Planting: a mixture of magic and science

Planting day! This morning I had an inspiring conversation with an experienced gardener who suggested that now is the time to plant fall lettuce and spinach. I checked the lunar phase calendar, and indeed today (August 23) was a most auspicious day for planting.

Spinach: seeds with specific pH requirements. According to the instructions on the spinach seed pack, spinach is a heavy feeder and “requires rich soil and a fairly neutral pH of 6.2 – 6.9 (lime if necessary).” The packet also suggests organic fertilizer. So after pulling out all the dead basil and lettuce from the beds, I added compost, fertilizer and some manure and dug it all under. Sadly, I didn’t have any lime. Using my little  hand-held number (shown above), it would appear that my soil is completely neutral (pH 7.0). Actually, at a few points the display flicked to 7.4 or 7.6 and once even to 8.3, but then went back to 7.0. I am not sure that is even significant.

Me: a customer with specific product requirements. Since the nursery was all out of lime (maybe everyone else is planting spinach?) I asked the garden guys what else I could use instead to alter the pH of the soil, explaining the specific pH requirements of my spinach seeds. The owner said “That’s way too much information. I don’t think the spinach will even notice the pH“.  I laughed. The Man said that I should have responded with “But surely you are aware that pH is a logarithmic scale, and a pH of 6.0 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 7.0?”  (I know. I know. Science humor).

Winter planting. So at the end of the day, I planted three rows of spinach (alternating tyee and space varieties) at the end of bed 3, west of the kale. I sowed pac choi at the end of bed 2 (taiwan on the south end and ching chiang on the north), then sowed a big band of mesclun mix beside that.  Finally I planted eight very short rows of  red sails, speckled butterhead, rouge d’hiver and freckles lettuce, also in bed 2.

Next week is a big gardening week. Not only do the potatoes need to be harvested, but the raspberry canes need to be tamed and the lilies need to be split and replanted. My good friend Mrs. G just brought me four varieties of day lilies from her dad’s garden, so I want to find a good place to plant them. Finally, I need to transplant some wild strawberry plants to bring to a friend on the Island.

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About Chrystal

This blog is my online journal to keep track of what is going on in different parts of the garden, different times of the year.
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