Better Late Than Never

April 28, 2008 at 12:11 pm 11 comments

Seed selection

Two weeks of having my new garden, and I finally feel like I’m making some progress with it.   Digging the pathways and raised beds was quite the laborious task and took a lot more time than I anticipated.  But I wanted to do the framework right, putting in deep paths with a deep layer of mulch so weeds and mud will be staved off most of the time. 

Garden Week 2

Grunt work done, it was time to get planting.  It’s already quite late in the seaons to be planting some of the cool weather spring crops.  But since I already had the seeds, I figured it was worth putting a few in just to see what would happen.   On April 24th, I sowed seeds for Easter Egg Radishes (Raphanus sativus), Sugar Snap Peas (Pisum sativum), and an “antique” lettuce cutting mix (Lactuca sativa).  For the radishes, I put in a 3′ x 5′ section of one of my raised bed.  For the peas and lettuce, I sowed them together in the same section of another raised bed, hoping the peas growing up the trellis will eventually provide enough shade to keep the lettuce happy a little longer in this unseasonably warm spring.  If nothing else, I can hang a tent of filmy cloth from the trellis too.  Granted, this little scheme of mine depends in part on the peas taking off themselves, a challenge on dry near-80 degree days like we’ve been having this April.   Fingers crossed! 

   Radish seeds Sugar snap peas
                Radish Seeds                                Sugar Snap Pea Sees

In any case, I sowed 20 peas and broadcast a 2′ x 6′ section of the lettuce seeds.   I wish I had talked to Harold, one of my teachers, a little sooner about some of his helpful tricks for planting in clay-rich soil like what’s in my garden.  Next time I direct sow small seeds like lettuce and radish, I’ll follow his advice and cover them with potting soil instead of the existing dirt that tends to form a hard crust that diminishes germination success. (Of course this is only practical advice for the home gardener with a small manageable plot.  Farmers would be hard pressed to do this.)   Live and learn, right?

Lettuce mix seeds

Next up on the “direct sow” list are carrots, swiss chard, sorrel, and chicory.   I also need to get to work on starting seeds in trays for transplants of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and cucumbers.  I already did this months ago for Weavers Way Farm so if feels like I’m way behind schedule.  It’ll be a late harvest all around this season, but that’s fine since I’m only growing this plot for myself (and for the blog/you).  I’m also looking around for some more unusual stuff: a hardy kiwi and maybe some ground cherries.   The complete crop list, or at least complete as it stands right now, is captured below. 

Vegetable Crop List

To keep myself organized, on my garden design sheet, I’ve broken out each of my four raised beds, which are three feet wide, into five foot sections.  I feel it will be a good starting amount of space for most of the crops I am growing to feed myself and D over the summer and to put back some preserves for winter.  Some crops will take up more than one 3′ x 5′ section, especially the ones I like…oh beloved swiss chard and tomatoes, I can’t wait to start harvesting you! 

Vegetable Plot

Oh, another exciting tidbit to share that’s garden related: I’m getting a hive of bees to keep as part of my apprentice work!  I’ll definitely be posting a lot more information about that as I get started, but for now I’m dreaming of harvesting my own honey and maybe selling it with some of my homemade teas, either online or at the Headhouse Market.  How cool would that be?   I am also going to start investigating the best flowers for honeybees and make sure to plant plenty of them in my garden. 

So who has a garden plan or inspiration to share??  I can use more ideas so let me know what you’ve got! 

 

Entry filed under: In The Garden. Tags: , , , .

Garden Design Weed Happy

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gintoino  |  April 28, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Lavenders! You have to grow lavenders! They are a favourite for bees (at least here in my garden) and they look nice, and smell nice, and you can use them in the kitchen (I have a recipe for cookies flavored with lavender somewhere…have to look for it). I love lavenders (can you tell?)😉

    Reply
  • 2. Jennie  |  April 28, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Gintoino – Yes, LAVENDER! Once again, you and I are very much alike. I love lavender! I love its lovely scent and pretty flowers so much that I actually named my cat Lavender. 🙂 I was already planning to grow some in the garden this year, but now that you mention it, bees do like it a lot so maybe I’ll plant even more. I like to make little bags of it and put in with my clothes. But I also like cooking with it and have a recipe for cookies too! 🙂 Here it is…maybe it is similar to yours? https://straightfromthefarm.wordpress.com/2007/07/13/soothing-hearts/

    Reply
  • 3. Christine  |  April 28, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    I am already dying for some of your home-grown honey! And maybe some of those lavender cookies…

    What are ground cherries? I am intrigued.

