Saturday, April 20, 2013

Peas and Greens are Not Enough--Good Thing We Have Ramps!

Organic fertilizer honor wagon near Roseboom, NY
It's mud season up here in the Northeast, and this is the time of year I start itching to get in the mud  pit. It's also the time of year I envy you folks at more southern latitudes, who are probably already eating things from your garden. We're still a few weeks away from eating the ramps (aka wild leeks) that have poked up through the leaf carpet in the woods behind our house, little oases of green in the sea of brown.

Harvesting ramps, by the way, is considered foraging, but since they're just a few steps away from the back garden rows, and we take careful steps to make sure they spread (we only take 25% of each patch, we collect the seeds and spread them in new areas, and we sometimes plant bulbs in new areas), it's kind of like they're part of the garden. A delicious, garlicy, spinachy, oniony, leaky, mouth watering part of the garden [Homer Simpson gurgling sounds]...

All the muddy beds were overwintered with our local, organic nitrogen source, pictured here bagged and for sale in its honor wagon down the road. There's not much I can do until that mud dries up and I can get out there and plant. In the mean time, I've been bringing in more manure and building beds in areas that dry out faster, where I've been planting early greens, spinach, and peas. The deer really love the young pea shoots, but when it's still dropping below freezing at night (the forecast low for tonight is 25), I have to put a plastic tunnel cover over the row anyway, to keep the ground temp up, and that keeps the deer away from the peas until they're big enough that the deer aren't interested anymore.

Someday I'll stop playing those silly games with the wild animals, and just put an electric fence up, but for now, it's all about row covers, timing, and trapping and relocating. Last year I didn't get the trap up until after the woodchuck had eaten all the dill. This year, the trap is out already.

1 comment:

Caroline Gerardo said...

Oh sigh for the taste of ramps, a memory from my childhood. Sunny days ahead for you