March – The First Harvest of Spring

Well, Happy First Day of Spring.  It doesn’t matter that it’s going to snow today.  And it doesn’t matter that it’s going to snow even more tomorrow.  If the calendar says its the first day of spring — then it’s time to get things going in the garden.

In an effort to instill a love of gardening in Arianna — we’ve had a tradition every spring.  We plant jelly beans.  For some reason, this only works in early spring up until about Easter time, after that, the jelly beans just don’t seem to sprout.  We water them and then check on them in the morning.

This year, the garden was muddy, and since I have a perfectly good greenhouse just waiting to sprout seeds, it seemed like the perfect match.  We took a selection of good looking jelly bean “seeds” and a few candy speckled eggs, just for good measure and planted them in the flower pots left behind from my herbs last summer.  And it worked — just like every year!

Happy Spring!

We carefully planted the jelly beans, watered them and waited overnight.
Looks like she’s happy with her “crop” of lolli-pops that grew overnight!
Especially the ones that grew from those speckled eggs!
Happy First Day of Spring!

March – Starting seeds in a snowstorm

Maybe I’m rushing the planting season given that we’re expecting upwards of 16 inches of snow – but it’s not snowing inside my greenhouse and the pepper and tomato seeds need to get started.  I have a laminated chart that I refer to every year and it says to start peppers and tomatoes before March 8th for my growing zone.  So I’m tucked away in my little greenhouse, planting my Italian red peppers, Amish paste tomatoes, Big Boy slicing tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, grape cherry tomatoes and yellow pear tomatoes.  The flurries are just starting and it’s warm-ish inside.  In a few more weeks I’ll start the squash, broccoli and loofah sponges.  The loofahs are this year’s experiment – but it will be fun to watch them grow… if spring ever gets here.  I’m done with this snow!

Starting the peppers and tomatoes because my chart says it’s time even as the flurries are starting.
And now it is accumulating – they say 16 inches are coming.  Good thing my tiny seeds are warm and cozy inside the greenhouse.

July — It’s empty till next year!

Spring and early summer went so fast.  I got a late start on my seeds since the greenhouse didn’t arrive until mid-March.  By the end of June the greenhouse was empty — except for some weeds growing up from the floor.  Seriously!  I have enough weeding to do in my outside garden spaces.

I washed all the pots in a bucket of soapy water and let them dry so they’ll be ready for next spring.  It’s kind of sad seeing it empty.  Maybe I can start some seeds for a fall planting — there’s always spinach or lettuce.  And I wonder how hot-house tomatoes might taste at Thanksgiving!

Weeds! In my greenhouse!
A good scrub to get rid of slugs and creepy, crawly things
All cleaned up and drying in the sunshine — ready for next spring.

April – The Greenhouse!

It’s here!  And it’s adorable!  And it’s full of K-cups.  Yes, those little plastic cups for making coffee.  I’ve been saving them for months, emptying the grounds into my compost pile and saving the little cups that already have a little puncture hole in the bottom for drainage — to plant my seeds.  My greenhouse shelves are lined with K-cups of dirt.  I’ve planted San Marzano tomatoes, Yellow pear-shaped cherry tomatoes, watermelon, pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash, cucumbers and a bunch of other stuff — probably more stuff than my garden can hold.  But, I had K-cups that I had to fill, and seeds I had to use up.

The Greenhouse has a little bottom shelf that’s just the right size for Arianna to start her seeds too.  Usually she plants jelly beans.  She’s had good success with that.  They grow into lollipops overnight!  Nothing like starting a love of gardening at an early age.  Maybe she’ll start planting vegetable seeds soon.

Here it comes up the driveway — never an easy trip.
Getting rocked and rolled into place on our foundation.
A perfect fit, right next to my garden.
Cute little K-cups all lined up — seeds planted and waiting for them to sprout.
My potting bench.
Arianna’s little shelf with her garden tools — just right for planting jelly beans.

March – My “Extended” Garden

I’m extending my garden 8 feet x 8 feet.  It’s not that big of an extension – but it’s a big deal.  This expansion comes with a door, a thermostat, a fan – and glass!

My 8 x 8 greenhouse should arrive next week.  We decided it should go adjacent to the garden.  It’s a relatively flat spot with bright sunlight and close enough to take plants back and forth between the two.  We bought some 4×4 landscape ties so we will have a frame upon which to place the greenhouse when they deliver it.  Chris got busy with the shovel and the level.  The problem is, it isn’t really level at all.  In fact, it’s very NOT level.  It took several attempts and a 2nd trip back to Home Depot to get more 4×4 landscape ties – and now it’s level!

I love my garden and I never can wait until the appropriate time to start planting it.  I’ll confess to having to replant things every year because I jump the gun, heel-in the tomatoes and basil, and come out the next morning to find them DOA.

So, not only am I expanding my garden size… I’m expanding my growing season.  Now I can start those plants early and keep them toasty in the greenhouse.  And just think of the advantages when fall creeps in.  I can probably keep basil growing at least until Thanksgiving!  And maybe some containers of lettuce and spinach too!

It slopes more than we thought.
Squared up and getting tilled.