Getting the Garden Started

Springtime is the time of year that always makes me the most excited. The idea of getting to go outside to play in the dirt after dealing with a long hard winter is just so rewarding and invigorating! What’s going to come up first? What will we plant this year? Where will we plant it? What should we build? What should we improve?

Ideas and opportunities galore!

A purple allium - one of the first things that came up

{A purple allium – one of the first things that came up}

This year we were particularly excited, as now Rowan is a good age to help out in the garden. He’s already helped us rake leftover leaves, fill pots with dirt, pack them down, weed the blueberries, move rocks around, and mow the lawn with his bubble mower. We’ve got a pretty great little garden helper in him!

Rowan mowing the lawn

{Rowan mowing the lawn}

Speaking of mowing the lawn, our mower was in the shop for a while, so the grass grew and grew. When we got it back, I tackled the lawn straightaway. I challenged myself to pay special attention to the lines this time, and I was pretty happy with the results! They don’t last long, but they look pretty darn nice while they’re there.

Freshly mown front yard

{Freshly mown front yard}

You might ask, what does one wear when mowing the lawn or doing yard work? (Nobody’s asking, you just wear whatever.) Sometimes I wear a band t-shirt, yoga pants, and a trucker/surfing hat. And always my colorful rain boots.

My gardening "style"

{My gardening “style”}

On to what we are planting from seed!

We decided to do it a bit different this year. Normally, we would start our seeds indoors, and then eventually move them outside once it is warm enough. This always seems to lead to some plants struggling one way or another. Either they don’t like the temperature change (despite our being careful to introduce them gradually), or they just grow too leggy and get to be a tangled mess.

This year, we waited until the second to last week before the last frost date and planted seeds directly in our little greenhouse outdoors. We had success with the cold garden greens right away. Absolutely everything Vitamin K-based survived. EVERYTHING. This blew my mind. With the exception of the leeks that still need a bit more time to grow, all of our cold garden plants have already been transplanted into our garden.

Cold garden greens thriving!

{Cold garden greens thriving!}

I was also pleasantly surprised that our mutant corn seeds from last year produced new plants! I wasn’t really sure if they were going to be viable. Most of our sunflowers did well too; however, next year I might wait a bit longer before transplanting some of the plants that originate from smaller seeds. About half have died away since transplant. No worries though. It turns out we have a chipmunk living in our ditch who has been transplanting sunflowers from the bird feed all around our yard. I’ve noticed a few sunflowers growing randomly in some of our garden beds. So we should have enough replacement plants due to his efforts!

As far as the tomatoes, peppers, and other warmer plants go, they are still trying to grow in the greenhouse. Some are just starting, and some have struggled or are stunted. Maybe the solution is to early start the warm plants indoors and late start the cold plants outdoors. I dunno. We’ll get it eventually.

Sunflowers, corn, and the warmer plants

{Sunflowers, corn, and the warmer plants}

And cross my fingers, this might be the first year that we’re successful with growing both our cucumbers and squash from seed. Starting these outdoors is key, I think. They seem to be doing really well in the garden already. We’ve got regular cucumbers, two kinds of zucchini (green and yellow), ambercup squash, and buttercup squash. So here’s hoping! Animals, be kind. :-)

Cucumbers and squash

{Cucumbers and squash}

Last but certainly not least, you know that spring is finally here when the lilacs start blooming. Our bush bloomed really nicely this year too, so we brought some of the aromatic flowers inside the house to enjoy.

Lovely lilacs

{Lovely lilacs}

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