Tuesday, April 18, 2017

My spring garden 2017


I haven't posted anything in over two years thanks to the arrival of this sweet boy.  I could either spend my newly limited time and energy actually gardening, or writing about gardening, and I chose to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.  After he learned to walk, spending time outside is his favorite activity.  He loves the chickens, and they, well, tolerate him I guess.

He is fascinated by their eyes and wants to poke at their eyes in the same way he enjoys poking at the eyes of people.
 He does sample the dirt when he goes outside.  He will eventually decide that dirt is inedible, and will gain many immune-system-strengthening microbes in the process.  At least that's what I tell myself, because it's impossible to keep him from eating the dirt.  As long as we keep him out of the fire ants, the electric fence, and don't let him eat chicken poo, I consider our outside time a success.
I've also had to have several serious conversations with my older girls, when I tell them to supervise him, about Why We Can't Leave the Baby Outside Alone Even Though He Doesn't Mind Being Left Alone.  I think they understand!
 Here is an overview of the entire garden.  We haven't had a frost here in about three weeks, and spring is fully committed to remaining.

 Below is one of my asparagus patches, with crimson clover blooming red and blackberries blooming white along the fence.


 Baby bean plants that have survived trampling by the toddler have four sets of leaves.
 Several rows of garlic are happy in their mulch.  I was self-sufficient in garlic for many years, but last year my garlic rotted and I had to purchase new seed garlic.  To the right, above the clover, are leeks.

I'm doing an experiment with cover crops this year.  This is the site of my tomato patch for the summer.  My plan is for the crimson clover and rye grass to die in the heat of summer and to provide a mulch for the tomatoes.  In past years I have spread hay as mulch, which is a time-consuming process, especially in the scale on which I grow tomatoes.  I let the chickens into the clover last week and they have helped trample it.

 To the right are English peas, and to the left rear are Fava beans.  Cilantro flowers in front.
 More beautiful asparagus below the peas.
 Below is a closeup of the Fava beans.  I planted the seeds last fall.
 These are thornless blackberry plants.  I was afraid the buds were killed by the frost, but they are blooming and even forming baby blackberries.  Perhaps the harvest will be as abundant as it was the summer I was pregnant with Luke and I canned 30 pints, or maybe even more, of blackberry jam.
Here is another experiment.  I planted Austrian winter peas in this bed.  Between the rows of peas, I cleared a furrow and sowed Crowder pea and lima bean seeds.  I plan for the beans and peas to grow and for the Austrian winter peas to die back as mulch in the heat of summer.