For those of you just tuning in, this is our series of letters profiling our vegetable gardens (nearly 1,000 miles apart) in three different climate zones. Please feel free to join in with your own garden group, and, if you do, tell us in a comment below.
What a week Oklahoma had! After our soaring temps came rain, sleet and even snow. Above is the picture to prove it. We get these freak March snowstorms occasionally. Yesterday, the weather finally settled, and now, we’re in a warm pattern. It will make the seeds jump out of the soil I’m sure.
The indoor babies are growing ever taller, and on warm days, like the proud mama I am, I’m parading them outdoors to acclimate them and make their stems thick and strong. You know I’ve sworn off buying plants for Lent, but I can still get seeds and bulbs, so I bought a few summer veggie seeds. I’m storing all of them in a basket next to my kitchen computer so as not to lose them. Like everything else I do, I tend to garden by the seat of my jeans. While averting my eyes from all the beautiful clovers available at a local garden nursery, I did buy some red and blue gladiolus bulbs. I’ve never grown these, but I thought they would look great against the split rain fence bordering the veggie garden space. I can also tie them to the fence as they grow.
Carol, you asked me how large the garden is. The back garden is fifty by sixty feet, but that includes the paths, so the raised beds are less than that. That number also doesn’t include the gardens along the back of the house, but I don’t grow vegetables in them. There is also the garden out by the street where I will put the hot pepper plants, but otherwise, it is filled with ‘Old Blush,’ red, Double Knockout roses and easy going prairie plants. Below is a photo of the back garden. You can see how far along it is, which surprises me a little because we’re at mid-March. I’d say the plants are three weeks ahead of schedule.
I worked hard so hard outdoors on Saturday that I’m still feeling the pain. I uncovered the asparagus bed to find that it was once again being choked by Bermuda grass. It is a constant fight, but I’ve upped the ante by graveling the straight paths. After fifteen years of amendments, the soil has the consistency of chocolate cake, so the grass runners are relatively easy to pull. I may need to plant some new asparagus plants after Easter though because these have been here a long, long time. I will also dig some of the composted chicken manure up by the barn and put it in asparagus bed. It’s easy to grow, but a very hungry plant.
I took my hoe and raked some of the weeds out of the gravel paths before they took hold. Now, I know what the English mean by raking their paths. It was kind of fun.
Bear and I uncovered the strawberry plants, weeded them and then mulched with shredded leaves. Strawberries are her favorites, so she was glad to help. The strawberries are still recovering from their move two seasons ago.
The back garden, where so many roses and vegetables reside is surrounded by oak trees. I am amused by the irony that I rake all of the leaves off of the plants, pull up the early spring weeds and compost them. Then, I mulch with shredded leaves. It seems a little like the old, office adage of handling the paper more than once, but I don’t know a better way.
I didn’t get the sugar snap peas in the ground, so I’ll be doing them today, along with more potatoes, lettuce, beets and more onion sets. Although I spread the seeds for the lettuces around the landscape roses as a kind of ground cover, I do still plant the onions in rows. I think they’re pretty that way. Today, spinach and kale will go around the daylilies in the other bed.
I just went outside and checked the seeds I planted last week. The turnips and lettuce are already poking their little heads through the soil. No matter how many years I do this, I am simply amazed at nature.
I’m also going to feed the roses and daylilies with alfalfa meal and Milorganite. I can’t use Milorganite around vegetables because it may have residue sewage, so those plants will get a dose of the meal. I’m even going to feed ‘New Dawn’ although it may be a bad idea.
As I look out my front window, I see the peach trees blooming on the left and the new red Japanese maple leafing out on the right. For the first time today, I heard the ducks chuckling on the pond, and a bluebird calling to his mate. Life couldn’t get any better, except when I harvest that first tomato, ‘eh girls?
Til next time . . . .