I’ve planted a few cold weather crops in the garden. Our last Spring frost is usually around mid-April, so I have to be patient and wait on planting the warm weather crops until after Tax Day. I’m behind on getting tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings started indoors, though I do have artichokes, sage, fennel, celery, roselle hibiscus, and calendula growing under lights waiting to be transplanted outdoors.
So far I’ve planted: broccoli, onions, peas, cabbage, spinach, garlic, dill, carrots, lettuce, and kale.
In this bed I planted Waltham Broccoli grown from seed. Out of 40 seeds only 24 have made it. Some never germinated, some were weak seedlings, some didn’t survive transplanting, and some have been dug up by the cat who can’t get it through her head that the garden bed is not a litter box. I laid wire fencing over the bed to discourage the cat (and chickens) from scratching in it, which has helped except for a few places at the edges where she can still get under the wire.
Between the broccoli, about every 3″ apart, I planted white and yellow onion sets; 200 bulbs in all. I started 100 yellow and red onions from seed indoors, but they were old seeds and only about 30 germinated. I transplanted these into the bed with the broccoli and other onions.
The two big green clumps in this bed are catnip. Last year the catnip went CRAZY in this bed and pretty much overtook everything. It is a member of the mint family, and will become invasive if not controlled. I left two clumps because I love using catnip in tea, and it makes a great companion plant for repelling garden pests. I’ll have to do better at keeping it under control this year by pruning aggressively. If they become a problem I may have to pot them up.
I planted Lincoln peas (shelling peas) at the end of the broccoli and onion bed, to grow on a trellis.
I mulched the bed heavily with pine needles and leaves I gathered in our woods. This will help keep the soil moist and cool, and encourages worms to populate the bed. It also helps to feed the plants as the organic materials break down in the soil.
Under the row cover I have Henderson’s Charleston Wakefield cabbage, Mammoth Red Rock cabbage, Bloomsdale Long Standing spinach, standard white garlic, dill, and Lincoln peas- all grown from seed.
Here’s what it looks like under the row cover right now. The row cover serves several purposes. It protects the plants from harsh sunlight after transplant and heavy frosts (even though these are cold tolerant plants, seedlings can still be fragile). It keeps the cat from digging up the plants. It will protect the cabbage from the white cabbage moth which I’ve noted in the past as coming around the first of May. It also keep the chickens from digging up the bed. Water can still get through the row cover, so there isn’t any need to remove it for rain.
I gave the broccoli and cabbage seedlings fish fertilizer with their first watering, to give them an extra boost when they were in transplant shock. It seems to have really helped perk them up.
Our garden is still a mess, but I wanted to show you the vine trellises we installed this week. I’m so excited about them! We attached three cattle panels to the ends of the raised beds to form three arched trellises. The peas I planted in the first two beds will grow up either side of the trellis. I’ll use the other trellises for beans and squash. I think it’ll look really cool if we can get everything to grow well and the arches are covered in vines.
The white barrels there will be rain barrels to water the garden with. We’ll move them next to the greenhouse to catch rain of its roof.
In this bed I’ve seeded: St. Valery Carrots, Buttercrunch lettuce, Red Romaine, Mixed Lettuce, Russian Kale, Siberian Kale, and more Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach. Most of the seeds were a couple of years old, so I broadcasted them liberally.
Here’s the herb bed, still mostly dormant. I planted strawberries in there this week, for lack of a better place to put them. The oregano is just starting to emerge. The chives are always the first thing to come to life in early Spring. I noticed a little parsley coming back as well. I’m anxious to see which herbs will present themselves again this year.
That’s where we are so far this Spring. Can’t wait to see what April’s garden looks like!