Sunday, April 15, 2012

Garden Time?

I don't need to tell anyone what a weird winter it was and now this unseasonable, strange spring.  Normally, I would go out to clean and prepare the vegetable garden for planting around this time - mid April - and the skeletons of parsley that froze before I could pick it, dried pickle vines and a few late lettuce leaves that didn't quite make it would remain as a reminder of last year's harvest.  Oh yeah, and a few weeds and some clumps of grass that jumped the wall.  Over in the far bed moss usually begins to grow in the remaining moisture in the shorter days of winter.

This year!  Lordy, lordy, this year is downright freaky!

The weeds look like the garden was left fallow all summer and was never planted.  What's more, the trees are not even leafed out yet.

This kale plant apparently didn't get the memo that autumn had come and gone and it continued to produce tender leaves all winter.

When I pulled it up by the roots, I had myself a kale bush.  Take a look at the trunk that should be a stem.

After hoeing the weeds, pulling what was wintered over and raking everything out, I added several yards of organic compost and a little cow manure for good measure (and a touch of barnyard smell for affect) and now the beds are raked smooth and ready for planting.

I'm not an expert gardener, by any stretch of the imagination.  This will be the 4th year I have planted this garden and I do it by instinct, a little bit of knowledge and just fly by the seat of my pants.  My light isn't perfect and I have planted many things that have not thrived in my little farmstead.  But I know that lettuce loves the darker bed near the woods and arugula, one of our favorites, thrives.  Cucumbers and green beans grow well in the other bed and kale, collards and chard grow like crazy.  I have grown nasturtiums for garnishing salads (I learned that from my grandma when she would pick them wild in Arkansas and use them to dress up the peaches she had "put up" the season before) and last year discovered the wooden box in the corner is a grand place for eggplants.  My tomatoes have to be grown on the deck, in the bright sunlight but I had the blight my first year and haven't really had much luck with them since.  In my flower garden, I grow awesome basil.  I call them my basil bushes.  I just have a touch.  I also tried carrots last year and got some yummy, sweet little gems.  I'm going to do them again this year as well as try some watermelon.

Each year we do a little improvement and this year we are going to lay some landscaping cloth on the paths around the beds and put down recycled rubber mulch to cut down on unwanted weeds and grass and to make the garden nicer to look at from the deck.  After that, the gate needs repair (or probably more like rebuilding), and then by Mother's day I'll be ready to plant my little seedlings.  Then the real fun begins. 

As my garden grows, so too do I.


Marilyn (Pulp Sushi) said...

Wow this is great Neely! I'm sure you'll end up with lots of goodies. Don't forget to share with your teammates! ;)

Jess Schleicher said...

Love it! I'm just getting my cold crop seeds into their beds. I can't wait. This is our first year of raised beds.

Debi - Tink's Treasure said...

You are inspiring me Neely :-)
Great read.