Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Inch by inch, row by row.

After a very long winter (approximately thirty-seven months, give or take) it appears that spring, at least, has arrived. I won’t say summer, because it isn’t expected until next month and if we start looking forward to it too much, it may never come.

But spring is here. Not the nicest, however. Oh sure, today is a good day, sunny and all. But the forecast for the next four days? Temperature hovering between five and seven Celsius, and rain. Rain tomorrow, rain Friday, rain rain and more rain. Guess that lawn better get mowed tonight before the grass…errr…weeds get knee high.

Howsoever – that is not the point of the post. The point is to tell you that the plot is planted! This is my third year at the community garden; my little bit of farming that I intend to continue, even when I’ve moved to an apartment. Actually, I suspect that I will need that wee bit of land even more when I’m not in the house any longer!

Back to the plot. Most of it was done on Victoria Day, by me. Not that I’m complaining, mind; The Boy is away, and The Girl had plans of her own. All of which is part of getting used to being on my own again, with the fledglings living their own lives!

By "most" I mean everything bar the carrots. By the time I’d done everything else I was bent like an old crone and had to hobble home bent over. I didn’t stand up straight until I was in the shower under torrents of hot water. But I digress. Back to the garden.

My apologies –and my admiration - to those with flower gardens. The only flowers I have are the tulips at the house. And while this year they are fantastic thanks to the new bulbs I put in last fall (yes, I will get pictures, even if only for Al and Tanya!), I’m not really much of a green thumb when it comes to flowers. If I can convince edible things to take root and grow, that’s good enough for me.

The Boy has the camera with him in BC, so no pictures just yet. I’ll see if I can get The Girl to take a picture of the tulips, as they will be past their peak before I have my own camera back. The veggie garden doesn’t really look like anything just yet. When things have started sprouting I’ll take some shots and post them. In the meantime, I’ll tell you what all has been planted:

Tomatoes (as per The Boy’s request): Ten plants altogether. Two cherry tomato plants, to yellow pear, four heirloom tomatoes who’s names I’ve forgotten but will check when I’m there next (two yellow and two orange is all I can recall just now) and two Best Boy, just to make sure we have some big slicing tomatoes for summer sandwiches.

The Girl picked up a four pack of hot Peppers. I don’t know if we’ll get anything from them, or anything ripe at any rate given the short season but she wanted to try them and I like it when the kids want to try growing things so into the cart of seeds ‘n things they went.

We bought onions. Lots and lots of onions. It is even possible that we’ll have enough onions to have some last until fall. Last year we ate them all as soon as they were big enough. Come harvest weekend I think we may have had a single onion plant left. Maybe. And last year was a vast increase from the first year when we thought a dozen onions might suffice. They didn’t. Increasing the total to two dozen didn’t help. Ok, it helped but it wasn’t enough! This year we’ve put in over a hundred. The majority are Walla Walla, because they’re so awesome (even when grown in our short season), but also red onions and two different types of yellow Spanish onions.

That’s it for plants, the rest was seeds. Well, except for the potatoes. Technically they went in as seed potatoes, but they were already so sprouted that it felt like I was putting in actual plants.

On the same row as the tomatoes, planted underneath a row of tomato cages I planted a row of peas. Homestead peas, nothing fancy. It doesn’t really matter what kind we plant, because they all get eaten raw anyway. The few times we’ve picked them to take home for supper by the time the shelling was finished so many had been eaten that we finished them off. Why boil water for six little peas?

Last year we ordered seed potatoes online; fingerlings, purple potatoes, German Butterball potatoes and a few others. Was it worth it? No, not really. The majority of the potatoes were pulled, scrubbed, steamed and eaten within the hour. So incredibly delicious that it didn’t really matter what we started with. This year we bought local; one box of Russet potatoes, one of Yukon Gold (because I love me a good yellow potato!).

I’m pretty sure I got at least 24 from the two boxes but the potatoes were the second-to-last last thing I planted on Monday and I was beyond counting. I just wanted to get out of the cold and the wind. The actual last things planted were parsnips. The seeds of which were not at all like what I thought they would be. The addition of parsnips to the list was a last minute request from The Boy. Last year all he wanted was tomatoes, which we planted. And then everyone was hit by the blight. I think we got one single cherry tomato from the original row of plants. I was so happy this year when he chose a second something for his bit of the garden. Not that either of them will spend much time there, it’s more of an escape for me, really. Peace and quiet when I need it! But still, it’s nice thinking of the parsnips as “his” parsnips.

Last night The Girl and I went and planted carrots. Two packages of Scarlet Nantes in seed tape, and one package of purple skinned carrots, all nicely planted and hopefully up and out in a few weeks!

There you have it – one garden, pictures to follow.

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