Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pretty Seeds All in a Row

The prospect of having a large vegetable garden this year -- the first in a couple of years -- has kept me excited the past few months. (Had you noticed?)

Still, even in my excitement I realized that I couldn't do everything all at once. Around northern Ohio, it's sheer folly to put all of your garden in before May 15 or so because there's always that last remote chance that we'll have a freak snowstorm or hard frost in early May.

Not this year, I'm happy to say -- even if the temperatures have dipped a bit lately. I was able to stick to schedule this week and pick up my herbs and tomatoes before heading to the garden today, on the second best weather day all week.

I asked the Southern Belle to keep My Adorable Nephews busy for a little while so that I could get the big and unwieldy plants into the ground before I had little boys jumping all around and wanting to be "helpful." She kindly obliged me, and I managed to plant the tomatoes, peppers, basil, and the first other herbs before the boys came rushing up to me.

"I want to help!" shouted Beaker as he bounced up and down. (Scooter wasn't much interested today, thank goodness.)

Having strained my back earlier this week, I gladly accepted his assistance in planting the rest of the herb seedlings. I had already dug holes, so I tapped the plants out of their pots, set them firmly in the holes, and directed Beaker to scoop dirt back around the plants' roots and to pat it down gently.

After that, he insisted on helping sow the rest of the seeds, so I thanked my lucky stars that I had talked with a co-worker yesterday about having youngsters help in the garden. Her sage advice led me to offer two areas to Beaker for his input: the melons and the beans.

He was thrilled. He loves watermelon and cantaloupe both, so he eagerly dug the small holes in the melon patch, and once I had handed him the right amount of seeds for each hole, he covered them up and mounded the dirt over them. I added a couple rows of nasturtium seeds in between the mounds, explaining that the flowers would be good companions ("friends" was how we put it) to the melons.

Then I showed him where to hoe the rows for the cannellini and Tiger Eye beans I wanted planted. Once he had done that, I squatted down, started laying the seeds in the ditch with a comfortable distance between them, and he followed my example perfectly, working his way in from the other end. Using bigger seeds apparently does the trick in having children help: it was clearly easier for him to handle the seeds and gauge the appropriate distance for planting.

I added in a few more rows of seeds, including yet more lettuce and carrots, and I left a little space for the kale to be planted later next month.

Once we had finished, I had some time to investigate the earlier plantings.

While the lettuce was off to its usual graceful start, I discovered that the pac choi was already filling in thickly in its little row, so I'll have to make time next week to come back and thin the seedlings.

The fava beans continue to stretch their way up to the top of the deck railing, so one of these days I'll either have to stake them or tie them to the rail so they don't fall over.

With several patches of new seeds hidden beneath the topsoil, the garden still doesn't look too impressive, but to my eyes it's coming along beautifully.

Just keeping asking me, "How does your garden grow?"



At 5/27/2008 8:03 AM, Blogger Steve said...

Hi Jennifer,

Your garden looks like it is coming together really well. I will try to send you a few shots of the community gardens around Schwerin - most of them are blooming now!

Take care,

At 5/27/2008 2:16 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Guten tag, Stephen! Yes, the garden is looking right fine these days, so I'm eager to see how it all looks in about a month or so. I look forward to seeing photos from your summer... drop a line sometime and let me know how you're doing!


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