A new season

Despite this past winter being the coldest and meanest I’ve ever experienced in Oxford, we managed to get the plot ready for spring planting at the same time of year that we always do. Last weekend we finished pulling weeds (will we ever learn to mulch?). Then we added our compost, some garden lime, and some organic fertilizer to our soil and finished it off by tilling the plot thoroughly.

Yesterday afternoon, we did our first planting of the year.  We put in some chard, spinach, cabbage, kohlrabi, and lettuce plants, most if which we purchased at the Farmers’ Market Store. I also put in one row of flower seeds.  I bought a packet of mixed flower seeds that contain annual varieties native to the southeastern U.S.  that should entice pollinators of all types to the garden.  All of my seeds this year are coming from Sow True Seed and my purchases help support the Good Food for Oxford Schools initiative.  In a couple more weeks, I will plant the carrot and herb seeds. I will wait until mid-April to start the cucumber and green bean seeds. I can’t wait for green beans!

Turned Over the Garden

This past weekend we harvested the last couple pounds of beans from the green bean plants. We then pulled up all of those plants, tilled some compost and lime into the soil, and planted carrots. LOTS of carrots. I still have some room left for fall cabbages and the like. I love the look of a freshly tilled and planted garden plot.

State of the Garden

My second planting of green beans, this time a full row, is now producing a nice  crop despite plenty of insect damage to the foliage. Next year, I am definitely planting more green beans and will probably do two plantings.  I’ve got about 2 lbs of beans to blanch and freeze right now.

Voles (I think) were causing a great deal of damage to my carrots, so I harvested and juiced the entire crop.  I think it is voles that also caused most of my tomato plants to die. When I pulled up the dead plants, there were hardly any roots attached. Not cool.  I don’t know what to do about voles.

So, all I’ve got growing right now are green beans,  serrano peppers, herbs, and chard.  And the ever-present horseradish. I’m looking forward to mid-August when I will till under the current garden and start planting for fall.

First Tomatoes of the Year

My carpet bombed seed bed worked extremely well. It produced so much lettuce that we only harvested a small portion. The lettuces are now bolting.  The Swiss chard is coming along nicely and we harvested our fist batch yesterday.  I’ve got a few nice kohlrabis. The mint, dill, tarragon, and chives look great.

Strawberries are finished for the year.

My green beans are producing nicely in spite of insect damage. Next year, I will definitely plant a whole row of beans. We also harvested our first tomatoes of the year. We had 3 red, ripe tomatoes of about an inch and half across. They were delicious!   It looks like my carrots are doing extremely well too.

We really need to get some weeding done. The weeds are going crazy.


Personal Cabbage

Our mini-cabbages were predicted to be ready for harvest on May 18th. We took the row cover off of our 4 cabbage plants to see what we had. The row cover did an excellent job of keeping the insects off the cabbages. It did nothing to stop slugs.  Two of the cabbage plants have no center head, they had been eaten clean away.  One has a very small head and one had a head slightly larger than a baseball.  We picked it and I turned it into the perfect amount of coleslaw for 2 people.   It was delicious, I just wish I had more.

My cucumber seeds sprouted and then the sprouts disappeared.  My green beans have sprouted. They have some insect damage; I need to get out there with some insecticidal soap.  I also need to plant more seeds so that I can have a staggered crop.

I have now learned that radish plants make great hosts for flea beetles. I don’t think I’ll plant radishes in the future. My tomato plants now have extensive flea beetle damage.

Most of my garlic died but I do have a few left with scapes ready to harvest.

The carpet bombing of seeds worked well. I have a row leafy greens that look great. My strawberries are producing a bumper crop. I have one or two small green tomatoes.  I’ve got a nice crop of carrots coming up and the dill looks great. Horseradish is taking over the plot and becoming a nuisance.

I wish I had more time to spend in the garden; I feel like if I could be more attentive and get out there every day I would be more successful.

