Time for my first garden update of the year! I overwintered carrots, spinach, and parsley–I even had lettuce and broccoli til a hard January frost killed them off. I made covers from plastic sheeting, and enjoyed going out to check on my veggies and harvest for juicing and smoothies. But spring planting starts 10 weeks before the final frost date here in Nashville, so I’m already dreaming of new cool-weather crops. First off, I HIGHLY recommend My Square Foot Garden. You can sign up to receive weekly emails that tell you what to plant as seeds (indoors or out), or transplant each week of the planting season, based on your “Zone.” I used it last year in both spring and fall and was very happy with the results.
A couple of weeks ago it was time to plant peas, onions , broccoli, and spinach, so plant I did. The kids and I had fun tidying up the garden, removing the plastic covers, planting seeds and setting out our garden markers. We even built a couple of stronger trellises out of PVC pipe. We used 1/2 inch last year, which was fine for the beans and peas–even the cukes and most of the tomatoes. The cantaloupe was not so fine–I ended up cutting the trellis away from the plant and let it take over the bed. This year, I’ve worked a new plan for the trellis and am excited to try it out!
Last year, our dog was curious, but didn’t bother the garden at all. Imagine my surprise, waking up after being gone for a 12 hour shift the day before, and looking out the window to find Buckeye the Wonderdog’s toy half buried in the soft dirt of my raised bed. Right where I’d planted peas and onions. Replanting is not as fun as planting the first time, believe me. Imagine my utter annoyance, two days later, after working another 12 hour shift to find he dug in TWO of my raised beds, scattering peas and onion sets all over the place. Let’s just say I wanted to give up my dog for Lent, skip the garden and buy a share in my trusty CSA. This time, with very little enthusiasm, but much determination to defeat the dog, I replanted everything and used our lawn chairs, chicken wire, and leftover PVC from last year’s trellises to build a barricade around my beds. It looks like Sanford and Son’s version of a raised bed, but it works for the moment, until Lowe’s starts carrying more nylon netting to make a more permanent solution.
So since we’ve planted, we’ve had days in the 70’s and nights in the upper 20’s. And snow. Nice. Apparently these are cold loving plants, so we’ll see how they do. Now the peas have started coming up, there are almost too many, due to the triple planting I did. I may have to thin out the plants…
My newest email from My Square Foot Garden tells me it’s time to plant lettuce outside. Yesterday I drove to Kentucky for a co-op I’m in and the Mennonite greenhouse is open for business! These veggies are beautiful and inexpensive ($1.25 for a four pack!). Last year all the stuff I bought from them did extremely well. This week I bought lettuce (3 kinds!), Swiss chard, celery, and cilantro. Unfortunately, it’s too early for the celery and cilantro, so I’ll have to baby them along inside for a couple of weeks. By the time I got home from my trip, it was sleeting and cold again, so I decided to wait a couple of days to plant, so there would be less shock to their systems.