Sunday, May 29, 2011

Grow On...

After many days and many nights of rain, thunderstorms, gullywashers, and assorted other memorable weather events, we finally had an utterly gorgeous, sunny, warm day yesterday to kick off the holiday weekend.

And you know what that means: time to play catch up in the garden.

I started off my Saturday with a brief visit to Garden #1, at the Renaissance Man's home. The recent rain seemed to have washed out one of my cherry tomato seedlings, so I replaced it and added another, along with a little more basil. (Because you can never have enough basil...) While there, I harvested more lemon balm and peppermint for the dehydrator and checked on everything else. (Fingers crossed for strawberries this year!)

I had scheduled the afternoon and evening for time with the Southern Belle, the Absent-Minded Professor, and My Adorable Nephews in the hopes that we would make progress in Garden #2. The weather cooperated, and we got down to business!

The upper bed is well on its way with a bumper crop of hardneck garlic (planted last fall) growing strong. The first round of peas, green beans, radishes, and golden chard are coming up nicely, too, with carrots and parsnips as sluggish followers. The chives -- planted the first year we had the garden -- are about due for dividing this year! And a lone pac choi plant made it through the winter and is valiantly trying to uphold the genetic tradition by blooming and attempting to set seeds.

We added to this bed by planting mounds of Noir des Carmes cantaloupe (an heirloom variety that sounded irresistible) and Costata Romanesca zucchini, plus a row of Calypso beans for drying. My Adorable Nephews were enraptured by the "yin-yang" beans, and once I suggested they get their garden exploring kit (a gift I made for them a year or so ago), they saved a couple bean seeds in the jars I had provided, then wrote notes and drew pictures in their garden journals. (Mind you, these boys are almost-10 and 7 -- and they love the garden!)

While they made notes, I moved on to the lower bed, where the second round of peas and radishes and the first round of lettuce and pac choi are starting to take hold. The cilantro, an annual that perennially reseeds itself, is in its prime, and the dill is starting to appear as well. I added rows of Clear Dawn onion, Scarlet Queen turnips, Antares Oakleaf lettuce, Red Choi pac choi, more golden chard, and broccoli raab -- as well as three Romanesco broccoli seedlings. The boys took a breather from their journals to scatter broken eggshells over the rows where I planted greens. (Here's hoping that wards off the slugs!)

The first round of chard has grown enough that I was able to pick some leaves to add to our salad for dinner, along with fresh cilantro, dill, and pac choi leaves. I just love when I can start eating straight from the ground!

While the first round of snap peas are starting to bloom, they're not quite ready to produce pods yet. But they're a good step ahead of this second round, which will keep our snap pea harvest coming for a few more weeks!

As we worked in the garden, the Southern Belle weeding ahead of us, the Absent-Minded Professor planted tomatoes, basil, and peppers around the deck closer to the house. So if all goes well in the garden this year, we should have a good variety of food for the table!

I plan to get out to Garden #3 yet this holiday weekend for more work, if not much more planting. But I'm so glad to see things growing again!

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