Sunday, May 4, 2014

Cartwheels in the Garden - Mid Spring Edition

What's "growing" on?

I can't believe it's already May. Can you? The days are warmer and longer - perfect for all things outside! I'm getting exponentially darker by the day between gardening and mountain biking (oh yes, I did, but more on that another time!).  Time is going way too fast nowadays, but I personally don't mind since that just means more fun outdoors - and more food in the garden finally.

We've been eating from the garden already, although there wasn't enough yet to be totally off the grid. I had some rabbit issues (again) this spring that decimated some early seedlings. But I am catching up!
Snap peas grow in a snap!
Vivian Lettuce - these things grow forever.  If you have impatient in you, I wouldn't grow this variety from seed

Parsley is a mainstay in our kitchen so this one has been harvested more than the others. 
Swiss chard which we've already been harvesting off and on for omelets and salads 
Carrots and sugar beets that were grown from seed
Kale - of course!
Mesclun lettuce - now THESE grow amazingly fast and they're eager germinators!
Some more (red) mesclun, spinach, marjoram and oregano
Radish - one of the easiest and fastest growing spring crops

Cauliflower with leaves bigger than my hand.  No cauliflower sighting yet, but these need to get big before they start producing
The strawberries are going crazy already.  Like rabbits, they're making babies fast and furious.  I started with one two year old plant and four baby seedlings last year.  As expected, the yield was not great, although they are the sweetest, freshest strawberries I've ever had.  In the late summer, we'd pick them right off the vine and snack on them.

Strawberries usually take a full year to root and become really gung-ho on production.  If this is your first year growing them, hang tight.  Good things come to those who wait!  I was out there today counting strawberry blossoms and I counted 80+ from the same five plants from last year.

I also learned that raspberries grow like weeds in our alpine desert climate.  I sweet-talked a co-worker into pulling me a cane from his productive raspberry (which he was happy to get rid off because he gets annoyed at how fast they multiply - imagine that!).  Supposedly, they grow in the crappiest soil and require very little maintenance.  Well not counting the number of times you have to yank out runners, I guess.  I put my adopted raspberry in the ground yesterday and it seems to be doing very well.  Because berries are expensive to buy at the store, they're one of the best things to grow at home.

I had a headstart on summer vegetables this year.  I started from seed on Valentine's Day and now, a couple of tomatoes are already grown and flowering!  I also have a handful of green beans already roaring. If everything goes well, I'll have tomatoes at the end of May - a first, especially in our climate!
Zucchini and thyme 
Two more tomatoes and more zucchini in the back
You might start thinking I have a huge garden space.  Well, I really don't.  All I have right now is one 42" x 42" raised bed and two self-watering containers, each has about 2 square feet of growing space.  Plus one dedicated bed for strawberries (which spread so I had to give them their own digs).  

Greenland Gardener 42" x 42" raised bed with a whole lot going on!
I may find out later that I have too much going on in this bed, but I'll be traveling soon so I needed to get all of my seedlings on the ground where they will be watered automatically by drip.  If anything, I can pull out those that look like they are being suffocated and transplant them later when I get back.  Also, the lettuces won't live through summer so more space should free up eventually.  

I never thought growing in the high desert would be possible, but three years into it and I am obviously and most certainly convinced otherwise!

Happy spring!

No comments:

Post a Comment