Gardening season begins

We put the first round of seedlings into the ground May 19. This was the rack before:


In fairness, the bottom two racks were flowers, and went in pots and boxes at the front of the house. This year J decided to try a new planting scheme, given that we got hit so hard last year and lost our squash and cucumbers. The plants are in groups of four types of each plant, scattered around the garden:


It’s hard to tell now, but should look better in a few weeks as things start to grow. Speaking of growing, the lettuce and cabbages are coming along nicely:



As are the parsnips and carrots, although they are still too small to see. There are some holes in one line of the parsnips, where a lot of them didn’t come up, so I am going to sow some more this weekend to fill in the gaps.

New this year – onions:


I am growing red cippolini and while I suspect I might have spaced them too close together, I am going to risk it because we did them from seed and if it doesn’t work we’re out less than $2 for a package of seeds and the time it took me to plant them (about 30 minutes.)

I also put in basil, cilantro and tarragon seeds in the herb bed; I’m planning on a subsequent planting in pots near the deck for cilantro, basil & dill. I found the tarragon seeds to be fascinating:


You can’t really tell from my photo but they are a long black seed with just a touch of beige or white at one end. I picked out a Mexican tarragon from the catalog, just to try growing it. I don’t really use it that much in cooking, but I guess I’ll learn some new recipes in order to make use of it.

Also seeded this weekend were French Breakfast radishes and turnips. They went in the bed with the carrots, parsnips and beets, which are looking fabulous.

Up next on the planting schedule: Beans (pole & bush), watermelons (Sugar Baby & Moon & Stars), winter squash, pumpkins (Dill’s Atlantic Giant, Jack Be Little, Amish, Orange Smoothie,) peas (Mr. Big Pea and Sugar Snap) and parsley.

What on earth…..?

Saturday night we arrived home from a day out to discover these plants in our mailbox:


They were packaged up with moss around the roots, waxed paper around that, bound up with an elastic. I was mystified – what on earth had we ordered that would result in us being sent live plants?

Any guesses?

Sweet potatoes! We were astonished – all the other potatoes have arrived as tubers. We were even more astonished to have them arrive at the house, because both of us mistakenly believed we’d taken sweet potatoes off the order list because of their price. Apparently not, but this is a mistake I’m more than happy to live with.

This particular variety will produce potatoes that are between 2 -3 pounds if grown properly, and evidently do well in all types of soil, including very poor soil. Which is good, because we have a habit of benign neglect when it comes to our potatoes.

Almost planting time

Last night the first round of corn was planted.  We have finally gotten some rain and the ground is no longer bone dry, so J could move forward with planting.

Our beets have started to come up, as have our cabbages, lettuce and potatoes.  Still no sign of the parsnips and carrots, but those are usually slower and we have been less-than-attentive to watering.  I am going to double-check them tomorrow and see if anything’s starting to pop up; if not I’m going to plant another round.

Our seedlings are looking good and are ready for planting next weekend:

The bottom two shelves are flowers,the top 3 are all vegetables.  This is not including what we will sow directly into the ground – namely, the peas and beans – and there are still more growing under the lights on the bigger rack down in the basement.

And the front yard yesterday:

The only downside is that to encourage healthy bulb growth I have to let all the foliage die off and turn brown before mulching the bed.  Still, worth it – it reminds me so much of our trip to Amsterdam last spring and the Keukenhof garden.  It’s nice to see such color without the jet lag.

Halfway there

About half the tulips are now blooming:

Sunlover on left; Professor Rontgen on right

Apricot Impression


Professor Rontgen

The Sunlover tulips are all from a single bag of bulbs but there is quite a color variation in the yellows and oranges.  I can only hope they will continue to bloom year after year.  I am going to have to put some serious efforts into fertilizing and maintenance in the coming years, which will be nothing after digging that pit as Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on us.  We are still waiting for the Hamilton (fringed yellow), Golden Artist (orange/red trumpet), Burgundy Lace (fringed magenta), Blue Parrot (fringed blue), Sensual Touch (like Sunlover but all orange), Blue Amiable (trumpet blue) and Candy Club (multi-headed soft pink) have not yet bloomed. I’m hoping this means the bed will look attractive for a couple of weeks.