Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Re-starting the garden

It's warm, then it's cold, then the sun comes out, then it starts to hail, then the wind comes up, then it rains, then it rains some more, then it rains another two inches...and there you have it—Spring! Time to re-start the garden!

Some of the first plants at Fred Meyer last month were their six-packs of veggies, and it was soon enough after payday that I decided to jump-start the garden and get something growing. I came home with kales, broccolies, and snow peas. I've never bought any plants this early before, and I was happy to find that none of them were root-bound—they were all at the perfect stage to plant out. I went out and scraped the oak leaves back enough to plant the babies, and got them in the ground. What was left of the hay was really matted down and far from the fluffy golden stuff I had last summer, but it was still covering most of the ground, and an inch or two thick where it still lay. However, there were enough bare spots that I was glad I had gotten the bags of oak leaves for additional cover. The leaves look practically new and I'm thinking they'll be lasting a while. But maybe they'll start rotting when the soil warms up and the micro-organisms get more active.

A row plus two of baby broccolis
Peas and their pea-rsonal trellis
Little kales
I dug some chicken manure into their beds, and had to use the big pick to break the hardpan where I put the kale. I had found some used willow trellises last summer on CraigsList and they hadn't found a place in the garden yet, so I decided to try them for the peas. I cable-tied them to the fence and stuck in an extra fence post to help hold them, and so far they seem pretty sturdy.

The next day there was seven inches of snow on the ground. I waddled down to the veggie garden in my wellies and took some pictures.

Most of the snow landed on the broccoli, close to the back fence.
The fruit trees all decorated.
A few days later, after the snow had melted, I went down to see if anything got snow-smushed, but everybody was fine. The kales had turned purple but were still alive. One kale did get slug-nibbled, so I put out slug bait. Snow and slugs. Sheesh.

So, I have a new garden! I also have a refrigerator drawer full of pre-sprouted potatoes, and they'll be going in during the next dry spell. I do have seeds to plant, too. I wanted to try kolrabi and bulb fennel again. But if I don't have any better luck with those this year, at least I'll have my cold-hardy things to eat. I have managed to clean out all the weeds left from last year, so it feels like a fresh, new garden.

It feels so good to be able to get out and work in it again, even if it is just one day a week.