Spring is here, at last!


Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Kahlil Gibran

It has arrived. Finally! Spring, that is. How does your garden grow?

Blueberry buds

Blueberry buds

My garlic is doing well. My snow peas have popped up. My spinach is growing real leaves. My Aichi cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, and strangely enough, oregano are growing well. The oregano in the driveway container is growing quickly. It is large enough to harvest and dry (which I hope to do this week). I still need to plant my potatoes. I did plant onion sets, and the ones started less than a week ago are already growing, some almost 6 inches tall. I sowed Swiss chard and Romano green beans. The beets are growing slowly but they don’t get enough sun where they are. I will be sowing a small section in a very sunny location this week. I bet the newly sown beets bypass the shady beets in short order.
Aichi cabbage, broccoli, dwarf bok choy, lettuce and onions

Aichi cabbage, broccoli, dwarf bok choy, lettuce and onions

I cut down five saplings with a hatchet (it took me hours because I am such a wimp) and built a teepee trellis for green beans and cucumbers. My tall boys helped me get it standing straight (mostly) and secured at the top while I dug out holes for the poles to be buried a few inches at least. My 13 year old and I dug out the ground at the base, preparing for planting. I added manure last week, and sowed Romano green beans on the shadiest side yesterday. It just needs the string added between the poles and it will be ready to support vine crops.
Teepee trellis for growing beans and cucumbers.  Just needs the string added.

Teepee trellis for growing beans and cucumbers. Just needs the string added.

I completed the front garden expansion and deeply watered to gauge how much watering would be required for what depth. I checked it this morning to see how well the soil is holding moisture. It was moist, but not too moist, and it hadn’t dried out overnight, even the top inch. So far so good.
Front garden completed and ready for planting

Front garden completed and ready for planting

I need an afternoon to sew grow bags. Then I need the soil fairy to visit my house while I am sleeping so I don’t need to haul soil for the two remaining new raised beds and all of those grow bags I plan on using to grow potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. I am going to experiment with placing the grow bags at the edge of the driveway on the blacktop so that my plants get the heat they so love but is usually missing up here in Connecticut. I think this will be the best I can do without a greenhouse.
Front garden bed with transplanted oregano.  I sowed a small area with Swiss chard seeds to see how it grows in this spot.

Front garden bed with transplanted oregano. I sowed a small area with Swiss chard seeds to see how it grows in this spot.

The seedlings I started indoors are doing well. The tomato plants that I moved to the south-facing bay window are huge, green, and healthy. I will be moving more of my seedlings to that location this week, especially the peppers and eggplants. I got the idea of using plastic drinking cups for potting on seedlings from a Facebook group called Winter Sowers. And I had some in my emergency supplies which I immediately raided. Then I raided the containers in my deck garden for the soil. Took me a few days to pot up my little seedlings but once I did, they began to grow quickly.
Tomato and broccoli plants catching some rays

Tomato and broccoli plants catching some rays

To help harden them off, I open all three windows so that they get cool air and direct sunlight for part of the afternoon. Since we turned off the heat it works perfectly. Cools the house down, too, which tends to warm up as the day goes on (it is extremely energy efficient and will get warmer and warmer with cooking, dishwasher use, baking, even tv and computer use throughout the day). By the afternoon, I am ready for some cool air.
Snow peas are up!

Snow peas are up!

An online friend shared with me his tricks for growing large garlic. One of the tricks he recommended was weekly spraying with fish emulsion. I finally got around to doing so and hit all the rest of my seedlings as well as my emerging perennials. The spinach looked like it had a shot of vitamins within 24 hours. Amazing. I used 1/8 cup per gallon. Some people use just 1 Tablespoon per gallon, and I will probably do that for three weeks, then 1/8 cup for week 4. I also added organic blood meal to the soil. Some crops got some organic all-around fertilizer scratched into the soil before planting. Last year I didn’t have the funds to buy fertilizers, or the energy to apply them. This year I plan to not only fertilize but possibly apply Bt to my corn and squash plants to avoid vine and corn borers. I also plan to spray my squash with copper for powdery mildew which did almost as much damage as the vine borers. I got hit with everything last year. It doesn’t help that my garden areas have shady times during the day.

My compost “pile” is making some nice-looking compost. I still need to build the 2-compartment compost unit from pallets which I put aside for that purpose. And I need to buy a fork for turning the pile.

I plan to make some simple leaf compost piles from chicken wire which I already possess. Then you just pull up the wire, then shovel or fork the compost into the moved wire basket for an easy turn. I really want leaf mould for my flower beds.

I have 2.5 weeks remaining in the semester then I will be able to devote much more time to the garden and sewing and crocheting and a big summer project I have planned that should improve my situation greatly. So much to do!


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