Weekend Beginnings

This weekend was the start of my garden planting this year.

It was still a bit chilly, but with only three nights below freezing, it looks like winter is finally passing! I didn’t want to wait too much longer to get seeds started, so this weekend was busy with moving soil, prepping planters, sowing seeds and getting some fertilizer in the soil.

I still have things to plant, but ran out of soil, so I was fairly limited in what I could get done. However, that was still quite a bit! I got my two Pots ‘o Roots done. I’ll be growing beets, carrots, garlic, onions, radishes and rutabagas, keeping a close eye on when things need to be harvested. I have read that these are all great companion plants as they aerate the soil as they grow and when you harvest them.

I also created what I’m calling my “Salad Bars”. Long window boxes with lettuce, kale, spinach, beet greens and mini bok choy. I set up one and in two weeks, I’ll set up a second, that way, we can harvest for a longer period of time and have plenty of lettuce.

I also got my two potato bags going. I have had really excellent results with potatoes over the last few years, so this year, I decided to get some dedicated bags just for those. I figure that will be easier to put soil on the tops of the greens as they grow as opposed to having a limited amount of space, so we’ll see what happens this year!

I also planted Job’s tears and poppies. I had zero luck with the poppies last year and not sure why, but the Job’s tears grew very well. I was able to harvest the grains, which was what I truly wanted for mojo bags, sachets and spell jars. I’m hoping to have more this year and increase my supply. Poppies are more just for decoration and to attempt to see if they will grow.

In the large boxes with the used soil, I’ve been building it up to be full of nutrients again. A couple weeks ago, I added charcoal pellets to the bottom and let them get rained on to help break them up even more. Then I added more soil and put in alfalfa feed and worm castings, and raked it in. This weekend, I added the last of my new soil, raked that in, and planted comfrey and yarrow. then added more worm castings. I’m hoping by growing some herb oriented plants, it won’t fully strip the soil of nutrients, though I do plan to continue to fertilize and add them back in again at the end of the growing season. The comfrey is going to be used to make “comfrey tea” for the tomatoes and my Tub ‘o Veg, (my Pot ‘o Roots, once all the root plants are harvested!) as well as anything that could use a good dose of some fertilizer.

Fertilizer is something that I have never done in the past. I do wonder what my harvests would have been had I known about this necessary step, especially in box and container gardening like I do. And I only honestly learned about it this year, in just the last few months. It’s really embarrassing to even say that I had no idea that you had to do that. So this year, I’m really hoping that the garden will not just be bountiful, but beautiful. I would love to walk out onto the deck and see some lush green, healthy veg and gorgeous flowers. I am probably exaggerating in my mind what it will all look like, so I’m trying to not get my hopes up, but it would be a dream come true to have a bountiful year this year.

Next weekend, provided it isn’t raining, I plant to get my lavender beds started, or at least the soil prepped. The seedlings are probably still too tender to put out, but I do plan to put out seed and let those grow as well. When it gets warmer, I’ll add caraway to the boxes for some added height and variation in colors.

As time progresses, I’ll be bringing my nasturtium out to let them get used to the outdoors and temper them, then they will go into their permanent home. I’m hoping they survive till then as they aren’t entirely happy where they are right now. The sweet peas are growing like weeds though and I anticipate them doing well, though I think this will be the last year I grow them. I am not good at cultivating them. I don’t like pinching them off to inspire more lower growth, and so I need to find a better option. I’m thinking of perhaps morning glory next year.

My peas have already started sprouting and I’m hoping for another good year. I’m going to learn how to pickle them, so that the delicate snow peas can be used at a later date. While the freezer is a good option, I’d like to have others that work too. Especially for cooking.

I had been playing around with the idea of getting some tabletop type planters, but now, I wonder if I need those. Most of what I’m growing does get rather tall, so having them at waist level may not be the best idea. I may get one, just to see if I can use it, and go from there. I’m going to look through my seeds and see what I have and what could be grown in there. I’m not sure I have much, to be honest.

Since I have discovered gardening, it has really changed my life. I look forward to things now. I look forward to the end of winter to give gardening a new go. It is the promise of work and fruition, and while it may sound like it isn’t fun, it has become one of the more exciting things in my life. I hope it never grows old.

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