring vital organic matter and humus. It increases moisture holding capacity of sandy soils and is unsurpassed at breaking up clay soils.

Hi-Yield Bone Meal (0-10-0)
Provides a slow release form of natural phosphorus to help plants produce sturdy root systems, hasten maturity and stimulate plant growth.

ferti•lome Gardener’s Special (11-15-11)
An excellent all-purpose plant food that contains both fast and slow release nitrogen. It provides a generous supply of plant nutrients needed for healthy growth and contains necessary trace elements to aid in development of plant and crop yield.

Natural Guard HuMic
A granular humic acid soil amendment for vegetable gardens, flowerbeds and compost bins. A concentrated soil conditioner derived from remains of decomposed organic plant materials, humic acids enhance nutrient uptake and stimulate soil microbial life, which encourages root development.

With a bit of a chance of frost, if you are planting just a few summer vegetables, try a gamble garden. We have tomato and pepper plants in the stores that with a bit of protection can go in now if you’ll watch the weather. I have also planted summer vine crops in April as seed and the squash, cucumber, melons and pumpkins germinate as it warms up.

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Centers