Wednesday, 29 April 2015

My spring garden

Knowing full well that this is probably my last full growing season in the US, I wanted to get a good head start.  My veggies patch is not huge, about 3x6 foot.  But it is very practical.

Pinterest is my friend when it comes to gardening.  Heck, Pinterest is my friend when it come to most things!  I spotted this when I was planning my garden, so borrowed it 

Using this seed starting chart enabled me to plan what and when I was going to plant.  As you can see, I have adapted it of myself.  I actually started planting in January in milk jugs using this method. It worked for most seedlings, but damp rot got to a few varieties.

Despite this, I still planted some seeds in the ground, peas and sugar snaps, as these prefer cool weather.  This was in late january.  Typically it snowed in february, but I was able to protect them using plastic bottles.  

Thats all i can say about the planning really!  I love gardening, and can't wait to have my own garden so I can do with it what I want.  I would like it, that when we got back to the UK, I was able to grow a lot more of our own food, but we will have to wait and see on that one!

So this is what my veggie patch looks like this week.  I have a lot of strawberry plants.  I bought these last year, but was a little slow to get these in the ground.  Consequently, they did not fruit, but sent off loads of runners.

I now have strawberry plants at both ends of my veggie patch.  Most plants have had flowers on them.

I am just waiting on the sun now to turn them red.  These plants should keep Isaac in strawberries for about a week (he is the only one who eats them, and has them everyday!)

This is a row of carrots and radishes.  I probably should thin the carrots, but am loath to do so.  Our soil is full of clay after about 6 inches in depth, so I do not hold much hope for them.  I have grown radishes this year.  They are so quick and easy, and have been a wonderful addition to salads and sandwiches.  I will be planting more of these, later in the year.

I picked up this long pot from Big Lots for $6.50.  Bargain!  They are usually one of the cheapest places for gardening stuff.  In this pot is a pepper plant, 2 marigolds and a tomato plant.  I purchased these from the local high school, Hillcrest High.  They run an agricultural  program, and every year the students put on a plant sale.  Some nice kids, and cheap plants.  Well worth going to if you are in the area.

Two of the plants that grew successfully from seed in the milk jugs were cucumber and zucchini (courgette).  They are similar plants, I think they belong to the same family.  I have grown cucumbers with moderate success before, same with zucchini, though not in this country.  I have planted them either side of my trellis, with additional plants in pots for now.  If any one wants the plants in pots let me know.  One thing though, I am not sure which veggie is which, so it would be pot luck.....

Below is some sugar snap peas I planted in a milk jug.  These thrived before I transferred them to the pot.  They don't like being transferred, so I initially planted the seeds in toilet rolls in the soil, and kept all the soil together when I transferred them.  It worked, and they have been harvested already.  You can also see some chives in the photo.  This is from a plant I bought at Walmart from their vegetable section.  I split the pot, so I now have 2 plants to take from.  Great in salads, or egg dishes.  Yes, more strawberries in the pot behind!  In the bottom corner is my lettuce patch.  I have a foot square covered in lettuce.  I regularly take from this for lunch and dinner.  It probably has about a month before it bolts and becomes too bitter.  I will replace it with tomato plants from the milk jugs.

Below are more plants from Hillcrest High School, a sage and oregano plant.  Not herbs I have tried before, so am intrigued to see how they do.

Below are my pots.  They it behind the veggies patch.  I have a pepper plant at the back in the orange pot.  This has spinach and arugula plants around it, which are just starting to poke their heads up.  Strawberry in the red pot.  This is one I moved from the veggie patch in January.  no flowers = no fruit so far.  It initially had radishes planted around it, but i think the snow got them.  Blue pot is my mint plant. Again, purchased from a supermarket, pot split and replanted in to 2 pots.  Hopefully I now have enough mint to keep me in mojitos all summer long....  The red pot at the front with the tiny seedlings are chili plants.  These are seeds taken from last years harvest.  I am pleased they have sprouted, will wait to see if they fruit.....

This is another sweet pepper plant, from Walmart.  I have not had great success with these.  only green peppers really.  I need to discover the secret to getting big, coloured peppers.  These are a staple in our house, and if I could grow them successfully, they would save me a fortune!  In the back ground you can see the peas and beans

I may have gone slightly overboard with these.  I reckon I have about 20 plants all in the ground.  They are thriving.  And going slightly crazy!  But they do have a fairly short season here, as they don't like the heat.  I reckon they will stop producing around the end of June.  That is where succession planting will come in.  I will most likely put some radishes/carrots/parsnips there once they are done, ready for a fall harvest.  

But for now they are producing like crazy.  I did my first proper harvest last night.  I will be eating these for a week!  If anyone local would like some, let me know!

Oliver wanted to get in on the action this year.  Was I giving up valuable space in my garden?  Heck, NO!  So he did his own plan, looked at the seed packets, and decided what he would plant.  I picked him up a storage box from K-Mart, on sale (in fact I got 2, he has more planting to do this weekend!).  He is growing lettuce, broccoli, spring onions peas and sunflowers. 

His is also going well.  We enjoy gardening, and knowing we can provide some food for ourselves makes it all the more sweeter. 

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