This spring has been rough on my garden in a number of ways.
I was tied up with the furniture for Habitat for a solid month which left me little time for getting the garden ready. My plan to take over the small triangle shaped garden by our patio for veggies seemed simple enough. Each year I draw out the layout of all the gardens on graph paper so I have a plan. It’s old school but it works and its a great thing to do while there is snow on the ground. I knew I was going to plant lettuce, beans and peas in the new garden and that the peas and lettuce were early crops. I also knew the peas and beans would require I build new trellises. What I didn’t know was how long it was going to take to get the trellises together and that I would need a fence.
The trellises were built the same way I built my cucumber frame (tutorial here) but without using a hinge to join the tops. These are just one panel and I screwed on 4 pieces of the furring strips to the bottom as spikes to secure them in the ground. I don’t have any pictures of this since it was about to rain and I was making it up. I also added additional cross pieces for more stability. I use furring strips because they are cheap and hold up pretty well but it’s not nice finished lumber and everything can be a bit wonky.
As for my second problem of a fence, I have no idea how I thought I could plant veggies here and not have Opie either digging them up to lie in the cool dirt or just peeing all over them. All of the other gardens have fences and gates. Nothing too secure but more of a suggestion that he isn’t allowed. He’s pretty respectful if he knows it isn’t his so I didn’t need anything too sturdy. Since I didn’t want to spend any money on a fence I tried to think of how to use what we already had. Then one day I am driving down my street and a neighbor had cut down a bunch of bamboo from their yard that was at their curb. I had no idea what I was doing but figured I could use that to put together something to protect me veggies. Here you can see I put together a little fence with some galvanized wire. I think I am going to put on a second row of cross pieces so I will try to give you a tutorial on that. So far it is working great.
On the left trellis I planted Blue Lake Pole Beans and the right trellis has Green Arrow shelling peas. In front of the beans are a gourmet lettuce mix and arugula. Some of the arugula is already done for since I waited to long to get the seedlings out of their tiny winter sow containers. I had the same problem with the cilantro which is looking pretty bad in bigger pots. Everything got a bit delayed while I was getting this all set up.
Here is a close up of the peas. A few didn’t sprout and since we are just getting started a stuck a few more seeds in. They just poked through today. I have each trellis planted with a row in the back and the front. If all goes well the trellises should be covered with vines and make everything look a little nicer including blocking the view of the electric post. Don’t mind my weeds everywhere. When I am waiting for seeds to pop up I wait to pull anything so I don’t pull the wrong things.
Here is the mess I still have on my hands.
This is a mess of seedlings that I need to protect from the child and dog. I put a gate on the section between the veggie beds awhile back and it gives me safe full sun spot. You can see the milk jugs and plastic containers I used for winter sowing which wasn’t great this year. Totally my fault. The idea is to create tiny greenhouses outside to protect fragile seedlings and to give them a head start. It’s great for people with little room to start things inside and you don’t have to harden off when it’s time to plant. The problem I had this year was the weather which was crazy. Like 35 degrees at night and 80 during the day. So as not to cook the plants I would open the tops in the heat. Then forget to close them again and it would be cold and they wouldn’t grow. They eventually got going but should be much further along at this point. The milk jugs need to be taped closed which was a pain. The plastic containers on the bottom right were the best since I could close and open as much as I wanted. Also in the pic are a few organic herbs I bought already started (lavender, sage, oregano and another rosemary). In the back are the metal pots with the strawberries.
My first strawberry of the year. One of the June bearers.
Below is a new kind of strawberry I am trying this year, an alpine variety Mignonette. They have tiny fruit with intense flavor. I plan to use them as borders for the front gardens since they are a clumping (no runners) plant and will fill in nicely. Here they are still in their winter sowing containers (started from seed) waiting for me to get it together.
Currently we have a big mess in the front yard. Somehow we have a tree growing that is now too big to just pull out. The daisies and the lilies of the valley have completely taken over the poor azaleas. When I first moved in seven years ago I kept those pushy plants in check but during the time I was pregnant and taking care of a tiny baby it all got away from me. The plan so far in to rip out most of the bed to get the offenders out. I hope to be able to save the azaleas (which a neighbor told me could be 40 years old) and then plant herbs among the flowers. Many of the herbs in the milk jugs and that I bought will go here. But this is going to be a big job. I was waiting for spring flowers to bloom first before I wrecked everything.
Here is one of the herbs I started, the thai basil. These are pretty and delicious with purple flowers. I actually planted this is the veggie bed thinking it was regular sweet basil, was all proud I was done then realized I grabbed the wrong container and had to take it out. So I popped them into these little plastic pots I saved from something until I’m ready for the front. These things are tough to be happy through all that moving.
And finally we have some purple tomatillos. I saw them in a seed catalog and thought they would be fun. They start out looking like a paper chinese lantern while the tomato like fruit grows inside. These should be further along but they are catching up. These are planted in the same bed as the poblano peppers, the sweet basil, the carrots and the cucumbers. I just realized that the wood labels are from last year and I should probably update them!
Things are happening very slowly this year. Having “help” in the form of a toddler who loooooooves digging with his new shovel doesn’t make things go faster but he does have me outside enjoying our yard more. He never wants to come inside.