Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Official Start

Although I technically seeded my spring cabbages back in December, today marks the first official day of the Peek Family's 2011 Vegetable Garden! Hooray!

I have BIG fat plans for this year's garden, including turning my front yard into a virtual haven of edible landscaping when not only will the vegetables flourish, but the wildlife (except for that wretched mole!) will be welcome and enchantment abounds. My magnolia tree is about to have its own special raised bed and the days of those 3 Bradford pear trees (that serve no purpose except to shade important parts of my yard that need the sunshine and drop nasty inedible fruits all over the sidewalk in the winter) are numbered!

I had to scrub under my nails and pick dirt out of my nose of course, but these annoyances actually made me smile because I got to spend 2 hours out in the dirt.

I started today's efforts by digging all the leaves out of the front flower bed. Friends, autumn's leaves are nature's way of protecting things over the winter. I piled up the autumn leaves around all of my perennial herbs in the front flower bed this winter, and while they hibernated under 6 feet of snow (we had 5 snowstorms over this past winter) the leaves kept their roots warm and safe. I just cleaned out all the leaves and I am delighted to see the new growth coming in on the lavender, parsley and thyme. I intend to intersperse basil, oregano, marjoram, sage, lemon verbena, chamomile, comfrey, tansy and angelica around in the front and make a tea garden envious of the most austere British gardener. I'd like to have a row of sunflowers along the porch wall as well, but I tried that last year and was not successful. This year however, I am using a new seed company, and will try it one more time.

I went to our backyard and extended the bed that I used for lettuces last year and joined it to the bed that formerly held pumpkins. I now have blisters on my thumbs, but they are trophies of my hard work. This bed is now four feet longer than it was previously and will hold an heirloom variety of sweet corn called 'Country Gentleman' or shoepeg corn. It is an open pollinated variety, not a hybrid, and I am planting it so that I can save seeds for next season as well as enjoy fresh sweet corn this summer. But I can't plant corn until the beginning of May, as the ground is simply to cold right now to ensure proper germination. So instead, I direct seeded sugar snap peas and seed potatoes into the far right third of the bed, since they are relatively cold tolerant and the peas will germinate and grow quickly.

In the green house, I sowed a lot of seed today, including several for the heirloom tomato pictured above, which is a variety known as a pineapple tomato. These tomatoes are heirloom, so their seeds are savable, and they grow to be about 5 inches in diameter and I am told they are sweet enough to eat for breakfast. I also seeded another heirloom variety called the Pink Accordion, which also grows to be quite large, and has a rosy pink hue instead of red. And of course, I seeded my Early Girls, which I am just dying to get out into the garden itself. Early Girls germinate in less than 10 days and then grow and ripen in about 60 days, and I hope I can wait until the beginning of June to taste my own sweet tomatoes. And tonight I plan to pay a visit to the garden center to pick up a few more peat cups and another bag of seed starting mix, so that this weekend I can get the rest of the produce started. The lettuces and broccoli didn't get the early start I was hoping for this year, due to all the frosty weather and snow that wouldn't let up.

If you're in my neck of the woods, do stop by and see what's springing forth from the ground!

No comments: