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Spring has finally arrived (more or less) which means we can start prepping the garden and starting cool-weather crops, and start/continue the indoor seeds and seedlings. In my neck of the woods, the May long weekend is planting weekend. BUT – because mild weather typically starts in April, I can get started on preparing my garden beds and sow some seeds. Exciting!

Ever since I put my garden plan together early in the year, I’ve been closely watching important dates in my calendar.

  • On Feb 10th I started mint seeds indoors
  • On Mar 18th, I started marigolds indoors
  • On March 30th, I transplanted my marigolds and mint into cups
  • On Mar 31st, I started cherry tomato seeds indoors
  • On April 21st, I (with the help of hubby) installed a new raised bed and filled it with triple mix and compost. I also added compost to my other 2 existing beds.
  • On April 22nd I sowed seeds outside for peas, carrots, lettuce (2 types) and lemon balm. I also started seeds for basil and parsley indoors.

The next key dates will be 2 weekends in May once all risk of frost has passed, usually around the May long weekend and the one prior.

That’s when I’ll get everything outside and go buy some blueberry plants for my other new bed this year. I decided to dedicate a whole bed just for blueberries because of the different soil requirements (acidic) and the likelihood of needing to cover them with netting.

Meanwhile, the garlic I planted last fall is looking great!

Progress so far:

Cherry tomato seedlings

Marigold and mint seedlings

Growing…

Growing…  marigolds / mint on the left. Tomatoes (near window) on the right) and basil/parsley on the right / front)

My garlic is doing well (planted last fall). There are also seeds for lemon balm (above the garlic) and carrots (whole 3rd row) in here. Tomatoes will be along the fence. Chamomile will be the bottom/right 4 squares. This was taken 1 week ago:

This was taken today:

This bed already has seeds for lettuce (one variety in the bottom 3 squares on the left, with another column of another variety next to it, then beans (to be planted in May), and seeds for peas. Tomatoes will be along the top row along the fence. I tried lining this box with cardboard this time. For the other two I used weed fabric – just want to see how well the cardboard would work.

This one will have tomatoes along the back row and basil (genovese and thai) and parsley in the front.

Beds are ready for more planting in May. 🙂 The new bed will go the right of the one against the fence at the top of the photo.

I’m considering putting down cardboard/mulch between the beds and in the far corner to get rid of the grass and avoid complicated mowing.

So excited to be spending time out in the garden! 🙂

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It’s been cold and snowy in my neck of the woods lately. BUT – since it’s time to plan for my spring/summer garden, I’ve been having fun buying seeds and planning out what I’ll be growing and where, focusing on when the temps will be warm again. It’ll come quickly and I want to be prepared. 🙂

Without further ado, below is my square foot garden plan layout for this year – click on it to make it larger.

I will still do my usual plantings (albeit different kinds) of cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley, lettuce, beans and carrots. Oh, and french marigolds to repel the bugs. I’ll be trying some new crops this year: cucumbers, zucchini, garlic (already planted this past fall), snap peas and blueberries. Plus, to assist with my life list item to make my own tea, I’ll be planting chamomile, lemon balm and mint (the mint in its own pot because it can be invasive). I’ll be getting a dehydrator to help with that task as well.

I did all my research and bought all the seeds this morning. I’ll be picking up blueberry plants closer to planting time and I think I’ll plant a couple of other types of basil in 2 of the squares for variety. The purple basils have caught my eye – imagine what a pesto made with purple basil would look like – stunning!

My plan is to cover the entire blueberry 4×4 bed with netting to protect them from the birds. For the basil, I’ll keep some for pesto and dry the rest for cooking. Same for the parsley – I’ll use some fresh and dry the rest. I’ll dry the chamomile, lemon balm and some of the mint to make tea (my favorite tea has all of those elements in it :)). Plus, gotta save some mint for the mojitos.