Tomato Planting Time

It looks like most everything that I planted back in March is sprouting! Today we harvested 2 tiny radishes.  Lots of lettuces and herbs have sprouted and are now an inch or two tall. Carrots have sprouted and are about an inch high as is dill.  This carpet bombing approach just might work after all.  The cabbage plants that I put in needed some nitrogen fertilizer a couple of weeks ago.  Now they are looking pretty good under the row cover. I may very well have cabbages in May.  The row of strawberry plants is flowering and I spied one green fruit. So far, my only problem seems to be that some of my garlic is dying off. I hope the rest hold on.

Today I planted 6 tomato plants, 2 each of Champion (a slicer), Roma, and Sweet 100s (cherry).  I also put in a few anemic looking plants that I started from seed including salsify, Chinese cabbage, and kohlrabi. I planted just a few seeds for cucumbers and green beans.  I gave all of the sprouts of leafy greens and herbs some high nitrogen fertilizer.

I need to find me some hot pepper plants, there weren’t any at the Garden Center yesterday when I picked up the tomatoes.

Carpet bombing seeds

Yesterday afternoon we went to Home Depot and rented the smallest garden tiller they have at a cost of $30.  Steve got the garden tilled in about 10 minutes and now our soil looks like what you see in fancy gardening magazines.  It’s beautiful.

Today we planted! I set out 6 mini cabbage plants that are supposed to be ready to harvest in 45 days.  I will let you know if I have cabbages on Saturday, May 18th.  We covered the plants with some row cover to try and protect them from the bugs.  Cabbage is like candy to garden pests.

Though I have had a difficult time starting anything from seed in the past, I have not let that deter me from trying again.  This time  I’m trying a different approach.  Usually, I carefully open the seed envelope and place the seeds in the soil one at a time at the spacing recommended on the package.  This time, I ripped open the envelopes, dumped them into a container, mixed all of the different seeds together, and just tossed them on the ground.  I tamped a little soil on top of them and watered.  We’ll see if I get a carpet of salad fixings in a few weeks.  I mixed together seeds for spinach, chard, lettuces, tarragon, parsley, radishes, basil, and probably some others that I’m forgetting.  In addition I planted a separate patch of dill seeds and another patch of mixed carrot seeds that I had soaked over night.  I have had good results with carrots planted in the fall but my spring carrots have always failed. I’m hoping that the seed soaking will help.

We also put out our cages where the tomatoes and peppers will go in about a month.

Spring Break like a boss

I decided to work half days during Spring Break; I go to work in the mornings and have off in the afternoons. Yesterday afternoon, we went out to the garden to weed the plot.  We’ve been harvesting carrots all winter long and I figured there were still a few left. We brought a bag to collect the last of the carrots as we weeded. About 2 hours and 10 lbs. of carrots later we were done. TEN POUNDS of carrots.  Once we got the carrots home, I decided that I wanted to juice some of them.  I remembered a bottled juice that I like to get at Whole Foods that is a blend of carrot, orange, and ginger.  Not having a juicer, I went to Goodwill and found a Jack Lalanne Power Juicer for $25! Score! I picked up a 5 lb. bag of oranges and a piece of fresh ginger.  I juiced all of the oranges with half the carrots and small amounts of ginger.  Ten pounds of produce yielded about 1 1/2 quarts of delicious juice. I’m going to have to do this more often!


Some of these carrots were bigger around than my wrist.


Carrots are up, garlic is planted

Last weekend, we planted 16 feet of hard neck garlic in our northernmost row.  I’m looking forward to garlic scapes come spring.

I would estimate that we have 50% germination on our carrots and 0% on rutabagas and parsnips. The Purple Haze and Merida varieties of carrots have done much better than the Baltimore variety.

Today we uncovered the Chinese cabbage to find that bugs have gotten to it despite the row cover! Time to bring out the insecticidal soap.

Fall garden is sprouting; hope springs eternal

About a week and a half ago, we planted seeds of bok choy, carrots, parsnips, and rutabagas.  The bok choy sprouted almost immediately.  Today I noticed tiny little carrot sprouts! I think we’re going to cover the bok choy today with some row cover because it does appear to have small holes in the leaves.  I sure hope the carrots make it.  I haven’t seen any sign of the rutabagas or parsnips yet.