I was up far earlier than any member of my family, so I decided to take a quick early morning check on my garden. Things are coming along nicely, so I thought I’d share a mid-May report with you.
This is the largest of my pea plants – I’ve been working on training the tendrils upward now for the past week or so. Incidentally, did you know you can eat these vines? They are delicious! There’s no way I’m pulling these up, but if you’re interested to try them, you can look for them at the Farmer’s Market. I’ve had them in my green smoothies and also stir fried.
These two friends were born at the same time yesterday morning! Aren’t they sweet? I’ve read you don’t need to thin peas, because they grow well in thick vines, so I’m leaving them be.
Now I’m planting basil by seed, but it’s definitely taking it’s sweet time, so I had no problem buying this healthy basil plant at a plant sale I attended last weekend. I bought this plant stand to help keep the leaves up off the ground and provide some support. My son and I already nibbled a couple of the leaves….oh my, I can’t wait for pesto.
My pal Susan gave me a couple oregano and sage starts last week. Unfortunately, some of them didn’t take so well to the transplant, but I was encouraged to see these healthy top leaves on some of the sage plants this morning!
If I was to suggest something to a new gardener it would be this: grow herbs! I didn’t grow any my first year, and I look back and realize how silly that was. Herbs add so much flavor to your dishes and are easy to grow (well, most of them anyways). This year I’m growing two kinds of basil, sage, oregano, mint, parsley, chives, thyme, and tons of cilantro…
My strawberries are starting to flower, too.
I read over the weekend that strawberries are named “straw” berries because they are often grown with a mulch of straw underneath, to keep them clean. My daughter and I picked up some straw from the local feed store last Friday. What an experience! As soon as we walked in, we heard the chorus of dozens of baby chickens “cheep, cheep, cheep….”
I now have more straw than I know what to do with. I picked up a clean bin and will store it in there to keep it dry. If anyone knows how long I can keep it, let me know.
I’m trying something new à la Pinterest: growing celery from the ends of stalks. Here is one of my stalks, about 10 days after planting:
It is definitely doing something! The top is all new growth and if you look carefully, you can see the beginning of new stalks. I’ll be curious to see if this works.
Susan also gave me this beautiful chive plant. The flowers are edible – wouldn’t they look lovely on a salad?
I have lots of greens coming up, some of which I’ve already started to enjoy.
I seemed to have gotten the pest problem under control with my lettuce! They are growing wonderfully, and I have some seedlings coming up for subsequent lettuce patches to enjoy in a few weeks.
I have about a half dozen healthy rainbow chard plants just starting to take off.
I’m also growing romaine lettuce…
Lacinato (dinosaur) kale…
Red leaf lettuce…
And arugula (because you can never have enough greens!).
My raspberries are looking really fantastic too, and I can see the buds where there will soon be berries. If I was a fly, this would not be a bad place to live…
My onion starts have taken well and are starting to grow. While you might argue that onions are cheap to buy, I have to ask: have you ever tried a garden-grown onion? If you haven’t, your argument is invalid.
My son is growing radishes. I gave my kids a container to share this year with two caveats: you must care for what you grow and you must eat it!
My daughter and I did an initial planting of rainbow carrots on her side yesterday, too. I’ll be curious to see how this variety works…
This year I’ve decided to grow some tomatoes in containers on my deck, to free up real estate in my garden planters.
Can you believe I paid just $3.50 each for these healthy tomato plants? Oh yes I did! There was an edible plant sale in Tacoma last weekend. Had I known the prices would be that awesome, I would’ve shared it! These are two chocolate cherry tomato plants, and an early girl will be going in the garden Memorial Day weekend, along with a couple miniature bell peppers. I also picked up a Thai pepper, but that may also end up in a container.
I’m growing – you guessed it – more greens on the deck too.
I have a couple volunteer plants I’m letting grow, too…
Pretty sure what I have there is a parsnip. I’m going to let it bolt in hopes of collecting the seeds and planting for a winter crop.
And pretty sure what I have here is a dandelion. Heck no I’m throwing it out! Dandelion greens are some of the most nutritious things you can eat! I’m going to let it get nice and big then it’s going in a green smoothie. (For more on weeds you can eat, check out the foraging class I attended recently).
I also wanted to share that I successfully dried mint!
I’ve been doing a lot of contemplating and reading as of late. My garden up until this point has largely been a hobby. I want to slowly transform it into a sustainable source of food. To me, this means determining how to grow and store food we use, how to save seeds and plants, extend the season, and maximize our growing space. As we work to complete the landscaping of our backyard, I’ve got my mind wondering about where we could fit more edibles! My husband had a fabulous idea of building a long running planter alongside the bottom part of our deck, and I’m still trying to determine where we could add in some fruit trees (a big dream of mine!).
If you’re growing anything, I’d love to hear about it – and if you’ve blogged about it somewhere, please leave a link!