    Reply
  • 4. Caroline  |  April 29, 2008 at 8:23 am

    It sounds like you’ve got the perfect combination there! I expect a lot of your tea plants will be attractive to honeybees. Mint, monarda and lemon balm would work pretty well, I would think, and the bees seem to like the agastache I’m growing. I have a mint-like chartreuse one with purple flowers which is pretty enough, but I’ve actually had strangers wander into my garden to check out my Agastache mexicana with its fine silver-gray foliage and red spires! If I ever move, its coming with me!

    PS How do you harvest your ground cherries? Any tips on their cultivation? I hardly got enough for a pie out of the four or five I grew last year!

    PPS Lavender cookie recipe, please!

    Reply
  • 5. gintoino  |  April 29, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Yes, the recipe is very similar to the one I remember (I don’t think mine had any cinnamon on it).

    Reply
  • 6. Caroline  |  April 29, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Oops! The recipe is right there! Thanks!

    Reply
  • 7. Sue  |  April 30, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    I’ve been a voyeur of your blog for a while, now stepping out from behind the curtain, lured by your move into the garden world. I’m a Weaver’s Way member, farm aficionado and enthusiastic gardener. I grow perennials (have offered Dave some for the farm), cutting garden and veggies, all in a higgledy-piggledy way that tends to work but is more whimsy than organization. Recently found a Rodale Press book on companion planting that validates my style quite happily, so I am content to resist my husband’s contention that beans will not thrive unless in soldierly rows!

    Thank you for entertaining me and luring me into new efforts. Garlic mustard I have, and I’ll be adding it to our salads of more intentional crops, starting tonight! Happy gardening, and I hope to meet you at the farm one of these days. Sue

    Reply
  • 8. rachel  |  May 1, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Your post, esp the title, inspired me to go out and get the packs of seeds I had banded together with the note “late April” in the ground today, May 1st. Had already put in cabbage, onion, spinach, sugar snap peas, and radishes. All of them are coming up (thanks to the weekly rains we’ve been having I’m sure.) Today’s plantings were 2 kinds of lettuce, beets, carrots, and leeks. There are some new things in there I haven’t tried….we’ll see. I’ve started tomatoes and peppers inside and the tomatoes are about 3 inches high and starting their first set of “real” leaves, beyond the first two. However, they’re falling over. Any tips? I thought about maybe putting a drinking straw down over them and pressing it into the soil as support, but then that would cover their stems from getting light….?? The stems are very thin right now. Happy Gardening!

    Reply
  • 9. Sue  |  May 2, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Rachel, I grow my own tomatoes babies – it’s so rewarding to have the unusual kinds you can grow if you do it yourself – and over the years have learned that two things make a big difference in their fortitude. I feed them with dilute fish emulsion and spray it on before I feel comfortable watering with it, and I put an oscillating fan on low with lights (both on timer for @ 10 hrs/day.) That may be more profligate with electricity than they need, but they surely do grow strong with this treatment. Hope this helps. P.S. Be sure they are very, very close to the lights if you are using artificial light… that’s key, too.

    Reply
  • 10. Food Farmer  |  May 2, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    That is nice that you planted a garden. We live on a small farm in MN we have about a half-acre garden. It is a lot of work, but we have a big family to help. We also planted 90 fruit trees (apple, apricot, plum, and cherries) just recently. I hope we did not get over our head. We also have honey bees I do not know where you are located in, but where we live it is hard to winter over our bees. I lost two hives last winter. I only had two hives. I think we needed more nectar flowers. The year before that we had buckwheat (grain). That seemed to work good. We did have a few acres of buckwheat though. I do not think that a little amount of flowers would make much of a difference. I plan to try again this year.

    Reply
  • 11. Madeleine Lee  |  March 18, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Hi,

    I am looking for Rosemary Sprig to infused into our Tea Seed Oil, Do you have Rosemary Sprigs?? (Dried)

    Reply

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