I love growing my own food and walking out into the yard to pick ingredients for meals – nothing tastes better than tomatoes warmed by the sun or a fresh picked carrot – it’s incredible how different (and better!) things taste compared to the store. I also enjoy babysitting my plants and keeping an eye out for them, trimming here, watering there, picking off pests (Japanese beetles, I’m looking at you). It’s incredibly relaxing, fulfilling and the bigger jobs provide a good workout too. Weeds are few with the square foot garden method because the “good” plants take up all the space and don’t leave any room for the weeds. It’s fabulous.

Here is my list of seeds so far:

  • Red small tomato: Stupice (stoo-pee-chay)
  • Red cherry tomato: Matt’s Wild Red Cherry
  • Yellow cherry tomato: Lemon Drop
  • Yellow cherry tomato: Champagne (Loved these last year – so much sweet flavor in such a tiny package – they’re like a half inch in diameter)
  • Black cherry tomato: Black Cherry
  • Basil: Genovese  (gold standard in basil – amazing for pesto)
  • Basil: TBD – One of the purple varieties
  • Cucumbers: Muncher
  • Zucchini: Green Zucchini
  • Garlic: Red Russian
  • Beans: Yellow Golden Wax (Bush)
  • Peas: Patio Pride
  • Carrots: Nantes
  • Lettuce: Red Salad Bowl
  • Lettuce: Buttercrunch
  • Chamomile: Bodegold
  • Marigolds: French
  • Mint:: Menthol
  • Lemon Balm

 

I am doing my happy dance!!! 🙂

2016 Garden flashback:

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2016 Garden Update

Last year was my first attempt at square foot gardening. I had grown tomatoes and herbs in containers before, successfully,but wanted to try my hand at something new with a larger footprint. SFG was right up my alley, and it worked out well. So well that I wanted to increase my garden this year.

I started planning in January and February, making plans for my garden (Excel is awesome), researching companion planting, reading everything I could about what grew successfully in my neck of the woods. Ordered my seeds. Got my jiffy pods organized and sowed the seeds in March to start them early indoors. For the others that grew very quickly, my plan was to direct sow into my garden in May.

Pods and my Excel Garden plan plus my jiffy pod plan to keep track of what I put where:

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My list of seeds included: three kinds of cherry tomatoes (2 plants each), green peppers, Swiss chard, beets, leaf lettuce, onion sets (red, yellow,white), bush beans, basil, thyme, lavender, parsley, acorn squash, golden zucchini and marigolds to keep the bugs away. Here is the progress, each set of pics about a week apart:

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Mid-April:

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Late April:

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Early May:

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Some of my starter seeds did better than others and come May, it was time to transplant them outside. I used Triple Mix for the soil with a few bags of compost (mix of sheep and cow), plus I added plant food.

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Two of my tomato plants didn’t make it. After suffering from a bit of transplant shock and recovering nicely (I had to tie 2 of them to stakes to keep them as they were falling over), the other four are doing awesome, I bought another two at the nursery. One pepper survived, and I replaced another one. The parsley and marigolds did good but I needed more so I bought some extras. The basil and thyme didn’t make it – bought seedlings of Genovese and lemon basil at the nursery. They are thriving. I also bought two strawberry plants to have a first go at fruit. The lavender sprouted but never grew past a wisp of a stem so I bought two perennial lavender plants at the nursery.

I showed the beans, lettuce, onions, Swiss chard, beets and squashes directly in the ground and they are all doing great thankfully. So far we’ve been able to harvest the basil, parsley, onions and lettuce. Lots of little green tomatoes, small peppers and green strawberries. The beans are flowering. Life in the garden seems to be a happy one. 🙂

As I pick the onions, I’m planting more so I’ll keep a steady supply over the summer and fall.

Late May:

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June 17:

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This is one of the lavender plants (small one in front of pic) planted next to our hydrangeas. Smells so good when you brush the leaves. 🙂

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Just a few days ago (sorry about the sun glare):

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I’m happy with how things are progressing. 🙂

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