May 1, 2010

Time to Garden

One of my favorite things about spring is the gardening.  In March I go to the hardware store and spend forever picking out seed packets for my fruits and veggies.  I usually use the same few plants since I want my garden to be edible and useful but I always save some space to try new things.  This year we planted the staples: zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes (big boy and super sweet), basil, cilantro and mint and we are experimenting with lettuce, peppers, watermelon, asparagus, and a raspberry bush.  The asparagus and raspberry bush are perennials so they will hopefully flourish and stay.

This was the first year that I started my seeds indoors in little greenhouses, mostly because I couldn't wait till May to plant them.  Unfortunately I do not have a greenhouse or a room that would be warm, sunny and humid enough for the plants to flourish so I had to buy some kits to help me.  I bought two plastic, disposable greenhouse trays, some peat planters and seed starting soil.  After filling the peat planters with soil I designated each row to one plant and sowed the seeds according to each plant's specifications.

I keep the seed packet at the end of each row to remind me what's what.  Some people buy plant tags or use popsicle sticks.  I definitely recommend labeling your plants, otherwise it can get very confusing.  After that I water and cover them.  I place in them in a window that gets very good sun but I also provide lamps for some extra warmth.  Then I just wait and watch.  It's like watching water boil though, but I can't help it.  I become a little obsessed with my seedlings.  It is just so fun to see them start to pop up and grow.  Very gratifying when it actually works.

basil                          watermelon



Once the plants have all sprouted and are 1"-2" tall uncover them and leave them open, still in the sun.  Leave them like that till the last frost in your area.  Once you are ready to plant leave them outside for a little bit to harden them off and prepare them for the soil.  Then you need to prepare the soil in your garden.  First, I always till the soil and give it some good oxygen.

Then I added a good quality garden soil.  Last fall we re-did our retaining wall and expanded the garden so I needed some extra soil to fill it up so I mixed garden soil and top soil.

Lola was having fun walking across the bags like stepping stones.  She is so weird.  

After evenly mixing and spreading the soil I laid out my plants to make sure I had proper placement and spacing.  I really don't measure because I am a bit lazy that way but it hasn't been a problem yet.

Once I had everything where I wanted it, I planted!  Cucumbers are a vine plant so I always put them around a trellis for them to grow up.  It always looks so pretty.  It is amazing to see how full and green this starts becoming.  I think that is one thing I love about gardening - it is so rewarding.  

Because I have troublesome dogs I also installed a little mini-fence.  I am hoping over time the fence gets a weathered, worn look.  If not, I will take matters into my own hands.  Right now it is so rigid and white. 

It doesn't look like much now but hopefully in no time it will be lush and full of yummy treats.  

Happy Planting!

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