Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Looks Can Be Deceiving: Our Garden In March

What may appear like a whole lot of dirt and barren soil is actually the beginnings of this year's garden.  (All the debris in the garden is actually deliberate- it's our garden mulch.)  In a few months, this garden will resemble a controlled jungle of vegetables.  Over the past few years, Jamey has been taking advantage of his spring break to start planting.  It seems early, especially since we haven't yet started our indoor plants from seed yet, but for some crops, it's time.

Usually we plant our garlic in the fall but this year, the ground froze before we could get it in.  Instead, Jamey planted cloves (from last year) in sand and kept them in a cool place.  They sprouted nicely and he transplanted them into the garden.  They are under these tomato cages.  The cages were just to keep the chickens from scratching about in them until they were banished from the garden for the spring/summer.

 Two unhappy, banished ladies (Silver-Laced Wyandotte and Ameracana)

 The lettuce/spinach bed...

 When the next cold snap comes along, plastic will cover the poles, protecting the tender shoots.

The onion bed.  This bed is crucial this year.  Last year, we grew enough for tomato sauce and salsa, but didn't have enough through the winter.  We're not sure what happened (the year before we had plenty), but we've switched varieties and are crossing our fingers.

Below we have a new garden pea experiment.  The past few years, we have planted our peas all along the garden fence.  This provided support for the peas, so there was no need for staking them.  Sounds ideal, right?  The un-ideal part was that stubborn grass would snake it's way under the fence from the yard and choke out some of the peas even with repeated attempts to hoe around the outside of the garden AND an attempt at laying cardboard down around the outside of the fence and partially underneath.

So, Jamey is feeling all brazen and crazy this year and he is going to plant our peas in one big bed.  This is not standard pea planting procedure, but it is an option according to The Vermont Bean and Seed Company, so we're going to give it a try. 

Giant garden pea bed.

In addition to planting, Jamey pruned our fruit trees (four-year-old peach and apple trees, a total of 10) and the red raspberry bushes.

 Red raspberry canes (about half of our total bushes).

He also uncovered our strawberry plants.  Strawberry plants get covered with mulch late in the fall to protect them from harsh freezes.  In the spring, they need to be uncovered.  They may appear dead to the world, but once the sun shines on them for a few days, they begin to green-up.  I can almost taste those first few sun-warmed strawberries.  Mmmmm.  Less drooling. More typing.

 Uncovered strawberry plants- hard to see now, but they're there.

While Jamey was out prepping the garden and planting, I tackled some of the flower beds close to the house, especially the beds and planters that will hold our herbs and ever-prolific mint.  We won't have to plant parsley this year.  All three of my parsley plants (which resembled bushes) wintered over and are starting to grow already.

So, we're off.  Now we wait and watch for sprouts, baby lettuces, asparagus and strawberries.  It's been quite awhile since we've had fresh produce and our taste buds are getting very excited at the prospect. Pin It


  1. I'm cracking up at the banished ladies...why don't we humans understand that we plant the gardens for THEM!? My ladies are banished, too! And they don't like it one bit, either. I am so amazed at hoe destructive they are...I don't remember reading that in any of the chicken keeping books!

    Anyway...everything looks so GOOD! I can see those baby strawberries poking up...! Jamey is so good at keeping everything healthy and pruned and in good shape. What a blessing!

  2. My girls won't go in my garden no matter how hard I try. I've even carried my Alpha hen and put her in the garden to work it and she walks right out. I may need to build some little fences to put up around the boxes. I wanted them to go in and "de-bug" the place before planting season.

    You girls are making me look lazy. I need to get out there and work, but the snow just melted this weekend.

  3. We didn't get our garlic in last fall, either. I'm still waiting for snow drifts to melt. Our raspberry canes are still buried under 3-4 feet of it! I AM ready to get some seedlings started inside, though!

    Congrats on winning the Great Monday Give!

  4. Wow, you inspire me. Jim plows our garden in the fall so I have to wait until he gets the tiller out. We also have a few of those ladies that are expert at getting out no matter what we do. I believe those 2 will have to go. They are ruining my flower beds.

    You may want to plant some new parsley plants to take over when the ones from last year bolt and go to seed.

    Aunt V.

  5. I am very much looking forward to seeing your garden in all of it's glory this summer. I was also out prepping the soil, plotting, and planning this week.

    I love what your husband did with the garlic, that is something I shall remember. I would never have thought to root them in sand for a spring planting like that.

    Just look at all that beautiful mulch.:)

  6. The strawberries amaze me every year... they just keep coming back. We are down to our last 2 containers of frozen strawberries... :)


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