Saturday, April 25, 2009

Battling Weeds

It has been doing what it is supposed to do in April - rain. Rain is good for my garden (and I keep reminding myself of that). EXCEPT more rain inevitably means more weeds. I haven't been able to work in my garden because it has either been raining or I've been busy doing other things. This weekend I am purposely avoiding doing anything else so I can tend to my garden.

My peas are up and growing! In this picture is one of two pea trellises I built. On each side of the trellis I planted two rows of peas. I read somewhere to plant something like 16 plants per person in your family in order to get a large enough crop. So since we have 5 people, I planted a total of 80 pea plants. There were 3 or 4 that didn't come up, but most did. Also in this photo in the lower right corner is one of my sage plants that survived from last year. I also planted zinnias right next to it but they haven't come up yet. On the far end of the trellis I planted several cosmos seeds. They have come up and are about 2 inches tall. I'm thrilled they have sprouted.

The best news is that the peas look healthy. Don't you agree?

Meanwhile, my seeds inside are looking great. My biggest problem this year will likely be not having enough room in the garden to plant all that I want. Here are approximately 9 plants each of 5 different varieties of tomatoes including yellow pear, sweet 100's, and romas. There are also a couple of jalepeno pepper seedlings in the lower right corner of the picture.

I also have Cherokee Purple and Brandywine tomatoes here. Also, there is Holy Basil, Purple Ruffle Basil, and Sweet Genovese Basil. Also in this picture are Sweet Banana Pepper seedlings. I have Lemon Balm and Dill as well, but they aren't in the photo. (Yes, I see it is time to water.)

Today's local weather:
High temp: 82 F
Low temp: 62 F
Warm and windy

Friday, April 3, 2009

Already falling behind schedule

Yesterday, the high temp was 70 F which was perfect to work in the garden. We had added 400 lbs. of composted cow manure to half of the garden a couple of weeks ago. But yesterday I decided to add another 400 lbs. to the other half of the garden. My 7yo son, bless his heart, was eager to help me with his new Spongebob gardening gloves and cultivating tools. I even got my husband to help dig the manure in when I started losing steam. I was surprised by how many weeds were already there. The worst place for weeds was right at the edge of each border where it met the walkway. I used my hoe to get the biggest ones out. As soon as I get the chance (weather and money permitting), I need to buy some hardwood mulch, bring the newspapers out of the recycling bin, and cover my walkways. I can't let the weeds get the upper hand and, in my experience, that's what June is all about. What's that old saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

So anyway, we finished amending the garden soil and made plans for the walkways. Also, yesterday I noticed my peas peeking their heads above the soil. You have to look kind of close to see them, but they are definitely there. The two pea beds are on the outer northeast corner of the garden. The corner where they come together was unplanted until a few days ago. I planted cosmos seeds there. I can't wait for them to bloom!

I grew cosmos in the front yard just in front of our master bedroom window when we first moved here. As my memory serves, they grow to be around 4 feet tall with lacy foliage and delicate flowers. I bought the seeds for the variety that has flowers in different shades of pink. That's what I grew before and I loved them so I bought the same this time. I'm growing the cosmos in the garden for two reasons. First, they are beautiful and will make good cutting flowers for a vase on my summertime table. My second reason for growing them is that I hope to attract beneficial insects and bees and hummingbirds by planting a variety of flowers throughout the garden. Unfortunately, if I remember correctly, the cosmos isn't really in a phase of spectacular bloom until around September. That's a long time to wait. But it is definitely worth it.

Meanwhile, it is colder today. It rained overnight (good news for the peas and cosmos). I want and need to get back outside and do more work, but I'm waiting for it to warm up a little more. Here is my garden "to do" list for today:

* water cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and onion seedlings in indoor peat pots
* plant new flat of tomato and pepper seeds
* plant outside seeds of beets, radishes, lettuces (and maybe more cabbage/broccoli)
* plant annual flower seeds in various parts of the garden

On my kitchen table right now, I have lots of seeds to be planted. For peppers, I only have California Wonder (sweet) peppers and an early variety of jalepenos. I would like to get one more kind of hot pepper at least. As for tomatoes, I already have seeds for roma, organic cherry tomatoes, sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, yellow pear, and grape tomatoes. I have ordered seeds for Cherokee Purples and Brandywines, but they haven't arrived yet.

Tomorrow is opening day for an area farmer's market, and we plan to be there. We are gradually adapting a locavore diet (eating locally grown/farmed food as much as possible) so we plan to hit up our farmer's markets to supplement what we grow ourselves.

Today's local weather:
High temp: 53 F
Low temp: 34 F
Partly cloudy and windy with wind gusts up to 40mph.