Happy Spring! Hope everyone is fortunate enough to be enjoying some nice weather! It’s been raining here for the past few days; there is a distinct “squish, squish” sound when walking around in the yard. It’s great to have the rain. It’d be even better to have it stretch out over a week or two so the ground has a change to take it all in.
I figured it was about time to share this year’s garden progress. Here in MN we’re about six weeks or so (depending on weather, of course) from planting. For years, the cut-off for the last frost–reliably–has been Memorial Day. Except for that one year …
Over the past few decades, as we all know, the average temps have been getting warmer, so a lot of people put their gardens in weeks before the end of May. I’m just not that ambitious, except for that one year …
I kicked off my annual garden adventure weeks ago when I started my seeds. Every year (except for that one year 🙂 ) I start seeds in the house so that by the end of May, they are big enough to go into the garden. Part of that is cost; I can get a lot of seed for the price of flats at the garden center. The bigger part of that is choice of variety. The garden center carries the most popular varieties, but I often see varieties in my seed catalogs that look much more appealing.
Case in point: those cucumbers I tried last year that were like those snacking cucumbers you can get in the store, the ones you don’t have to peel. In a bigger garden center, you might (and I stress “might”) be able to find a comparable variety, but not where I live unless I want to drive to a bigger town. I happen to like supporting our local garden center. They carry seeds in bulk, which makes them cheaper than those prepackaged ones. Those bulk seeds also seem to perform a lot better than the prepackaged ones. I will never buy prepackaged sweet corn seed again.
In any case, way back when, I wanted to grow heirloom Brandywine tomatoes (If you ever get an opportunity to try them, do it. They are delicious!). You can find them in garden centers now, but back then, the only way to grow them was to start your own seeds.
I’ve progressed to the point where I seldom, if ever, buy peppers, onion sets, or tomatoes from a garden center. My seedlings are doing pretty well this year, especially the tomatoes. Because I have a problem with blight (a tomato disease), I got a few resistent varieties this year. Crossing my fingers that “resistent” means they won’t die before August 🙂
Every year I make adjustments. Last year I hedged my bets with cucumbers (I did three or four batches of pickles last year, with 7 quarts per batch (at least)) and green beans (hoo-boy, lots of those) because of the pandemic. This year, a definite cut-back. No pickling cukes (and yes, I’m sticking to that!), fewer green beans (I promise!), no zucchini (because since the chickens have tasted cucumbers, they tend to avoid zucchini), and two varieties of pumpkins (only because my SIL asked me to grow some for her).
Here are my baby peppers, just coming up:
And the tomato seedlings are doing really well:
We repurposed my in-law’s old china cabinet, and the mirror shelves (yes, actual mirrors) are there to keep as much light on the plants as possible. Not elegant, but functional. Another six weeks, and it’ll be time to actually plant outside.
Things are greening up around here, and the trees are flowering, which stirs up my allergies. Ugh. Best parts of the week? Beautiful start to the week (before the rain moved in) so went for the first outdoor run of the year. That felt great–until the next day when my quads reminded me how long it’s been since the last time I went for a run. Also got first shot of COVID vax (moderna). Whew! Crossing fingers we’ll be able to have our Writing Sisters reunion in person this year. Miss those gals!
Have a great week, everyone! Keep on writing!