Monday, May 09, 2011

Spring garden notes

We have had an extremely chilly spring this year.  Comparing this year to last, we are almost one month behind.  Yowza.  That's a big difference.  We were actually eating out of the garden at this time last year.  Aside from a chives, scallions, and a bit of lettuce, even a radish is a far-out dream at this point in time.

I've decided to do a pictorial tour of our garden this spring, to give people an idea of what it looks like at the beginning.  It ain't pretty.  In fact, viewing it from a distance is downright disheartening.  It looks like nothing -- scallions poke up from the dirt like little pine needles and fully planted beds look like nothing more than dirt patches scattered with a couple of measly leaves.

But come late June, it will be gloriously beautiful.

Blaine planted seeds in flats in January and February.  With heat mats and a little bit of sunlight and/or artificial lighting, they get a good start for summer.  He starts pretty much everything inside by seed, with the exception of winter/summer squash, melons, and cucumbers.

"Hardening off" in flats behind the house:
cabbage, broccoli, onions, scallions
Hardening off = acclimating them to outdoor temps & sun

Only the cool-growing stuff could be planted at first
(this was taken a little over a week ago)
On the left: little tiny celery
On the right: sticks in ground, ready for peas
Far-back: potatoes
Waiting inside until warmth descends upon us:
Tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, eggplant

The bulk done 5/7 and 5/8
 Opening up the asparagus bed --
The strawberry bed is on the other side of the garden entrance
The East Garden in background
and beyond that is the commodity crop fields.

 The East Garden: south side
Garlic (coming up under straw & leaves)
Beds of lettuce, scallions, onions, green beans
The boys' mini-gardens are the beds on the far-right --
Truen can't wait to plant his "wallermelons"

 The East Garden: north side
It may be hard to see, but this is entirely planted.
Foreground: celery, peas
Middle: broccoli, cabbage, chinese cabbages
Background: potatoes

The East Garden: midsection
kale, chard, spinach, mustard, lettuce
The grass paths are proof of last summer's insanity.
We over-extended ourselves and just couldn't keep up.
It was ugly.

At this point in time, the East Garden is almost completely planted.  The only things left are the heat-loving plants -- peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant,  and one melon variety.  We planted, and I kid you not, 200 cabbages on Sunday.  That is a whole lotta sauerkraut!  I'm excited about it.

The West Garden, which is a little smaller than the East, will have all of our heat-loving vining plants -- winter/summer squash, melons, cucumbers, gourds, etc., and a couple of rows of sweet corn.

We are feeling much more under control this year.  I am actually able to participate for several hours each day on the weekend, with the baby's long afternoon nap.  I feel good (unlike last year with pregnancy) and the older boys are big enough to entertain themselves in the garden while we work.  Other than that, I do small tasks like water plants, gopher tools, seeds, and seedlings, bring out water and snacks, that kind of thing. 

Being able to talk and laugh while we plant has been fun.  It makes the tedious nature of the task (particularly those pine needle-like scallions!) much more pleasant.

I am so very glad we both have an interest in gardening -- I've thought many times of the impossibility if it were just one or the other.  It would be just too much. 

What a good team. ♥


Neil said...

That's awesome. We actually finally own dirt, so I'm planting for the first time this year. We started seeds late, so I think they'll mostly be instructional for Amelia, save for the herbs and the lettuce.

a. borealis said...

I bet you'll get something! That will be fun with Amelia too - she'll love it. I know our boys are thrilled by the prospect of their "very own garden". :)

Neil said...

Oh, we'll get stuff. I just don't know that they'll have time to produce anything before the snow flies again. This winter, I think, has broken me.