Saturday, April 20, 2013
Even though I would rather spend the day outdoors working on getting my expanded garden finished, or building that bean teepee, it is a rainy day today. And we really need a long, slow, soaking rain. I won’t need to water the snow pea and bunching onion seeds I planted day before yesterday. I won’t need to water my broccoli, bok choy, aichi cabbage and lettuce seedlings today. Spring has arrived. My forsythia burst into yellow color fully yesterday, my later daffodils started opening up, the red maples are showing their red beauty, the larches are sending out tiny, green needles, and the spring peepers serenade us with their sweet melody. It isn’t storming. It isn’t thundering. The wind is not roaring, knocking tree branches to the ground or onto power lines. It is just a gentle spring day with a steady trickle of life-giving water falling onto the wakening ground. It is perfection!
The following photos are what I consider “Before” shots of my garden. I can’t wait to get some shots of my garden in late June and do side-by-side comparisons.
The front garden was brand new last year. My 19 year old dug an 8 x 10 foot patch in an area of the yard that had previously been our “goat yard.” This winter I decided to expand this area with the goal of doubling its size. I found a lot of rocks, then that really BIG rock which my 19 year old wrestled out of the ground, and now I am filling in the hole with soil and compost. I want to continue to expand the garden towards the driveway just a little more, trying to get as much growing space as I can before planting. I plan to grow heirloom strawberry popcorn in a portion of that space.
I just realized that I need to make a garden plan listing all of the seedlings I have growing, seeds that need to be sown directly when the last frost date has passed, and what I might still want to add, and then figure out where everything will go. I have been so busy with school and focused on getting the actual space ready that I haven’t settled on a solid plan as to where everything will go when I am ready to plant.
The back yard garden last year was very successful growing tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and snow peas. Since I am trying to rotate crops, I think I will put pumpkins in the left bed, at least on the ends so they can flow out into the yard, I already have snow peas started (sowed 2 days ago). In looking at that huge space between the two rear raised beds, I think that will be the perfect place to grow potatoes in the grow bags I am sewing. The right-rear raised bed is growing my several varieties of garlic, spinach, beets, and bunching onions. The new raised beds will probably grow squash, eggplant, and onions (and who knows what else since I don’t have a garden plan yet).
I sowed two small patches of spinach, the last of my spinach seed, in my garlic bed. Also planted there are bunching onions and beets. The garlic on the left side (above) came up on its own from tiny garlic that I missed last year when I prepared the soil for fall. I had planned on attempting to grow shallots from seed there this summer with the intent of growing my own seed shallots. I never got around to buying the seed but I still might do so.
I want to sow another small patch of beets every few weeks. The garlic growing near the beets is really small compared to the seed garlic I purchased. I took the tiny garlic that I grew last year (which was organic garlic purchased at the grocery store) and replanted the cloves last fall in an attempt to get much larger garlic. I will see how it works out. I am pretty sure that this fall I will be planting another variety of seed garlic from Annie’s Heirloom seeds as well as some of the Chesnok Red Garlic I am already growing (the big garlic near the spinach).
I will allow some of the spinach to remain in the garden so it can go to seed with the goal of saving seed for replanting. Seed saving is a big part of my gardening strategy. So far I have sown snow peas and lettuce outdoors from seed I saved last year. Indoors most of the tomato seeds I started were saved from last year as were some of the peppers (that I purchased from one of the organic vendors at the farmer’s market). My pumpkins will be grown from saved seeds this year as well. Not only am I planting what I saved, but I share seeds as well. Seed saving is one of the main reasons I buy heirloom varieties. That, and the fact that the heirlooms are fading away, and we all need to work hard to preserve them from extinction. I am very isolated where I live, so I don’t fear GMO contamination.
I will leave you with a photo of one of my always faithful grape hyacinths that come up every year no matter how much I neglect or ignore them.