Friday, March 26, 2010

the start of this year's garden

As soon as it stayed warmer than cold for a few days we couldn't help but start our garden. For the past two weekends we've worked hard to pick just the right plants and seeds, till the ground, build up the soil, and try to make the plants happy.

First came strawberries
The very first act of spring for us was putting strawberries in our strawberry planter! Last year there were herbs in this, it was an utter disaster. It's been two weeks and these strawberries are already thriving! And yes, the strawberry container is sitting on a (now rusting) milk jug circa 1970 something.

Next came tomatoes
Two years ago we had a Lowe's who-knows-what-type-it-was tomato plant. We had it in a planter with a basil plant. The basil did wonderfully while the tomato plant didn't seem to be as happy. Never knowing if it was doing well and just slow to fruit or really about to die it went to stay with friends while I went on vacation. In those 2 weeks my tomato plant fruited beautifully, or so I'm told, and then died. This year I want to try really hard to make my tomato plants happy and healthy. After a few visits to Native Nurseries we took home a new terracotta pot and 2 heirloom determinate tomato plants: (in the terracotta planter) Black Seaman and (in the silver planter) Silver Fir Tree.

Oh and we bought the "tomato package" that consisted of a bag of lime, Tomato-Tone, and worm castings. We knew what to do with 2 of the 3 parts of the "package" and decided that if we didn't use the lime (since we have no clue how to figure out, without testing the soil, how much to use to make things "right") we'd only wasted $2. Here are our lovely tomato plants about 2 weeks after transplanting at our house.

Then come seeds
I've tried growing plants from seeds maybe once or twice before. About a year ago one of the many attempts produced baby green growth. Sadly, the plant died after heavy rains. I guess it drowned. That was the extent of my 'grown from seed' experience. Feeling like I had a green thumb and could do no wrong (the exact opposite of my actual gardening abilities) I decided to buy some seeds. Oh boy, that turned in to way more than we realized we'd gotten ourselves in to. We had to tear up last years vegetable plot (that had been taken over by the red/fire ants and left for the grass to reclaim). A few extra yard tools later, a ton of sweat, a bit of blood, and probably a tear or two the area was ready for planting.
Oh, Zoe's favorite thing during all of this was walking up and down the rows, as if we'd made walking paths just for her! "Walking in between the rows is my favorite!" -Zoë 
I almost forgot: We got to actually use the compost that had been a year in the works! That really excited me. Digging it out from the compost bin, well that ruined my excited rather quickly. The compost at the bottom of the bin was mostly leaves and holly berries, but after rotting (aka composting) for a year I can only assume they have now become "compost" and useful.

See our rows of future (keep your fingers crossed) rows of fruits and veggies:
Closest to the compost we planted pumpkin, next summer squash, then watermelon, and then summer squash again. There were a lot of squash seeds, I love summer squash, and I didn't want to just set the extra seeds aside. So if we're lucky I guess we'll have an abundance of summer squash. We're waiting for the seedlings to break through and then we'll cover it with weed liner and possibly some newspaper mulch.

For all of the excitement with the prospects of the seeds these 2 transplanted sunflowers have only been in the ground for a week or two and just don't seem to be making it. We're waiting for a few more sunny days before deciding if we need to move them to maybe an even sunnier spot.

The rest is to be continued...

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