In The Garden: March 2012
I’m so excited to be noticing little signs of life from my plants again! The trees are blossoming, the berry bushes are budding, and my seedlings are beginning to emerge from their tiny encasings. All of my perennials are coming back beautifully!
The stuff I’ve planted in the garden… however… well, I’m afraid I’m a bit off to a rough start. On top of the mistakes I’ve already made, we’ve had some major hail this past week from which I’m hoping my tomato plants and tender broccoli seedlings will recover. Watching as nature takes its toll on my hard work makes me have so much appreciation for the homesteaders of yesteryear. I just can’t imagine the devastation they must have felt to have all of their crops… food they depended upon for survival… destroyed in one day. I’m grateful we probably won’t depend on this garden this year. But I’m still going to try to make it the best I can.
Here’s how it’s looking so far. Franky, I’m a little embarrassed to show it to the world looking like this. What a mess! And still very soggy from all of the rain. Just trying to keep it real for ya though. It’s the potential that keeps my chin up, dontcha know!!
I’ve been very busy getting everything going from seed. So far, here’s what I’ve planted this year:
- onions (red and white)
- sugar snap peas
- purple podded peas
- 3 lettuces and a swiss chard
- more artichokes
And in the greenhouse are several seedlings getting ready for the garden also:
- several different tomato varieties
- sweet bell peppers
- St. John’s Wart
- thyme (english)
- shepherd’s purse
- wooly lambs ear
- summer savory
- oregano (greek)
- oregano (italian)
- cayenne peppers
- mexican chile peppers
- salsa peppers
- italian parsley
Plus, the wonderful perennials that we’ve put in a little at a time over the past couple of years:
- 2 elderberry bushes
- 2 peach trees
- 2 apple trees
- 2 fig trees
- 1 (surviving) blueberry bush
- 12 raspberry bushes
- 3 scuppernong vines
- globe artichokes
- lemon balm (lemon mint)
- and four new grape vines I need to get into the ground still (2 green, 2 concord)
Everything is pretty much *just* coming in, but here’s a look around so far…
This is the first year I’ve planted peas. I chose sugar snap peas, ’cause you don’t have to shell them (which, I hear, is a whole lot of work for very little reward). I put in two different varieties of peas: sugar snap peas and purple podded peas, which I’m really excited about (thanks to a sweet friend for sharing the seeds!).
Dirty Wilson (the king roo) got out and scratched up the bed, so I’ve got a few bare spots I need to fill back in. But other than that, looking good! I’ve planted them underneath an old metal swingset frame, to use as a trellis. I still need to attach a wire for these vines to grow up. Looks like I need to get that done asap!
My broccoli. Here’s where I made my first mistake for the year. I thought I’d be all smart and order some row covers to protect my broccoli from those dumb white moths that came along and created all those green worms that infested my brassicas last year. Everybody swears by floating row covers.
Here’s where I blew it though. After spending several weeks babying two dozen gorgeous broccoli seedlings, then hardening them off for a week, the day finally came to plant them in their final home. It was a beautiful, sunny day when they were put in their rightful places in the raised beds. I even made sure to mulch well around each little plant with old chicken coop bedding (aged manure mixed with straw, great for broccoli).
I wanted to make sure they were well protected, so I unwrapped that brand new row cover, and lovingly pulled it over my tender seedlings. I used bricks to hold the sides down all around the raised beds, then I went inside satisfied with a job well done.
Anyone with any gardening experience can probably figure out what happened next.
Yeah. Take note, all you beginners out there…
DO NOT cover your seedlings in the middle of a hot, sunny day.
And don’t laugh at me.
I basically fried them in one short afternoon. By the next day, all but two had pretty much shriveled up and blown away. Dead.
So, I went to plan B and planted seeds in place of the deceased. Except now there are so many little weeds coming up through the soil, my broccoli has some major competing to do. I’m wondering if the weeds are from the straw I put down as a mulch. Maybe it was hay instead (which has seeds in it)? Either way, I’ve got some work to do.
I planted turnips for the first time this year as well (thanks, to another friend for sharing seeds!). Again, having weed issues here.
Onions. I absolutely can’t stand transplanting onion seedlings. I’m ashamed to say, I ended up tossing about 3/4 of the seedlings I’d started into the compost bin out of sheer frustration. My problem is that they are so tiny and flimsy, and really difficult to handle. I think that if I start more seeds in the Fall, and let them grow through the winter in a cold frame, they should be a good size for transplanting next Spring (about pencil width).
The ones I did manage to get planted seem to be doing well though, so that’s great! I also direct sowed more seeds, which are also just coming up. If they do well, then that’ll definitely be the way to go! I may even direct sow them in Fall, and protect them through the winter under a row cover, and skip transplanting all together. Something to experiment with.
And yes, the weeds are a recurring theme here. These are no doubt from the new compost we purchased to top off our beds. *hanging head* Sometimes, you just have to roll with the punches, lol.
First time planting parsnips, too. So excited to see them popping up!
Unless that’s a weed.
Anyone out there know what parsnip seedlings look like??
The garlic I planted from store-bought heads over the Fall are looking really good! Sure wish I could see how it’s going beneath the soil!
I’m very happy to see my cabbage seedlings finally showing their green! I planted a row of these little guys. Last year I planted them in a raised bed, and they were way crowded. Maybe this’ll work out better.
Here are some of my tomato seedlings, after being pummeled by major hail the other day. I think they’re doing well, considering! These are Amish Paste tomatoes, which don’t grow like a bush that you stake up, but they vine and sprawl. This year I’ve put up a trellis for these plants to climb. I just used some wire fencing stretched out across a few posts. I’m hoping it’ll work out well. Still need to mulch this row. Maybe I should have positioned the trellis a bit closer to the plants?
I have quite a few more Amish Paste seedlings growing in the greenhouse, too. I’m hoping to have lots of tomatoes to play with this year!
I decided to plant my lettuces and chard in containers this time. Last year, it got so hot that all of my lettuce bolted and got bitter before we could even enjoy it. My plan is to move these pots into part shade when it starts to get really hot during the day. I can’t wait to have crisp, fresh lettuce!!
All of my herbs are germinating in individual pots as well. Last year I planted my herbs in beds, and then couldn’t tell the difference between the weeds and the seedlings! I thought I’d be better off putting them in designated planters this time around. But then I ran out of potting mix, so like a genius I filled most of those pots with compost… which is now sprouting weeds!! Ugh. One of these days I’ll get it right, lol!
So, that’s pretty much the garden tour for now! It’ll be fun to watch how everything grows over the next few months.
How’s your garden coming along? I know it’s still too cold in many areas of the country to be planting anything yet, but how are you preparing for Spring?