Saturday, June 01, 2013

Sunburn and Seedlings

It's June 1, which means summer is right around the corner. I spent all afternoon out in the yard, enjoying a rare Saturday off and raking two years' worth of leaves off the hillside. My back is a beautiful red despite working in what I thought was deep shade under three mature maple trees,  but the rest of me is still a farmer's-tanned patchwork of mostly white skin. Gonna make it a goal this year to have a garden-glove tan line.

This evening I also stumbled across a new blog to follow: Outlaw Garden (link leads to "10 Rules for Growing Vegetables in the Front Yard", which everybody should read regardless of where you're gardening!)

Speaking of reading, I'm working on being mindful of how I spend my time - which is a challenge, because a lot of it is eaten up by garden-related activity lately. I've been spending every Monday morning at the Ballfield Farm with a handful of other women, composting and watering and caring for our new seedlings, which seem to multiply every time I turn my back. Harvesting greens is in full swing, and salads and pesto seem to be the recipes of the day for everything from pea greens to arugula. Work is crazy since I'm in the garden center cashier booth full time now and the weather has finally broken. And my own front-yard garden is pulling together nicely.

The radishes are growing, although the lettuce mixes I planted failed miserably again this year. I think I need a better watering can; mine drips and splashes and knocks those tiny lightweight seeds around horribly. My tomatoes got planted last week (or was it two weeks ago now?) and they've doubled in size already, except the runt that I 'rescued' to put in my topsy-turvy tomato planter. That one's a bit behind. I'm hoping it will make good on the planter's promise of bushels overflowing with tomatoes, though. The runt is a mystery variety from a mixed seed packet and I can't wait to see what kind of fruit I get!

The hubbard squash, Charentais melon and cucumber went in alongside the tomatoes. This week I planted two kinds of pole beans. Carrots were seeded two or three weeks ago but only just now came up... I kinda forgot about them and the watercress, and they didn't get adequate watering during our last dry/cold spell. The cress didn't make it. Oops. Guess I'll try again in the fall!

This week I'm also giving away the last of my extra seedlings. I grew way too many tomatoes and I never have the heart to cull a plant that I've worked so hard to grow, so the last leggy tomatoes and beetle-nibbled broccoli seedlings avoided the compost pile. It added a bit of stress trying to coordinate pick-ups and divvy up crops but the upside was meeting some more of the neighbors and getting to share the bounty with people in the area - there's nothing like handing somebody a beautiful little tomato seedling (ok, so some of mine were nibbled by flea beetles, but still!) to make you feel like an accomplished gardener.

I feel like the garden is finally moving toward a recognizable goalpost this year. It's more calming and less brick-like (the clay is almost workable in the side beds now!) and I've gotten some things done (like edging the beds with reclaimed brick) that I've been meaning to do for a long time.  What goals are you achieving with your garden this year?

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