Friday, May 9, 2014

Challenge #18: Plant Something

Warm weather is finally here, and gardening season has begun!  I've spent so many hours in the garden this week that my face is developing a toasty shade of brown--which looks kind of funny compared to my white arms and legs that only got uncovered in the last 24 hours or so.

The big project so far has been weeding and mulching the strawberry beds.  I'm so happy to finally have gotten the last row completed on Wednesday.  Now I can look forward to juicy red berries next month without having to wade through weeds for them.  Not to mention that without weeds competing for the same nutrients the strawberry plants need, I should get bigger berries.

I also pulled weeds and sod from the area that I had planted grapes in many years ago.  The plan had been to put up posts and wire to make a fence-type trellis for them (rather than an arbor), but like a lot of plans around this little place here, the time from planning to completion has spanned way more years than it probably should have.  But, DH finally installed the posts for me on Sunday, so now I just have to string up the wires and then gently tie the grapevines to them to give the vines the idea of where to hang onto and grow this season.  It will be so nice to have them up off the ground, and see the clusters of grapes instead of accidentally discovering them when I step where I shouldn't because it was overrun with weeds.

new posts (and mulch!) for the grapes

Now that those two big tasks are done, I've turned my attention to getting this year's crops planted.  So far I have planted a long row of mixed lettuces (buttercrunch, red romaine, Paris white cos romaine, black seeded Simpson, silvia red romaine, salad bowl, forellenschluss, tango, oak leaf, Amish deer tongue, rouge d'hiver, rossimo, cocarde, red salad bowl.) for salads.  I also seeded two double rows of beets (Detroit dark red and early wonder), and a row of parsnips.  Next on the list is to get my potatoes and peas planted this weekend; provided we don't get so much rain today that the garden gets too wet.  After that will come the other seeds: corn, beans, squash, cukes, etc, and finally at the end of May when all danger of frost has passed for this little place here, I will transplant all the little green growing things I've been nurturing under lights in the house since the end of March (tomatoes, peppers, basil, etc).

If you've been thinking of putting in a garden, and you're not living in a colder zone than this little place here is located in (zone 5b), now's the time to get cracking!  It's a little too early for the tender plants like tomatoes, melons, and peppers, but there are tons of 'early' veggies you can seed now.  Peas, lettuces and spinach, brassicas like cabbage and broccoli (and cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, rutabaga. . .) will withstand a few chilly days and nights and can go into the garden asap.

Even if you have no space for a garden, you can still put in a flower bed.  Or, at minimum, a few pots of flowers for a sunny space in the house.  Do you remember back to your early elementary school days when a class project was planting marigold seeds for Mother's Day?  Who says you can't do the same thing as an adult?  A little pot (or an empty, clean yogurt container), some soil, and a few little seeds are all you need.

What are you waiting for?  Plant something!

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