Garden journal

What you can’t see in this photo: seeds for scallions, peas, tomatoes, and basil, all just below the surface of the dirt. The tomato and basil seeds are under this mini-greenhouse-thingy. The green plant that is visible is a raspberry bush. It will get bigger. I hope. 

Today I planted seeds for spinach; scallions; chives; the first batch of tomatoes, and basil. The tomatoes are an experiment. I’m not one for transplanting, so I’m starting the seeds under this row shelter. It’s a sort of lightweight portable greenhouse, designed to keep the air and soil within it warmer than they would be otherwise – and thus, I hope, encourage the tomatoes to grow. I don’t know if it will work. I’m hopeful but not confident.

This brings my total number of garden-beds-planted out to two – the two smallest, out of six total, but still. It feels like progress. I’d already planted peas, and they’ve started to sprout; and two years ago I put in strawberries, which being perennials, remain right where they are and just keep on producing. I pulled back the bindweed from the raspberries, and they are starting to send out runners from main plant & generally expand, so I’m optimistic about that as well.

Dirt is wonderful.

I am not, I would say, an experienced gardener. The six beds I’m planting out now will be my first full-scale vegetable garden. Previously, I had the strawberries, and I grew peas last year, and for several years I’ve bought tomato plants at the nursery and put them in, with mixed success (sometime I get the tomatoes, sometimes the squirrels do) – and I have thyme and oregano and rosemary, all of which are pretty much plant ‘em and forget ‘em types of herbs. But this year …

This year is different.

When work-from-home / shelter-in-place / buy-groceries-only-every-two-weeks began, the first thing I did was buy a frying pan. The second thing I did was think I am only growing things to eat. Then I bought seeds. It wasn’t a well thought out plan. It felt more like instinct, a do this now urge that, while imperative, didn’t come with a lot of background knowledge or detailed instructions. I didn’t know how many of any kind of plant I would want, or even how many would fit in the space I have. I didn’t know how long things would take to produce, or what to do about fertilizer, or how far apart to plant things.

I figured it was better to have too many seeds than too few, so I bought more seeds than I needed. I focused on things I like to eat, that are best eaten uncooked (spinach, kale, tomatoes, herbs to brighten up canned goods or casseroles), that I just love and want lots of access to (corn, snap peas, more tomatoes, melon, zucchini), that seem like really handy things to eat that I might not want to get from a store (green beans, scallions, dill, chili peppers).

Then I started clearing weeds.

Then I made a spreadsheet.

I don’t have a lot of experience, but I am very very good at online research of the how-to variety, and I am very very good at structuring information. My spreadsheet lists the seeds I’m planting down one side, and across the top has months, broken down into half-months. Based on looking up when to plant, how long things take to grow and mature, and when to harvest, I now have a diagram showing what the seed producers + the collective wisdom of the internet think I should plant when, and how soon I can expect to see it sprout, and how soon I can expect to eat it.

My plan is to take notes as I go, and see what works. I do want to eat all this goodness this year; but I also want to learn, and I’m enough of a realist to suspect that some things I’ve planted will work out better than others.

So. Today I planted out the first two beds.

By the end of the week….

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