Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring Garden 2010

Spring finds me craving trips to the garden store. I long to plant; perennials, vegetables, annuals. I spend time critically examining the garden, thinking of what needs to be divided or moved and where I can fill in with new plants. This led to an expansion of the kitchen garden this year, moving tomatoes and squash outside the raised beds to create room for more of everything else. Of course, I'm still eyeing the empty lot down the street and trying to decide whether to "squat" plant it or not. Until then I have to make do with the limited space I have, and adding tomatoes to the front yard among the roses seemed like a good idea, likewise planting squash between ornamental grasses out back.

In mid-March we planted lettuces, leeks, swiss chard and spinach, all of which, with exception of the leeks, are ready to harvest. Once the last frost date passed we planted more spinach and lettuce, along with cabbage—yes, I know I was unsuccessful last year, but am determined to beat the cabbage worms this year with an organic spray of garlic, cayenne pepper, water and a dash detergent—provider beans, black beans, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, zucchini, pickling cucumbers, peppers, and sweet potatoes. You can see why we needed the extra room.

We dressed everything with a deep layer of nitrogen-rich compost (thanks to the ladies!) and it seems to have done the trick. We have an ample crop of onions, which were planted last fall and nursed through two snows earlier this year, and the garlic seems to be doing well and will be ready for harvest in June.

The herb garden is flourishing: tarragon, marjoram, oregano, thyme, basil, parsley, mint, cilantro, and of course rosemary. I've planted some herbs among the veggies (oregano planted with cabbage is suppose to repel cabbage butterflies, the offspring of which devoured the cabbage and broccoli last year), lavender to border the garden, and foxglove at the entrance. The blackberry has gotten big and had a nice show of flowers, the blueberries are looking healthy, and the strawberries are beginning to fruit.

All in all, year two of our effort to be more self-sustainable is looking pretty good. If I could take over the empty lot down the street, I could grow enough fruits and vegetables for canning and freezing to take us through the winter months. Hmmm...

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