Thursday, April 30, 2009

What's in your garden?

What's growing? Good question.
Right now . . . lots of weeds.

We hoped to have it tilled this week, but then it started to rain, and rain, and rain. The big lesson of gardening -- I am not in control! Not in control of the bugs, the rodents, the weather.

Less philosophically, I have learned a bit more about gardening as each year goes by. Some years we have harvested quite a few weeds and little else after hours of labor. Still such a novice, but at least not the completely ignorant novice I started out as.

This year, I tried sprouting seeds again, and am relatively pleased with the results. Also, my husband came up with this brilliant idea for getting our plants acclimated to the outdoors in preparation for garden planting time.

Rather than hauling in pot after pot (my plan), we store them in our wagon and I roll them out in the morning (his much better plan), and in at bedtime. Very easy! They have their chance to get used to the wind and the chillier than indoor temps and the rain has watered them as necessary, too. My starter cubicles are getting a little crowded, so I need to move a few more into bigger containers.

I have saved every yogurt, butter, and juice container I could find. I even use our fresh strawberry containers to give seedlings more room to stretch their roots.

Now I need to:

- Sketch out a garden layout
- Jot down a schedule since this is a group effort with a couple others
- Weed around the strawberries that have come back from last year (yeah! -- they were transplants from my mom, so this will be our first year to enjoy them from home)
- put the fence back up after tilling
- scatter marigold seeds around the edge
- plant the seeds and seedlings sometime next week (We will be past our magic frost date by then)

I love these green onions that grow and multiply without any effort on my part. They come back each year and give me bulbs to share with friends. I can run out my kitchen door and grab a couple for topping hot dogs and burgers or using in cooking. And, they started growing early even in these frigid Chicagoland spring days.

So, we already have green onions. In just a few weeks we will get to enjoy lettuce and spinach. Not long after that we will have strawberries, and then peas, raspberries, cucumbers, beans, summer squash, beets, broccoli, peppers, and maybe even a watermelon if we get lucky again. Can't wait!

Raspberry plants showing lots of new growth!
We finally have a big enough patch that we have some
left over to freeze after eating our fill.

Strawberry plants with little blossoms!
These new transplants survived the winter well
and I can't wait for garden fresh strawberries in another month or so.

I haven't had time to do it yet, but I hope to type up all my mom's garden tips this coming week. I have learned so much from her 60 plus years of gardening experience!

Now a bit of light reading to find what else I should have been doing all along:
Magazines from the late 70's passed on
from my great-uncle to my mom and now to me!

Enjoy some other gardening glories, and here, too.


Anonymous said...

Great idea by storing them on the wagon. I love our green onions also!! Its always nice to have fresh onions. Looks like your off to a fabulous start.

Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free said...

Great start! I would love to have raspberries, but DH shot me down on that one. Atleast for this year. :)

Nothing beats fresh fruits from our labor. Good Luck on your growing--and happy harvests! :)

5intow said...

Newlyweds, I can't believe the size of your garden already, I can only hope to look like that in two months yet!

Phoebe, bummer that you can't do raspberries. Do you know why? They do kind of take over if you let them, and they are rather prickly. I like them because we love raspberries, and they come back without any work each year, and I got my initial ones free from my mom. :-)


nikkit3 said...

great post! next year I would like to sprout our own seeds:)

Amy said...

I love your wagon idea. I about wore myself (and my tomatoes) out by toting them around in a cardboard box for several weeks, lol! I think they were relieved to get in the ground and grow!

Sonshine4u said...

That wagon is so cute! I love it!
When do you start transplanting your seedlings into bigger pots? Is there a preferred size to start?

5intow said...

Sonshine4u, I am not quite an expert at transplanting, but this year my seedlings look really great after a week in their new pots, so I guess I feel some authority to speak. :-)

I did find this link with some other brief info:

Basically I transplanted them when they were growing so large in the small seed starters that they were getting tangled up with one another. The squash especially wind their way all over, and the tomato plants were about 3-4 inches tall and very leafy. They should definitely have a couple sets of leaves, but you don't want to wait until they are too overgrown and their roots run out of room.

When you transplant you usually want to bury the plant up to the lowest set of larger leaves (usually burying the first baby leaves that sprouted).

We will hopefully get them in the ground some time this coming week, and then it will be about 4-6 weeks before we pick any squash or beans and two months before we get tomatoes.

Best wishes with your gardening efforts!