It’s been a few years since I had much of a garden. Two years ago I was heavily pregnant during prime gardening season and last year I was a sleep deprived new mama, which are not ideal states for cultivating the soil successfully.
This year, I finally feel ready to once again dig deep into the soil, renew my spirit with compost and summer rain, and fill my lungs with the earthy smell of… earth.
This year, I have a helper. Someone who is stubborn as he is cute, resilient as he is finicky, and determined as he is wobbly. Together, we will experience trowel and error, peas and kindness, and lettuce be thankful for his patience with me. Here is my helper, enjoying his morning cereal.
Before I describe the exciting happenings in the February garden, I first must summarize what befell the garden in the past few months.
Lots and lots of snow.
So much snow, that our neighbors constructed an igloo.
This is what my garden looked like after most of the snow had melted. When the snow was at its height, it almost covered the tops of the hoops over the beds.
Sadly, after all the snow melted, the garden looked a bit worse for wear…
For fear of flooding, we had to dig drainage paths in our ornamental areas.
Many of the ornamentals had been smooshed by the weight of the snow.
Even stupid things like our solar garden lights were broken. It was truly so.much.snow.
Below is what this ornamental area looked like a few months ago. There has been a lot of damage.
Fortunately, even though there is still a lot of work to do, the garden, the yard, and the house are in their best state since before we moved in.
So, what about the veggie garden?
I had every intention to do a comprehensive cleanup last fall. But I got busy and then the snow hit and I continued to be busy. Excuses, excuses.
Last week, I took a day off work to spend time in the garden. I was able to clean up six of my eight raised beds. I also direct sowed seeds for sugar snap peas, carrots, beets, chard, and spinach.
While I was puttering along, I discovered several carrots that had overwintered. Perhaps past their ideal plucking stage, I nonetheless considered them my first harvest of the year and tossed them into a DELICIOUS beef stew that my family enjoyed.
This is 1.3 pounds of carrots, BTW.
Another point of interest is that, while I was cleaning up the beets that I should have pulled, I found a number of beets that seemed to be growing strong. Granted, most of them had gone mushy or were otherwise ready for the compost pile, but some of them seemed like they might yield a nice beet in the near future.
I also indoor sowed broccoli. This year, I’m growing Atlantic and Arcadia. A week later, I’m excited to see Arcadia seedlings poking their heads up!
I am intending to be realistic this year about how much garden I can handle. Gone are the days when I planted 40 tomato plants. And I’m not bothering with crops that don’t do well in my garden. I’ve spent years trying to be successful with cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. They just take up a lot of space. I’m also ditching kale in favor of chard. It’s time to face reality; I love chard. I don’t love kale.
The last thing I’d like to write about is a list of the projects I’m hoping to accomplish this year, in addition to managing the existing spaces.
- Install irrigation system for the edible zones.
- Mulch the blackberry space.
- Install a raspberry space.
- Plant LOTS of strawberries.
- New shade structure.
- Install tall ornamentals in the front.
- Install more flower beds in the back:
- Install a trellis system for grapes.
- Clean up & prep future chicken run.