Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Forward!

We. Had. Sun!

To some of you that isn't a big deal, but here in the Northwest, sunny days this time of year are amazing and rare! They hold the promise that Spring is close, and summer...well, it must be right around the corner. Of course, sun doesn't mean warmth here, but you'll still see people out in their shorts and tees in 50 degree weather, including the socks and sandals combo (I still don't get that, I like my galoshes).  I love, love, love Spring and am pretty darn excited to see my bulbs coming in and starting to bloom. T

Nick and his Dad have been doing the hard labor to get the yard and garden beds ready for me, so I can start planting my veggies, herbs and fruits. Last year, I didn't quite get the garden I wanted-a lot of time was spent handling family issues and other more important tasks, but I did manage to get some amazing tomatoes planted. You can see a bit more of that garden here.  There's nothing quite like the taste of a fresh picked tomato. Yum.

I have some rough plans mapped out, I have 2 long and narrow beds, one large 10X10 bed and a 4X4 bed along with containers that hold all I like to plant. There's some work to do, but with maternity leave, I have had time to map everything out and start a list of what I will be planting. I can't wait to get out there this week and next and get dirty!

On tap for this week:
Dead heading! I have a few crops, mostly herbs, that just don't die back. I trim off the old, woody stuff and let the new growth come up. Yesterday, I saw that the mint I planted in the main bed bolted. Note to self-mint should go in a container or it takes over everything. I'll be digging all of that up, and giving some to friends, drying some, and putting the rest in a container. I also have wild mint that grows in the rose beds by my front door. I need to trim that up, too.
Soil amending!  I need to boost up the nutrients and till everything up to make the soil nice and fluffy. I like to add compost, extra soil and a nitrogen/super whatever the store makes amender goop that I toss in. I'll add the name when I order it, I sadly only know it by the picture-I'm screwed if the label ever changes.
Starting seeds! I have a few varieties of squash and tomatoes and bell peppers that I'll be starting in little containers in my dining room.
Plant Sale! Seattle Tilth has amazing plant sales in March and May. You can buy seeds and starts and get expert advice from fellow gardeners.
Planting starts! I'll be planting my peas, broccoli, artichoke, kale, chard and some lettuce this week to give them plenty of time to get started. I'm not quite sure of the varieties of each, I'll pick and choose as I go.  Next week or the week after (weather dependent), I'll plant beans.  I'm also excited to use the wrought iron trellises from my Dad's house.

Usually, Spring is spent adding something new to the garden every week. Sometimes I pick up too many plants late in the season, and they sit in their little containers until I get too busy to plant them, and they die a sad planty death. This year, I hope to avoid that!  Here' some garden shots for you-the first is of one of my giant squash-the plants yielded so many and this one wasn't the largest. The next is a dewy tulip bulb from my front gardens!


This year, I am involved in something new! I'm part of a group that will be doing a progressive backyard farm tour, complete with snacks, drinks and eventually a dinner. That's in two weeks, which is just enough time to wake up the garden and get things started. We'll be visiting bees, chickens, fellow gardens and even get a stop in to peek at some goats. Yep. We have it all here in South Park! Henny is quite excited for visitors ;)
I'll post pictures as I go, and keep folks up to date on what I planted that worked and what didn't work so well. I'll also get pictures of the goats, too!

What are your favorite cool weather crops?  Any garden plans for you all? This week for you readers, please post a comment, and I'll pick a winner at random on Friday and send packets of my favorite seeds just in time for Spring! :)

Best to you all!
Raina