May 6, 2017

The Garden in Early May

Last month's abundant rain pretty much kept me out of the garden because the ground was too soft. With a stretch of nice days I've finally gotten a start on my spring planting. So far I've planted watermelon, okra, summer squash, green beans, and amaranth. I waited to plant my tomato seedlings because we got another heavy rain last Thursday. Being house-started, I was afraid they were still too tender to take such a beating.

Tomato seedlings, right before moving outdoors to harden off.

Since the newly planted spring garden still looks like bare ground, all I have to show you is the finishings-up of the winter garden. Once that's done, I'll have room to plant more.  So let's start with the hoop house.

It's a jungle in there!

Most of my salad greens are bolting, even with the shade cloth, so I'm just waiting to collect the seed. For example -

Bloomsdale spinach flowering.

Claytonia (Miner's lettuce) in bloom.

I also have arugula, corn salad, kale, mizuna, and lettuce that I want to save seed from. In particular, I want to make a note of the lettuce I planted last November, because even though it's starting to send up flower stalks, it hasn't turned bitter yet. Amazing!

Lollo Bionda lettuce peeking out from amongst chickweed.

It's surrounded by volunteer chickweed, which I allowed to grow because it's both culinary and medicinal. I use it for salad greens, to dry for herbal salves, to feed as fresh greens for the chickens and ducks, to chop up for the goats, and as a living mulch.

Another living mulch area has been my multiplier onion bed.

Multiplier onions with volunteer vetch.

Lots of volunteer vetch appeared, which I left because it's a nitrogen fixer, has pretty little purple flowers, keeps other things (that I don't want) from growing, and can be cut back, dried, and added to the goats' hay pile.

Here's another such bed.

Chicory, violets, and a few multiplier onions that I missed last year.

The violets make a beautiful living mulch. I do pull a few "weeds" from these beds, but also, I seem to have less problems with wire grass where there is a dense ground cover. This observation is why I planted clover in the area below my new swale. I cleared out three wheelbarrow loads of wire grass from that little plot and really don't want it coming back! Mulch doesn't deter it, but it tends to show up less where a thick ground cover shades the soil.

So far so good! Except for a bit too much henbit, the clover has come up very well with wire grass mostly around the edges of the clover plot. I turned it under in two places plant watermelons.

Here's one of them with four watermelon seedlings I started indoors.

I plant only one variety of melon every spring, but I change the varieties from year to year. That means our variety is annual, we aren't overrun with melons, and I don't have to worry about cross-pollination!

On the other side of the hoop house I have a row of Savoy cabbages.


Also some radishes blooming.

Purple plum radish flowers

I especially like this variety and want to save lots of seed.

So now I have to wait again for things to dry out a bit; then I can get back into the garden and finish planting.

Your turn. Anybody else getting their hands in the dirt?

The Garden in Early May © May 2017 by

13 comments:

  1. Hi Leigh :) Your hoop house is awesome! Wow...that is quite the jungle! So it's still too hot with the shade cloth, is that the reason some of your lettuces are bolting?

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    1. I'm guessing it has more to do with their lifespan than heat. Our temperatures have been pretty mild, but every plant has a built-in lifespan, especially annuals. I should have been planting more lettuce seed all along, except I don't have that much room! I may try a heat-tolerant variety so I can see how it does.

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  2. Hi! I am getting my hands into the dirt but also freezing! LOL I am hauling my annuals and most of the perennials into the house every night. It is nice that you have a hoop house! Great looking cabbage. Do you have it covered from getting eaten? I didn't try to find room for them this year but miss them! Hoping everything will grow well for you this year! Nancy

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    1. Nancy, no, the cabbages aren't covered, but nothing has touched them (except for a few insect holes). I don't envy your hauling plants in and out every day! But I do it too when weather warrants. It's worth it. :)

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  3. Such lovely greenery, even the plants that are bolting! So glad to hear the ground covers are helping to keep your wire grass in check. Hallelujah!

    I've planted my Sweet Peas a couple of days ago, but really got into the dirt today planting one whole raised bed with salad greens. Still have to cover it with a cold frame, but it's a start!

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    1. Gotta love those spring garden starts! We're in another chilly, rainy trend right now, and it's killing me to have to stay out of the garden 'cuz of the mud!

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  4. My garden is teeny in comparison, but I planted a ton of onions yesterday, and 3 varieties of garlic. The lettuce and spinach has been seeded, and the peas are starting to pop up. Progress! And then today? Snow flurries, bleh.

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    1. Snow! I can't even imagine :o Good garden choices for your weather conditions though.

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  5. Leigh could you please post some photos of your hoop house arrangement. I would be very interested in seeing the cabbage area.TIA

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    1. Maybe a map? The cabbages aren't actually in the hoop house, but in a row outside. That reminds me that tomorrow I need to make some cole slaw!

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    2. A map would be lovely. I am working very slowly on deciding how and what to set up in my little green house. I have always thought it would be mostly used for protecting my fodder from evil sparrows and growing greens and perhaps a few other salad items so I don't have to compromise in the winters with half baked commercial stuff. Could one plant a few cabbage in a green house and raise to maturity? I am not a seasoned gardener especially in this arena, can you tell ? lol pass the slaw please!

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  6. Such a mild climate that you can grow year round! Lucky you!

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    1. All except the dead of summer when it's too hot! LOL

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