garden, April 7

It’s barely April and I already feel like I am behind! I seem to sleep through March and completely forget that all of the good gardening seminars happens BEFORE the season gets into full swing. That’s okay. Things are still happening!

The garlic I planted last fall is looking beautiful. It should be ready for harvest some time in the summer. (The blob of purple is random volunteer lettuce growing in the mix. I haven’t picked it and figure that at this point, it’s probably not going to be terribly tasty, but I can’t bring myself to pull it up.) And, for the record, I do make every effort to plant in nice, neat rows or squares with even spacing, but for some reason, things come up all higgledy-piggledy.

garlic apr15

Garlic, garlic, garlic. And some lettuce.

I started my “salad bar” toward the end of March, which consists of arugula, spinach, Farmers Market salad mix, buttercrunch lettuce, chard, radishes, and beets. (I somehow overlooked planting any romaine, which I’ll rectify soon.) I decided to forgo kale for now, as I really wasn’t a fan of the Red Winter variety that lives in my collection. Maybe I’ll try for a different variety later in the year.

My seedlings were coming along nicely until I made a critical mistake —I attempted to water them early morning, not realizing the temperature outside was colder than I thought. After a few minutes, the water had frosted over, and I lost a few little guys in the process. Lesson learned. The silver lining: I spent a long time devouring the wealth of information over at Giant Veggie Farmer, and came across the post on cool season crops. Hopefully, armed with some new knowledge and tips on pre-sprouting seeds, the little patch will make a strong comeback.

spinach apr15

Spinach seedlings.

I’ve had a terrible time growing spinach in the past, but finally discovered that I had been starting it far too late in the season for it to germinate. Hopefully, since I started earlier this year, I’ll actually get a good harvest.

Herbs & Flowers:
My mint, rosemary, and lavender are all coming back nicely, as are the chives. The daffodil and iris bulbs that I planted last year have come up, although they seem to be a bit small, and I’m not holding on to high hopes that I’ll get blooms out of them.

Inside, I’ve started some Roma tomatoes, bell peppers, and leeks. I think I’m going to do my tomatoes and peppers in containers this year, since they have a tendency to take over my small bed regardless of whether I plant them or not. A lot of these decisions are hinging on whether or not I manage to get a few more raised beds built before transplant time comes. Fingers crossed, because if I get it done, it will more than double the amount of space I currently have.

Other things in the plan for this year:

  • zucchini
  • cucumbers
  • squash
  • watermelon
  • strawberries
  • carrots
  • chamomile
  • echinacea (my seedlings died last year; I’m going to try again!)
  • sunflowers
  • peas
  • marigolds
  • shallots
  • onions
  • thyme
  • tarragon
  • cilantro
  • basil

A fellow gardener friend and I also realized that we could save a good deal if we go halvsies on our seed order, and split the goods. It seems like a smart move, seeing as neither of us ever go through an entire seed packet in a season, and she’s a whiz at seed saving… so depending on what we order, the list may change, shrink or grow. I can’t wait to start looking at all the different varieties out there.

And, this season is going to be about education. On my list of things to understand better are 1. succession planting; and 2. fertilizing. I know next to nothing about fertilizing, which is kind of embarrassing seeing as promoting fertile, living soil is THE most important aspect of gardening. So, I am making it a goal this year to better understand the components that make up healthy soil, and how to amend it to better suit various crops