Does anyone remember the series of letters Carol from May Dreams Gardens and Mary Ann from Gardens of the Wild, Wild West and I wrote to each other last summer profiling our vegetable gardens? We enjoyed our comparisons, and hope you did too, because we’re doing it again this year. If you like, feel free to do something similar with your friends like plant the same variety of a particular vegetable or flower and compare notes. Think of it as a weekly “Dear Friend and Gardener” meme.
Dear Carol and Mary Ann and Gardening Friends Everywhere,
I sit in my cozy kitchen/office typing as I watch the sun rise in all its golden glory. Yesterday, the north wind wasn’t too biting, so I got outside for the second time this year. For me, and many other gardeners across the U.S., winter has stayed way past its welcome. I can’t wait for even milder temperatures and the end of snow before planting, or I might miss the window of opportunity. However, I admit the rain and snow have done my garden good. The soil was nice and damp, but not too wet. Like Goldilocks would say, it was just right.
We haven’t finished building the new, kitchen potager, but hope to by the time it is tomato and pepper planting time (i.e., end of April or early May). The bad economy took some of the oomph our of monetary sails, so we’re taking it slow. We want to use tumbled, concrete pavers (because stone is cost prohibitive for this Oklahoma gardener) to edge the beds. The red, brick walks between won’t cost anything except labor, because we recycled them from a paving job, and that’s where we’ll start first.
The weather hasn’t cooperated either, but the plan is drawn, and we’re doing it in stages. At one end, is a greenhouse facing the garden. A fountain, maybe a blue urn, will be the centerpiece and attract wildlife. I saw one in an ornamental bed in Oklahoma Gardening’s studio garden, and I’d like to do something similar. Here’s a shot which I took in September 2009 of their fountain.
I have room in the back garden for my early spring crops. It doesn’t get crowded until later. Yesterday, I did some clearing and trimmed up a couple of roses. Then, I planted. In honor of my beloved Grandma Nita, I’m growing Alaska shelling peas. Since the weather has been so cool, I’m hoping I’ll have time to reap a nice harvest. Some years, warmth comes too quickly, and the peas don’t fill out their pods. These, I planted along the north fence where I hope they’ll clamber with a bit of help. HH did some fence repairs screwing the rails into some of the posts. We also replaced a broken rail at the end of the garden. I noticed my blueleaf honeysuckle was planted too close to a ‘Belinda’s Dream’ rose, so I moved it before it broke dormancy. I also dug up some old daylilies I no longer want.
The other seeds I planted were Little Finger baby carrots, Lacinato Nero Toscana kale, Early Wonder beets, Petrowski turnips, Tatsoi mustard, Bourdeaux spinach, three kinds of lettuce: Red Sails, De Morges Braun and Marvel of Four Seasons. I still have my potatoes, snow peas, swiss chard, dwarf pak choy, and onions to get in the ground. After today, the weather is supposed to be nice again. I also realized I didn’t plant any Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, so I’ll need to buy some. Weren’t we also going to plant Speckled Troutback (a/k/a Forellenschluss) lettuce together this year to see how it performs across our three zones? I’ll get a packet of it too at TLC Nursery. They have a lot of seed varieties.
Also wanted to let you know the chickens are doing great and eating us out of house and home. They should be laying eggs soon, and I’ll show you the different colors of the brown and rainbow eggs. Remember cute, little Alex? He’s the big, white rooster on the left.
Just getting out in the sun and touching the crumbly soil with my hands did this gardener good. Oh, and I saw the first crocus of the season. How are things in your neck of the woods?