M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Thursday, April 29, 2010  

Garden Variety

It's the second year in a row for our backyard garden. We're hoping to improve on last year's harvest. Since that haul consisted mainly of a dozen thumb-sized carrots, some green onions that would fit inside the barrel of a Bic pen, a couple dozen pea pods with tiny bumps inside them, a shitload of squash flowers, and some tomatoes that might have gotten as big as a runty plum had they not been killed by a September frost, we have plenty of room for improvement. We are stoked.

We're also expanding the program, although that expansion is primarily temporal rather than spatial. Our main plot is still the size of our study, but this has been the warmest April I can remember, with most days over 60 degrees and very few nights below freezing, so we got a much earlier start on getting the seeds planted and outside than we did last year, when summer came in the second week of July.

We also got an earlier start on acquiring the seeds. In fact, Trash had her mom get her a wide assortment of seeds and plants by mail order for Christmas. The raspberry plants are expected any day, the tomato plants arrived today, and the strawberry plants were delivered early last week. We're not optimistic about that last one, since they've been in the ground for several hours now and show no sign of perking up.

But the seedlings are in great shape. Trash planted the leeks, peas, watermelon, and some others in March. Everything but the leeks was just beginning to sprout (and the leeks had sprouted and been eaten by the cats) when we started moving them outside during the day to take advantage of the warmth and sunshine. And for weeks now, they haven't even been coming into the house. Although Trash has been insisting I move them into the garage on nights when it gets below fifty, which was almost every night for a few weeks. I would argue that it's not much warmer inside the detached, unheated, open-doored garage than it is outside, but she would insist. Sometimes it was difficult to see her point of view when she said it was important for me to head out and relocate them out of the open now. Especially the times when it was already after midnight and I was 89% asleep.

But almost everything survived, thanks to their minimal exposure to starlight, I guess. The pumpkins are already bigger than they ever got last year before their stems were guillotined by the sharp edges of the sawed-off milk carton we'd unwisely planted them in. The carrots are cute, the peas are perky, the cantaloupe is coming up, and although I've never seen cauliflower growing before, the little plants look pretty healthy to me right now, even if they turn out to be oranges or something.

At this time last year, I had just built and installed the frame for our vegetable bed, even though we knew we'd have to wait another whole month before we could safely plant anything in the ground, unless we wanted to rent a front-end loader to bring the whole mess inside every time frost threatened. Now, half of our plants and some new seeds are already in the ground.

This is great news. It means our plants will enjoy a longer growing season. It means they'll be exposed to more sunlight as the days grow longer. And best of all, the fact that half of it is permanently planted means I don't have to go outside tonight and move the ones in pots back into the garage. Gardening is fun!

posted by M. Giant 9:20 PM 0 comments


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