Monday, May 9, 2011

The 2011 Gardening Season Opener

It's been very busy in the garden the past few weekends. The long-anticipated "is winter really gone?" season is now over, and gardening is into full-swing. There always seems to be twice the amount of work than expected and half the amount of time necessary to complete it. Fortunately, the sun doesn't go down until after 8:00 pm now, so I can sometimes fit in a little bit of gardening after work (on those days when I don't have a night meeting).

In between the raindrops, I've planted out all my cold-hardy seedlings (cabbage and onion families), watched my peas sprout, and planted strawberries and a cherry tree. I've also done a lot of "re-organization" that has entailed digging up almost all of the shrubs I've planted in the past 3 years and moving them to a new location. I'm hoping that I will stop "re-organizing" soon, because it's not good for the shrubs to be moved so much, and it's not a very fun task! Speaking of not-fun tasks, Adam and I have both done some work on weeding - somehow the grass loves to grow in the garden but not in the lawn.

A few insights from May-time gardening:

  1. I was reminded why sandals and shoveling don't mix. It's impossible to keep your feet clean and it's just uncomfortable to feel grit between Chaco straps and bare skin. Not to mention that I had to get out an old toothbrush to make my sandals look presentable before going out last night.
  2. My mom is SO great! Not only does she come to my house to visit on the day before Mother's Day and comes bearing olive oil and balsamic vinegar, BUT she also volunteers to help clear leaves and put a variety of plants in the ground. All while wearing a crisp white Oxford shirt. Thanks, Mom! Love you.
  3. Having raised beds really makes prepping beds and planting seeds or seedlings easy. It is certainly an investment of time and materials in the first year, but the second year, I'm just amazed at how quickly I can get seeds into the ground.
  4. I now know what niche I can fill if I ever want to write a book on gardening. It would be called "Front-Yard Pocket Gardening." I had bought 25 strawberry plants and wanted to figure out how to use them as edging, or ideally as groundcover around my cherry tree sapling. And then I wanted to know if I could get away with interplanting low-bush and highbush blueberry in a mini-hedgerow. The Cooperative Extension has great fact sheets on gardening, but they are geared substantially toward the 20X40 row garden in someone's flat backyard. And finding advice about care for fruit trees, grape vines and small fruit is prolific for a production operation or a large yard, but quite scarce for "I have 8 feet between the house and the driveway, and the powerline is 12 feet away."
  5. For all the effort so far, the garden still doesn't look that great. It's really really exciting to see seeds sprouting and leaves unfurling, but it's not beautiful quite yet. See photo below - not what I would call "garden artistry."

Garlic, peas, spinach, scallions and the onion family
Up next - tomorrow, we will welcome 3 new Red Star chicks and move our 2-week-old New Hampshire Red chicks out to their new coop in the shed!


  1. Please post pics of the chicks! I can't wait to see them. I bet they are so cute that you just want to squish them.

  2. Chicks! Yay! I second the desire to squish them, and I haven't even seen them yet!