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Oh How Does My Garden Grow?

So this spring we certainly didn’t get an early start but we didn’t get a lazy start either.  We’ve actually made some really good progress on seed starts, weeding, planting flowers, and generally cleaning up our deck.  Let’s take a look…

Seed Starts Indoors:

So as I have showcased before I have had quite good success with getting seedlings to grow in the peat greenhouse that I ordered from Amazon.  In this setup growing indoors I have a variety of tomato plants, asparagus, radishes, eggplant, and peppers.  About 95% of the peat cups grew a couple of plants, so many that I had to thin a few out to able them to keep growing.  About 45 of these cups made it into 4″ container pots to promote their continued growth and the transition to their new homes has shown very promising signs fortunately.  These plants will remain indoors until approximately mid May.  However, this little sunbath shown right here might have done most of the radishes in and some of the tomato plants.  I’m okay with these losses because we have a lot of other stuff going on.

Sunning no the back deck during transplantation.
Sunning no the back deck during transplantation.
Still surviving.
Still surviving.

Weeding:

Oh what fun it is!  I first tackled weeding the beds nearest to the front of the house while Bryan was away and in a very hurried state planted some zinnias and sunflowers in this area.  I know that in the summer this south facing area gets a good amount of sun and I have my first glimpses of seeds starting to sprout.  Once strong I will much this area.

Once Bryan was back we tackled a much greater area of weeding together.  We spent a few hours in the backyard one day pulling up all of the weeds between our concrete tiles and hacking through the garden beds in the back.  This was a good chore, requiring us to pull up a few dead plants and of course a generous dosing of weeds.  We cleared two decently sized areas in preparation for more vegetable beds.  On another day we spent 1-2 hours weeding the front yard.  These are the really unsatisfactory weeds to pull as they are mostly dandelions and like to just snap off versus release their roots.  But the front yard does look so much better!

Before pictures of our beds in the backyard.
Before pictures of our beds in the backyard.

Seed Starts Outdoors:

With the two large beds we cleaned up in the backyard I was able to plant vegetable seeds hardy enough to withstand the spring temperatures.  In the shadiest bed I planted beets, carrots, and kale.  In the sunnier bed I planted arugula, spinach and romaine.

Bed before cleanup and planting of our leafy greens.
Bed before cleanup and planting of our leafy greens.
A bajillion little baby lettuces that is going to need to be thinned.
A bajillion little baby lettuces that is going to need to be thinned.
Bed before cleanup and planting of root veggies.
Bed before cleanup and planting of root veggies.
If you look close enough you can see a beet plant or two.
If you look close enough you can see a beet plant or two.

I essentially tossed most all of the old plants that were in pots.  There are only two existing trees that remained in pots and the herbs that are still amazingly growing since last year; cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage and mint.  In some of the pots that are now free to use I planted seeds for cucumbers, snap peas, green beans, and summer squash.

Cucumbers and summer squash growing side by side.
Cucumbers and summer squash growing side by side.
Green beans and snap peas finally popping up now too.
Green beans and snap peas finally popping up now too.

Generously, my green thumb coworker Maureen who had a huge head start on gardening this year gifted me two of her heirloom tomato plants to add to my collection.  They are at least three times older than my other tomato plants right now.

And lastly, Bryan bought one strawberry plant from Grocery Outlet for $1.99 that we have potted and will see if produces for us this year.  So far it looks great!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

I have learned some interesting information on some of the new-to-me plants that we are gardening this year that has already been quite helpful…

Asparagus:  This is the fern-looking plant that grows in thin strands.  Probably why people don’t have luck with asparagus is because they are a perennial seed and can’t really be harvested until the second or third year.  They need deep beds for their roots and they gray a bushy fern.  This fern you are supposed to not cut back until the following spring because it promotes the roots to grow.  After we cut back the ferns next spring we should start to see asparagus tips start to grow from the roots.
Carrots and Beets (in the back shaded bed):  The reason I may have not had luck with these in the past and why we don’t have hundreds growing in our garden yet is that they really need loose soil and I don’t think I have ever loosened up the beds enough for their roots to grow well.  They need a lot of water, because they are deep roots surface wetness doesn’t do anything for them so they need at least 1″ a week.  Harvest when the roots are sizeable (1/2-3/4″ for carrots) but carrots taste better after a few frosts.  You can mulch over the plants to help them retain their moisture and protect them from sun.  If carrots are left over winter they will reseed themselves in the spring.
Radishes:  Okay, so these are those little tiny buggers that appear to be so sunburnt (although I know some of our tomato plants are sunburnt too).  These things have a very short life so you are supposed to plant them in rounds to get crops throughout the spring and fall.  They do not grow well in temperatures over 65 but do require sun so I think the 90 degree temperatures are probably more likely what did them in.  These apparently are a little difficult to grow.
And in general root plants should not be planted in manure or a very rich compost because that stimulates the growth of the green tips but at the cost for the root themselves.  All of the other stuff I feel like I have a pretty good handle on and most I have tried growing before with mild success.

Grow plants, grow!!!

Chelsea

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