Planting in the Vegetable Garden (Early Spring 2013)

April brought chilly weather and showers this year, but this last week some warm and beautiful days finally arrived. I used a hoe to loosen the soil at the top of the vegetable garden. I was happy to see many worms. I’ll chalk that up to our vegetable garden prep last fall and our effort to stay off the soil so it doesn’t get compacted. With opportunistic plants (yes, weeds) quickly making a break for any uncovered soil in the yard, I decided to get some flowers, vegetables, and cover crops in the garden right away. To make this first planting simple and quick, I thought I’d start with mostly cover crops. I can always plant the next vegetables in bare spots or pull some cover crop later for more additions.

My 14'x16' vegetable garden with two 4'x16' beds.

My 14’x16′ vegetable garden with two 4’x16′ beds.

On April 28th, we planted a Victoria rhubarb plant (from the Westside Farmer’s Market) in the south corner of the vegetable garden. I noticed that a garlic bulb that I planted last fall was coming up in the north bed. On April 30th, I planted four Fiesta Mix nasturtium seeds by the garlic, the remainder of the north bed with a cover crop of buckwheat, and the remainder of the southern bed with a cover crop mix of oats and peas. Last fall, I had the same cover crops planted but in the opposite beds. See diagram for plantings.

My vegetable garden goals for this year are to experiment to see what I can grow and to improve the soil. I don’t want to set my expectations high for vigorous plants or a huge harvest, but rather, I want to be pleasantly surprised if anything goes well. I continue to contemplate if the neighbor’s pesticides are in the soil, whether it’s a good time to invest in raised beds, and if we should remove the large blue spruce tree nearby which shades the garden in the late afternoon.

Right now I have the following seedlings and seeds sitting around:

Seedlings under a light in our basement:
• Cherry Roma tomatoes (SSE)
• Five Color Silverbeet swiss chard (SSE)
• Sweet Basil (Organic Burpee Fordhook Collection)

Seeds:
• Hidatsa Red beans (SSE)
• Early Fortune cucumbers (SSE)
• Tom Thumb peas (SSE)
• Aunt Molly’s ground cherry (SSE)
• Cilantro (SSE)
• Rosemary (SSE)
• Marigold (saved from our church’s gardens)
• Early White Vienna kohlrabi (Livingston)
• Sweet Burpless Hybrid cucumber (organic Burpee)
• Sugar Baby watermelon (Seeds of Change organic)

I’ll post updates as the season continues to warm up!

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