It’s been six weeks since I went over our garden plans. Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to check in and see how things are progressing!
Spring Has Arrived
.. and there was much rejoicing. This has been an exceptionally mild winter. Even though we were a full two weeks ahead of the average last-frost date for our part of Oklahoma, Heather and I decided to fully seed the garden over the last two weekends. The forecasts were clear of frost through the end of March, and historically, frost in April is rare. It’s a gamble, but if it pays off, we’ll be four weeks ahead of last year in our planting, which means we’ll be able to start enjoying fresh veggies out of our garden in May instead of June.
In the last garden report, I showed the basic containers, talked about the layout, and showed the garlic planting. This time we’ll be looking at what’s gone into the ground, what’s come up, and what has been added. Side note: When I say “garden,” I really mean “driveway covered in containers and planters,” because they’re much easier to water and keep healthy, and I also know what’s in the soil. Duncan has a lot of extra bonus soil additives courtesy of Halliburton that don’t make for great eating.
Mr. Landis’ Home for Dislodged Plants
We spent a lot of time yesterday transplanting various plants around the garden. Some were seedlings that had been growing inside for a few weeks, some were more mature.
Four years ago, I planted a little strawberry plant in horrible clay soil. It got a little sun (not enough), a lot of water (too much), and frequently had its fruit ravaged by pillbugs (Armadillidiidae, aka Wood Louse, Roly-Poly, etc.) Somehow, despite the horrible location and swampy environment, the little strawberry plant thrived and turned into 13 strawberry plants. We decided this year to move the strongest specimens into containers so that they can have good soil, lots of sun, and no wood lice eating the fruit before we can get to them. We dug and divided the plants and placed some into containers for us, and then potted the remainder to give away to friends.
Last year, we tried Roma tomatoes. They worked well and we got a decent crop, but the planter wasn’t right for them and they developed a pretty bad fungus that cut the crop to minimal levels halfway through the growing season. I’d never grown tomatoes before, so I still consider it a success- we got a solid $20 or $30 worth of tomatoes out of two plants, and they tasted better than anything store bought. This year we’ve changed varieties and we’re trying out a different container. We’re planting 3 plants in individual 5 gallon buckets. While I normally want to grow everything from seed, when it comes to the tomatoes we decided to go with planting seedlings from a nursery. Once I can feel I can do a good job of establishing and caring for a tomato plant that’s already started, we’ll go for some seeds.
The tomatoes are caged and will be situated on the west side of the garden so they’ll get to dominate the evening sun but won’t interfere with the other plants during the rest of the day.
Our little pepper seedlings were planted indoors on the 7th of February. They were very slow to germinate (some took 7 days which is good; some took 21) so they’re a bit smaller than I’d hoped, but I think the extra time they’ll get in the garden due to the early planting will help them make up for it. We have somewhere around 20 seedlings. I planted 6 in my big planter and 2 each in a pair of buckets, all with the thought of thinning them down later once it’s clear which plants will be the dominant ones. I’m hoping to end up with 3 or 4 total pepper plants. The other seedlings that weren’t planted are potted up to be given away to friends, like our strawberries.
We should have started the broccoli a bit earlier, but our indoor growing closet was only a 50% success. The soil I used held far too much water and ended up rotting almost everything we put into it, so we had to do a second germination of broccoli. We still got them outside and into the planter last weekend, so we should get a nice healthy crop of broccoli before the warmer temperatures hit in full force. For now, the seedlings are going crazy dumping as much energy as they can into new growth. It’s probably safe to say that these are by far the fastest growing plants we have right now. We should be enjoying some fresh broccoli in May!
My pair of cilantro plants that were a gift from a co-worker continue to grow like the weeds they are. They spent the first nine weeks indoors in a closet, under LED growing lights. We’ve been aggressively trimming them to provide salsa for friends. Now that they’re outdoors, we’re going to be swimming in cilantro for a while.
Don’t knock my planters! It’s the best part of waking up. They’re ready to move into something bigger, once I find it.
Mr. Landis’ Home for Young Plants
The rest of the edibles in our garden have been sown from seed (or clove, in the case of the garlic). We planted the last of our herbs last weekend and are expecting the first of them to show up any day now. Others are already raring to go, unaware of the horrid fate that awaits them in our gastrointestinal systems.
Oh No Onions, What Are You Doing
The onions have sprouted and are pretty much going ape-shit. We’re going to be eating a lot of green onions this year. This is a good thing. They’re way over-planted right now, but that’s because I plan on thinning them liberally (with my MOUTH) as we go along, then once they’re properly spaced, we’ll eat them one row at a time and replant as we eat. We shouldn’t have to buy any onions from mid-April to mid-December.
The spinach is coming up bunnies as well. Once again, we drastically over-planted, but we’re going to thin down to a few plants and then eat the ever-loving hell out of them. They were seeded 2 weeks ago and are mostly all up now. Over the next few weeks we should have a nice mini-crop of spinach to nibble on.
We planted little cloves of garlic in our planter back on the 7th of February. Some of them didn’t make it fully, others are just starting, and 3 of them are taking their cues from Bruce Banner. The big guys are about 6” tall and growing nicely.
Chives: Bow to Your God of the Garden
The chives are immortal and get their own section. Seriously. Our chives are insane. They’re 4 years old now, and here we are, 3 weeks out of the last snow and they’re 24 inches tall. We’ve tried to eat them as much as we can, but there’s no way. We harvest and give them away to everyone we know and never make a dent. Even if we were to travel back in time and release an entire herd of buffalo into our garden, I don’t think the chives would sweat it. You could hide a mastodon in our chives.
More worrisome, they need to be divided and re-potted because they’ve been cooped up too long. I seriously worry about the fate of the community if I do that. I think there’s a pretty fair chance they will realize their sentience, mobilize, and end humanity.
That’s all for this installment of the Garden Report. Future installments won’t be six weeks apart, now that we actually have more than dirt to report on.
Anyone want some chives? Please?!