Starting the Gardening Year

It’s time to start working on the garden. Actually, a little past time. I planted a double-row of peas about ten days ago, as well as lettuce, parsnips, radishes, and carrots in the little bed in the grotto. The cold weather last week made that seem too early, but those things should still come up.

I have a lot of leftover seed that germinated okay last year, but it might be iffy this year. So I wanted to get some things out there early to see how they come up. I may also need to germinate some seeds in paper towels, to see how they do before planting them out.

Other plants already started: mint that I got from my mom over the winter and started in a pot, and sweet potatoes that I started from a couple potatoes that had sprouted in the basement. It’s still a couple months before the sweet potatoes can go out in the garden, but they should have plenty of roots by then.

We should have marshmallow, hyssop, and toothache plant as perennials in the herb garden. There may be catnip by the grotto, but I think the cats wiped it out rolling around on it last year, so I expect to have to start that again.

The walking onions around the grotto are starting to green up, and the strawberries that survived last year look good and need to be weeded around. So quite a few things are already underway. Right now, I have two things to get figured out. First, where I’m going to get enough mulch to cover all the garden spots. If I’m going to use the mulch method this year, I’ll need enough to bury the gardens in several inches of mulch. Alternatively, I could use paper or cardboard, but I’ll still need enough mulch to put on that and hold it down in the wind. One thing I’m thinking of is to buy a half-dozen round bales of hay, and bust two of them up on each garden spot. That would certainly do it.

The second thing is to get seeds ordered. So before that I need to go through the leftover seed and seed saved from last year and see what else I need to add to that. I don’t think there are too many things I’m missing, but I always like to add something new. I had really good luck with the watermelon last year, better than I ever have before, and I grew Moon & Stars for the first time, so I want to make sure to get that again.

Oh, a third thing: it’s time to start cleaning out the chicken house and spreading it on the gardens. That will help with the mulch situation too.

The pole at one end of my trellis finally rotted through at the bottom, so I need to replace it. When I put that in seven years ago, I used ordinary pine lumber, so I didn’t think it would last more than a couple years. It’s worked out pretty well. Have to weave new twine on it for the year, but that doesn’t need to be done until something is ready to climb it, probably not until a couple months from now.

I may have to put some fence around at least one of the garden spots. The chickens really worked on the cabbages there last year, devouring a couple of them entirely, which was strange. I won’t be planting cabbage in the same spot, since I rotate things through the gardens every year, but that’ll be something to watch out for. I like letting them roam around the gardens eating bugs, but I don’t need them eating my vegetables.

I want to get some permanent fruit trees going this year. I started a couple grapes and a couple raspberries last year, but none of them survived. Need to get better stock from Stark’s this year, instead of the cheap ones off the shelf. The asparagus bed is mature now (could be bigger), and the strawberries are getting started, so I’d like to keep adding another long-term planting each year. A small orchard of apple, pear, peach, and cherry trees would be great.

As far as annual stuff goes, it’ll be the usual. I think I’ll do videos every couple weeks again this year, since that was a good way to keep track last year. I referred back to those a couple times to find out when I planted something or what variety where. Probably not until there are some plants coming up to see, though.