Last fall, we were a bit ambivalent about whether or not we'd garden again this year. We got a lot of enjoyment out of watching our plants grow, but we were also disappointed by our overall yield, and as we shared in the wrap-up of last season, even our small garden is a whole lot of work.
But then winter came, and the seed magazines started showing up. We're immune to the charms of most catalogs, but seed catalogs, with their (sometimes faux) country charm, reel us in every time.
With a bit of reluctance, we're heading back into the garden. But we're making some changes this year that we think will help simplify our gardening lives.
Our garden consists of two 4x4 raised beds in our backyard, along with five window containers that are mostly filled with perennial herbs. Thanks to an unusually warm March, the herbs are already back in full force. We have new rosemary, a shock of mint, budding sage, the beginnings of thyme and oregano, and what has become our favorite plant to have around, chives. If you're not already growing chives, we strongly suggest you get a small pot and grow some. They're so great to have around to snip into dishes. We love them in eggs and salad dressings, and they're a lovely garnish on just about any dish.
But the real deal of our garden happens in the raised beds. And this year, we've made some changes with those. First, we moved them. The biggest problem with our backyard garden is that it doesn't get enough sun. By moving the position of the raised beds, we believe we can get a bit more sun to the plants (though still not as much as we'd like). In a matter of an hour or so, using a shovel and some sweat, we moved the raised beds and the soil.
We've augmented that soil with compost from our backyard tumbler, and also some new organic gardening soil. We're Amazon Prime addicts (if you're not familiar, you pay an annual fee in order to get free two day shipping on most products) and we decided to try ordering soil since we don't have a car. Want to know how to make an enemy of your deliveryman? Order soil. We came home one day after work to find three huge (and heavy) boxes waiting for us.
After relocating and beefing up our soil a bit, we planted. Well, actually, we planted some and we ordered the rest. This is another change we're making -- we're not growing any plants from seed that require being first started indoors. Last year, growing our seedlings indoors was a bit of a problem, mostly because we don't have a good place to keep them. So we're growing in two tracks:
- From seed: We ordered carrots, beets, parsley, peas (though we swore we'd never grow them again) and lettuce.
- From seedlings: we ordered a few tomato and basil plants (when you order seedlings, they're delivered when it's time to plant them outdoors). This year's plants and seeds are coming from Burpee.
We planted our seeds on March 20. Five days later, we spotted our first beet greens poking through the soil. Three days after that, peas were visible. And then the next day, the peas were full-on out of the ground, lettuce was springing up, too, and we can now see some carrots as well.
So we're off and running, and we're banishing our reluctance about gardening.
We've decided that we'll let our garden be what it is. Maybe it will be a raging success. Then again, maybe not.
Time will tell.
Are you planting anythign this spring? Tell us about it in the comments!