Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I'm a lonely little tomato in a tulip patch

Our garden is pretty much planted and ready for the season of growing! I am so excited -- every morning, one of my favorite things to do when Jonah takes his first nap is to go out into the garden with a cup of coffee and survey the progress. I'm especially excited to see new seedlings come up and increase in size, like here:
On the box in the left are corn and sunflowers -- about half the corn is from seed, the other half I bought as seedlings from Meadow View Farm in Southwick, MA, about 15 minutes from here. I love that place! It has mad crazy amounts of plants, and is only open May and June. I was so sad when most of my seedlings kind of dwindled off -- my visions of having a "from scratch" garden full of heirloom varieties were going up in smoke. But I learned lessons from this -- like not to leave little seedlings out overnight when the temperatures are low, even if the days are sunny and springlike. And little seedlings need lots of sunlight, something we don't have a ton of in our house -- I'll have to figure out a solution to that for next year. But anyway, I remembered that this is a learning year, and I still wanted us to have some veggies to harvest, so I gave in and bought a ton of seedlings. Happily, Meadow View had lots of heirloom tomato varieties.
Anyway, I digress. In the box on the right are varieties of squash -- about half from seed and the other half from purchased seedlings. We've got butternut (from Town Farm Dairy -- I saved the seeds from their squash last fall and dried them out), zucchini and yellow squash in there.The jungle-like bushes you see are raspberries, which were there when we moved in.

With the garden being quite full, I still had a few semi-decent sized plants that I grew from seed that may or may not be hearty enough to make it this season. I didn't want to throw them away, so I started planting them in random places around our yard. Here's the tomato amongst the tulip leaves:
And a pepper plant with the pansies and catmint.Three of the first radishes are ready to be harvested! Dave ate them tonight and said they were way better than store-bought -- the highest compliment to me! I tried them, but don't really like radishes anyway.
I planted a new patch of them about a week ago, and they're starting to sprout too (they're the little green things in front of the mature radishes).
I had direct sown a lot of seeds in the garden, but hardly anything was coming up. So when I decided to plant purchased seedlings, I covered up a lot of the garden with salt marsh hay to keep down the weeds. But I think I was too impatient -- a bunch of cucumber sprouts started poking through the hay, so I cleared the area and stuck stakes next to them so we wouldn't step on them (since they were in the middle of the row!) We are going to have so many cucumbers, because besides the ones that sprouted from seed, my mom gave me a bunch of seedlings that she grew from seed. So we have about 10 cucumber plants!

We put down the hay to keep the weeds away, and to help the soil become more fertile next year, after we till everything into the ground at the end of the season. And it's not just weeds that the hay keeps away, it's grass -- since this used to be part of our lawn, lots and lots of grass keeps trying to grow where we tilled. We could really use this grass in other parts of our lawn, but it insists on growing where we DON'T want it. See it starting to surround the garlic?

This fall we'll cover the entire garden with some sort of mulch after we till everything under. That should help keep some of the grass away.

So to sum it up, from seed we planted butternut squash, zucchini, radishes, garlic, lettuce, basil, corn, cucumbers, sunflowers, basil and a few tomato plants. Okay we initially started with more vegetables than that, but those are the things that seem to have a chance of having one or two plants make it. The raspberry bushes were already in place, so we didn't have to do any planting with those. From purchased seedlings we planted zucchini, yellow squash, corn, pumpkins, strawberries, peppers (yellow, red, green and scotch bonnet), tomatoes (MANY varieties, including yellow and cherry), eggplant, and a whole mess of herbs. And my mom gave us some cucumbers and string beans that she grew from seed.

Can I just say a fews words about my mom here? She is awesome. She totally made this garden possible. She spent many hours either weeding or occupying Jonah so I could weed/plant. She brought me tons of lilies and cosmos, and even planted the cosmos for me, in a semi-border around part of the garden. Not to mention the from seed plants she grew and brought me. I'm so lucky to have her! Thanks, mom, you rock!

Oh, and in case you haven't checked out Jonah's blog lately, here's a picture of him practicing eating (so that he can have all of those yummy vegetables...maybe next year!)


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to come over and split a juicy bacon cheeseburger with one of those luscious tomatoes.
Uncle Mike

Anonymous said...

Thanks Michelle. I'm glad I was able to help. I can't wait to try your veggies and see your cosmos.

elizabeth said...

Omg!!! He is so cute. I'm sorry but the garden pales in comparison!!

schrodinger said...

I second Elizabeth, the most important growing there is what Jonah is doing, I can't believe how much he's grown.

Vicki said...

There's an art to starting seeds indoors and hardening them off for the garden before planting them.