Ready, Set, Grow!

For well over a week now, I have been meaning to post an update on this year's garden plans. With the weather this spring being somewhat uncooperative (especially on weekends), both the gardening and the yard projects seem to be coming together in phases this year. 

I was able to get the small garden planted on Mother's Day weekend, mostly with the cooler-season stuff: peas, spinach, mesclun, lettuce, radishes, kohlrabi, fennel, onions, zucchini, and of course the garlic I planted last fall. 

That same weekend, I also scored four "Big Mama" tomato plants (the same variety I planted last year; we literally had to dig through every palate of Burpee plants at Menards to find the very last flat of Big Mamas), as well as a couple each bell and banana peppers to ultimately go in the new, larger garden.  I also ended the weekend with a trunk filled with 20 strawberry and 22 daylily plants (oh, and 34 onion sets, too!).  I have the best mom and brother ever! 

At the same time, we are also working our way towards the third and final phase of reseeding our lawn: the back yard.  The first thing we had to do was to address our tree situation.  We had several trees that needed to be trimmed, as well as a large tree stump that needed to be removed before we invested in the new lawn. 

Sadly, this big old shade tree in the back yard was in pretty bad shape.  Two years ago, two different storms took out two big chunks of the tree, leaving a tree that gets more hollow and more rotten each year.  The tree guy confirmed what we were already pretty sure of: the tree had to go.  

Once it was safe (i.e., all the tree business had been taken care of and there was no longer the possibility that the tree trimmers could wipe out any new plantings), things started to shape up nicely.   

Mike now calls our raspberry patch "the fruit garden," with the addition of the strawberries. 

And the boulevard is now complete with both sides lined with daylilies (we still need to add some mulch):

And now for the past week, we have been enjoying watching everything sprout and take off (finally, we can see that the rain really is a good thing!).

The onion sets wasted no time getting going once they were in the ground.  I planted a dozen each, yellow and red onions, as well as 10 sweet Vidalia onion sets.

I am hoping that my zucchini strategy pays off.  I want to maximize the space I have, so I planted them in between the rows of radishes and lettuce, mesclun, and spinach, figuring that the zucchini would not need the extra space until those early crops are harvested (and second plantings can go in the other garden, if necessary).  We'll see how much I over or under estimated the vigor of the zucchini.  Also, these were the most fun seeds to watch sprout - in one afternoon they went from pushing up chunks of dirt to being wide open little zucchini plants.

I'm excited to see how the "French Breakfast" radishes turn out (they are the long cylinder-like radishes).   There wasn't enough seed in the packet for the entire row, so planted a few leftover round-shaped radishes from last year to finish it off.  Both varieties are up and growing.

I wasn't planning on planting peas initially, but my mother-in-law included a packet in my Easter basket this spring, so I made room for a short row.  Hopefully they'll take my direction and climb up the trellis I so thoughtfully provided for them.

And then there is this little gem:  the first blossom on the strawberry plants.  I know that this first year I am supposed to pinch off all of the blossoms so the plants get well established, but I just don't have the heart to do that yet.  One little strawberry shouldn't hurt, right?

Not too bad for a week's worth of work!  In addition to getting the new garden planted, I'll be updating more details to the Garden section of the blog in the coming days.

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