Sunday, March 3, 2013

Spring Gardening

Depending on where you live it's just about time time to put in a garden for the spring.  Spring gardens are great way to start off the season.  They are usually plants that are relatively quick to grow, they are nutritious, and they can give you something do if you're not into cold weather fishing. 

Depending on where you live, some plants can only be grown in the spring.  They require cooler temperatures so that the plant won't bolt.  (Bolting refers to the act of a plant quickly adding growth so that it can produce seed).  Plants that are likely to bolt during the hot summer months include cucumbers, lettuces, other greens, and other similar plants.  There are a few places in the United States where you could grow these all year, but that's about all you could grow in those climates. 

I went with a small variety of lettuces, a type of peas, cucumbers, spinach and carrots.  I planted about two weeks ago, when we had a false spring.  This was probably a mistake on my part.  Not two days later, we had a week long cold front come through, and even had a little snow.  We'll see what happens to my small plot in a few more weeks.  Luckily, we've also had enough rain, that I didn't have to worry about watering my plants right now. 

A lot of what you grow, and how you grow it depends on how much room you have, and how much experience you have.  I don't have much of either.  I'm just winging it right now.  One success I can report is that my no-till method that I blogged about last year (http://twentyfirstcenturyrenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-no-till-gardening.html) really helped my soil.  I had maybe an inch of good soil for growing, and the rest was hard clay.  I noticed this year that the good soil was much deeper.  Hopefully, this will translate to a better harvest this year.  I'll report back when I actually get to harvest something. 

I noticed that my cucumbers grew really well during the fall.  I decided to plant some pickling cucumbers this spring, because we really liked the fridge pickles I was able to make last year.  I'll add that recipe in a few weeks. 

We really like to eat salads around my house, but even if you don't, planting a spring garden is a great way to start getting the soil ready for you're summer plantings.  This is a practice referred to as cover crops.  Anytime a plant is growing in soil, it will draw up nutrients, loosen the soil, and keep beneficial organisms around. 

All in all a spring garden is a great way to get ready for the summer time.  You don't need a lot of space to plant, but any space used for gardening will repay many times over in great tasting food. 

One last note about fishing.  If you can brave the cold weather, right now is a great time to catch some big blue catfish.  They are just starting to come out of the winter blues, and starting to feed in the shallows on baitfish.  Get you the biggest minnows you can, and thread it through the back with a circle hook.  Throw on a big weight, and cast it out.  One guy I saw last week caught a 20-30 pounder from the bank with a big minnow.