I started making good garden progress last weekend which slowed to a halt throughout the week as I got busy. I have to keep telling myself I am actually further ahead this year despite the long winter. Last year May was awfully rainy and I had to hold off planting and then replant a number of veggies. This May has been great and our 10 day forecast looks good so I want to start planting immediately.
Inside my seedlings are still growing slowly. I did not get them enough natural light and I will try to get them outside this weekend and into my little greenhouses.
My 60 or so cucumber seedlings are starting to grow and I can’t wait to get them into the ground.
The 72 cell tray with kale seedlings is full of life which should keep us in delicious greens through late fall.
The Swiss Chard tray also came to life after I replanted a number of cells. They are growing fast and waiting for a home in the garden.
The corn is not coming up very good and I will probably attempt direct seeding most of the crop despite that not working well for me last year.
I also started sprouting seeds in baggies with damp paper towels. I have never tried this before but my goal is to use these seeds in containers and I hope the sprouting will give them a head start. My containers have always been an afterthought in my garden. I plant them first when I am waiting to get the garden planted but by the time the garden is in I am neglecting them for the bigger harvests. This year I want to spend more time increasing my yield from them.
In containers I plan on planting greens like Tatsoi, Dandelion, Lettuces, Mesclun mix, Leaf Celery, Spinach, Beet Greens, and any thing I can’t fit into the garden.
After spending about 45 minutes turning over soil in containers, lining them up, and preparing them for planting next weekend I turned my attention to the garden rows. Unfortunately for me that allowed maniac #2 (Spence) time to dig holes into my containers and plant his pine cones and dandelion flowers! Another lesson learned for me.
I tilled the main portion of my garden. All the leaves, yard clipping, and leftover hay went into the soil. I can’t get over the improvement in the soil over the course of 4 seasons. In our 5th season now the soil feels rich and is loaded with worms. It is a far cry from the hard stuck together clay like soil we first started with.
I put a cage around our biggest raspberry bush that calls the left corner of the garden home. I call this bush “Mother Raspberry” – it was the first thing we planted in the garden when we moved in (at that time it was lawn). In hindsight I never would have put it in that spot but in year one it was in the back far corner of a little 10 x 10 garden plot. I call it Mother Raspberry because for 3 years now I have been replanting the “suckers” that grow from around it on the back end of our property. This one bush as created around 15 new bushes many of which will start producing fruit this year.
Above is an example of a sucker from the raspberry bush. I carefully dig around it and lift up the root ball and replant it where I want. Presto – you have a new raspberry bush. In year two I purchased 10 other raspberry bushes some of them were golden “Anne” raspberries which we planted in the far corner of the yard. Those combined with all the suckers we have replanted give us well over 30 raspberry plants in various stages of growth. Mother Raspberry last year gave us our first really great harvest so those other 10 should be exploding this year (we hope).
This week I took 5 suckers off the raspberry plant and replanted them. It could have been 7 but I got a little rough with a few and broke them.
We are looking forward to canning raspberry jam this year for the first time- it is a maniac favorite at breakfast.
I finished setting up the garden beds on our slope as well. The fabric is in place warming the soil and all recycled from last year. They are ready for compost and plants.
I have also marked off the rows for the main garden and was pleasantly surprised to find I can fit 19 rows in the space instead of the 18 I was planning on. Each row is 4 ft wide. 3 ft will be growing space and 1 ft for pathway. I think having a small pathway between each row keeps the garden looking uniform and easy to maneuver.
Upcoming in the Garden…
I have a busy weekend planned with Mother’s Day and lots of family events. Be sure to check out our Mother’s Day French Toast recipe if you are looking to treat the mother in your life! I have also been doing exactly what I said I wouldn’t which was revise my Vegetable Garden Layout plan. I want to finalize that but the truth is it won’t be final until the plants are in the garden.
My next projects are…
- Plant containers and Potato bags
- Lay compost then fabric down on main garden rows
- Setup mini greenhouses and get seedlings into them
- Purchase seedling from greenhouse
- Stake fence around garden
- Create the new garden beds for this year
- Start picking away at planting
Hopefully in another week I will be able to share with you lots of garden progress. Thanks for reading!