Thursday, April 30, 2015
Around the Garden
Well, since I have been working in the garden for the last six weeks, I think it is time I share the progress with you. It all began with a lot of shoveling, removing the snow from the cold frame, digging out the tunnels and freeing the raised beds from their blanket of snow. Some work was done in the tunnels, amending the soil, and the cold frame was repaired after some winter damage, and then it was planting time.
The cold frame was planted first, with beets, spinach, some mixed greens, kale and Swiss chard, and as you can see it is all doing well, I anticipate maybe two, or three weeks, and I will be able to harvest some baby greens. Two weeks later one of the tunnels was planted. Many of the same seeds went in the ground, as well as some marigolds and zinnias, a little experiment on my part. I figure the tunnels function as a little green house so why not see if the seeds will germinate. I made sure the soil was warm enough, and planted a row of each. And guess what, they are sprouting! If all goes well I will have some early flowers, which makes my so very happy.
Peas have been planted, in succession, two weeks apart, and there are still two more succession plantings to do. And this past weekend one of the raised beds was planted with kale, Swiss chard, beets and more salad greens, and covered with a row cover to help with germination, and to protect the seeds and early sprouts from the chickens, who like to scratch around in my gardens.
The herbs are thriving...comfrey, motherwort, lemon balm, chives, all heal, bee balm, yarrow, nettles, peppermint, and echinacea are all sprouting and growing. And the garlic is up! There is always this little part of me that worries about the garlic, buried deep under the snow, trying to stay warm and cozy in our very cold winters, but every spring it surprises me, pushing through the ground at just the right time.
Do you remember those raspberry bushes, the ones I kept having to remind myself to cover with straw before the first snowfall, and just never got around to it, those are sprouting too, sending out new shoots that are oh so green. While I am talking about berries, the post office dropped off a delivery notice yesterday, my berry bushes are in! Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, all waiting at the post office. I can't wait to pick them up today, and get them in the ground soon.
There are a few projects to be started around the garden. The first, an extension on the chicken coop, well, because there are new chicks on this little homestead. They arrived yesterday, and we are smitten. Eight Rhode island reds, to add to our existing flock of nine. The second project, new fencing around all the gardens. Last year we put up some quick fences when Shelby, our dog, and the chickens were doing a little digging and scratching in the beds. They were temporary, and this year we will make them permanent. The fencing is on the driveway, some old trees that were cut down a few years ago are being brought from the forest for posts, and soon no dog or chickens will be able to dig up my gardens. The third project, is to lay drip irrigation lines in all the beds. This project is something we have talked about for years, but just haven't done it. I am hoping this is the year it gets done. And the final project is preparing some of our land for a wild flower garden. I have marked the space with rocks, and once the dandelions bloom, and I have harvested what I need to make salves, the area will be covered with cardboard, manure and compost, in preparation for wild flowers next summer.
Oh, and one last exciting thing happening around here. Do you remember the new raised bed I put in at the end of last summer? The plan was that it would grow cut flowers, but that plan has changed, and it is now an asparagus bed. I have 20, two year old crowns waiting patiently to go in the ground. And the cut flowers, I am still planning to grow a lot more than I usually do, but will add them around our existing beds.
While I am busy working away in the gardens, my little man will often help, but sometimes he has other important things to do...creating beautiful mud patties, and mud pies, swinging on his swing, lazing on the hammock, playing a little music on the banging wall, or digging big holes in the sandbox. He does all of that close by, in his play space, created over the years to give him and his friends a place to run free, and wild.
So, there you have it, a little garden update. I love this time of year, the hope that comes with the beginning of a new growing season, the magic of watching a seed grow, the joy of connecting to the earth and the food we eat, it is all good stuff, really good stuff.
How are things around your garden?