Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 19th: Update

The peas are planted - this year they will be running along the side fence, where the watermelon seeds were planted last year (major FAIL, I think they rotted away before they had the chance to sprout). I changed locations because I noticed that the shed they were planted next to this past summer is starting to flake paint. Who knows if the paint has lead in it, so we aren't going to take the chance. We'll plant sunflowers there instead and leave the seeds for the birds.

I planted the peas on Sunday (April 17, for the record). Half of the seeds were "saved" from the summer's harvest (1 sugar snap variety and one snow pea variety). The other half were from a seed packet. So.. we'll see if my methods of seed saving for peas was a success. That is, gather the overlooked, overripe pods, dry them, harvest the seeds. Store in a little glass bowl in the seed cabinet.

The green onions continue to revive themselves, so we already have a nice crop of green onions/scallions. I checked on the blueberry bushes and they seem to have survived unscathed. The strawberry plants survived the weekend snow. Whew, whew, and whew. Our chives have already sprouted back up from the dead as well. Those are the best kinds of garden plants!

The tomato and pepper seedlings are happy, as are the spinach and arugula. I plan to transplant the spinach & arugula as soon as possible so they have enough space - they are growing quicker than expected. Herbs are sprouting up too, but I did a bad job of labeling them so currently, I don't know what's what.

My approach to gardening continues to be very off-the-cuff, fly by the seat of my pants (this is totally how I cook too, although I try to write down a "recipe" when the food is Yum! like the restaurant). So far it's working just fine - a backyard full of sunlight and healthy soil are working in my favor - but I know I need to eventually make note of what I'm doing and what's working best or what's majorly failing. And not rely on my memory. Hmm.. I wonder if I could hire an assistant or a secretary of sorts to stay on top of it for me. Daydreams.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Starting Indoors

If I remember correctly, I got a bit of a late start on planting seeds to start indoors last year. St. Patrick's Day is my goal, and this year I again missed it. But only by a week! I planted tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, spinach, arugula, and a number of herbs. Maybe something else too. Outside, the onions from last year are in the ground (they overwintered in order to get a head start this year). I'll plant more directly into the beds soon - and if the ones that overwintered end up growing nice and big and are a success story, I'll leave most of the "new" onions there overwinter and have that be my onion strategy. The ones I dug up at the end of fall (planted from seed in the spring) were all smaller than golf balls.. most were the size of marbles.

I still have plenty of vegetable seeds that need to be planted. Some I'll plant directly into the beds once it's a bit closer to June - such as carrots (mine did really well last year doing this) and green onions (which overwintered successfully all on their own, despite being feasted on by rabbits). Also cucumbers (did great!), summer squash (again, great!) and pumpkins (not great, but not bad either).

I'll admit: I am behind. I feel like I'm further behind than I probably am in reality. Okay, except for the peas & beans - I haven't started those seeds yet, so the spring crop might be doomed. Thankfully, they can handle the warmer days if they have some shade, and will produce an okay fall crop. Last year my peas & beans were spindley sprouts anyways, which caused them to be non-prolific (especially the peas). Great for snacking though! Ack, I forgot the beets too! Those will be new this year. (Maybe - if I ever get them started)

Here are some sprouts! I think this is spinach/arugula...
Happy planting! I'm going to try to catch up this weekend on the seeds that have tragically been left behind thus far. The school I teach at is insane this time of the year (okay, *all* times of the school year). This whole teaching gig sure does make it difficult to keep up with the better parts of life! I don't have any free time to enjoy the outdoors and get things done around the house/garden, save for the rare (& delightful) hour or two on weekend days.

OH!  The strawberry plants overwintered fabulously and currently look quite nice. But the snow (sNOw?! blech.) was just starting to come down too, so I don't know if they'll still look nice in the morning. I covered them with some nearby straw, but I don't know if that's enough to keep the leaves safe. We'll see! It's all a great big scientific experiment, if scientific experiments had a tendency towards awful, neglected record-keeping. I promise (myself) I'll be better about this next year! And this year too, especially in the bustle of the harvest/canning/freezing season.

One more thing, I need to read up on grapes, raspberries, and blueberries. What temps they can handle, how to prune (yes, I know, prune in the fall. too late for that now!), etc.