Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring in the Vegetable Garden

I was listening to KFOR Radio Friday morning, when I was getting ready for work, and they were wondering if anyone had planted their vegetable gardens yet, since spring was here early.  They thought it may be a gamble to plant this early, since we could still have some cold weather.  They invited listeners to call to share whether they've planted anything yet.  Of course, I had to call to tell them I do what I actually call "gamble gardening". They were amazed that I had started planting in January this year.

I have talked before about how I like to get out as soon as the soil can be worked to plant lettuce, spinach, and radishes.  The seeds wait until the soil warms up enough to germinate, and once up, can handle temps down to the 20s, and have even gotten snowed on.  I always figure it is worth it to get into the garden, and if the seeds don't make it, I can replant.  Normally, the middle of February is when I get this done, but January 5, the soil was not frozen.  I decided to start with the area that gets less sun, on the north side of the garage.  That's the area that takes the longest to be dry enough to plant normally, so I figured I'd go for it, since it was workable.  The sad plants are kale, and the green clump is parsley.

I am showing the seed packets to help me remember what I planted where.

I have been nibbling on this kale that I planted last year.  It will bloom this year, and I will let at least one of them go to seed.  I have seen a number of insects enjoying the blooms.

The day I planted, the larkspur and some bachelor buttons were up.

On February 2, I planted the north side of the garden.

I think the next seeds are those I planted in my garden across the street at the neighbors' house. 

The next three photos show the garden across the street the day I planted the seeds.  Most of them are coming up, but there are lots of weeds over there that I need to take care of before I take photos.

I don't remember when I first posted that some of the plants had come up, but these photos were taken March 23.

This is the view from the driveway.

I have to keep the lemon balm under control, or it will take over the garden.  It can't go too far in the cement, but it will try.

This is just on the other side of the fence on the right.  Can you see the green?

This is on the other side of the entrance and the garage. 

This lettuce coming up on the other side of the front fence was part of the January planting.

I'm pretty sure these are marigolds coming up.  That is quite unusual for March.  When they first came up, I thought they were beets.  In looking at the seed packets, it doesn't look like I planted any.  I better get busy!

All of the plants in this area, from February have come up, except for one or two rows.  I'll have to look at the seed packet photos again to try to figure out which didn't come up.  I have 2 rows of spinach coming up.

These are radishes.  It looks like something has eaten holes in the leaves.

Here is the lettuce from this area.  The row of lettuce that had red speckles did not turn out.

I took another photo of the area to the west of the area where the previous photos were taken.  The compost pile is on the other side of the tall stick fence.  I planted potatoes in the area just next to it, I'm thinking, March 3, which is earlier than usual.

There are four short rows of peas in the area to the right.

This photo of the area between the peas and where I planted the potatoes was taken the day before the rest of the photos.  I harvested this little bit of asparagus that day.  Since this is the second summer for it, I will need to let most of the rest of it grow in order for it to produce better next year.

This is the lettuce that was planted in January, in the area that is normally the last to be ready to be planted in the spring.  I left some room for the dill, cilantro, and borage that always come back from seed.  I saw the first dill plant today, but have not had any of the other two come up yet. 

I planted red and yellow onion plants the February planting day.

The hardneck garlic that was growing over a lot of the garden when we bought the place is doing well.  I learned to harvest it at the right time, before it splits, and to store it in the basement, then replant in October.  I also learned to only let as much grow as I have room for.

Most of the leaves in the compost piles are from spring.

I enjoy growing different kinds of mints in pots, to prevent them from spreading too far.  I leave most of them in place over the winter.  Some got taken into the garage this year, but they are about at the same stage as the rest.

The bachelor buttons sure have grown!

I hope you are having a great weekend, and are finding time to be outside.  We had our grandsons over today.  The four year old and I went to our local arboretum today and enjoyed walking around taking photos.  We also went to a park, and had an awesome time!  The little one and I spent time out front, and also moved some yard art around.  This evening, I went out and weeded the vegetable garden and cleaned up the area beside the garage.

Click here for a link to a post I did April 10, 2009, where I detailed my method of thinning and cleaning the lettuce and such for use.


  1. You have been busy!! We are enjoying the wonderful weather here too. .and hoping that it doesnt freeze the peach blossoms off our tree! Crazy mother nature!! I found some little sprouts like yours that you suspect may be marigolds. .I didn't have any of those either in the location that I found them. .I know they are something floral. .it will be a surprise when they get a little bigger! Hoping for a good surprise :-) Enjoy your Sunday

  2. The weather has not hurt your garden at all. It seems to growing quickly- perhaps some early salad lunches this spring? I have one plant of kale that managed to overwinter and it putting out new leaves. I have not had the courage to plant more seeds yet.

  3. Sometimes a gamble pays off! Last year it was warm here early in the season, and everyone was asking the same thing - when do we plant - will there be another cold snap. Anyway, I waited. And there was no cold snap. :( So, by that time, it was so hot it was almost too late to plant. This year, no one's asking about a cold snap. Everyone's planting!

  4. Your garden never ceases to amaze me! It's been a wonderful weekend down here in Texas too and my husband and I have been doing some work together in the garden. I love that he is getting into gardening now and shows great pride in his little veggie bed :-)


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