Spring 2008 Update

Has already been a month since my return to the states? It feels like hardly any time has passed, but I have kept busy, so time has not been completely wasted. I decided I would take the time to catalog all the goings-on in the last month.

The Vegetable Garden and Backyard

When we got back from Europe, I found all my seeds had finished sprouting and were taking over the basement. There was still a light frost that week, so planting them wasn't feasible. I transplanted as much as I could into every pot I owned, but it wasn't enough. I didn't even have enough window ledges to set them on. It was crazy.

After week or so, it warmed up, and I planted carrot seeds, which are doing quite well and will hopefully produce some carrots by the end of the summer. I planned ahead this year, in a very detailed fashion, and purchased a few pounds of sand to break up the soil some. They'll be sharing the space with the onions, which are supposedly good companions and require roughly the same conditions. I also planted some spinach and a mix of lettuce in another plot.

At this point, nearly all the spaces have been filled in, all seeds planted, including the beans, squash, and nasturtium. It's nice to have the satisfaction of most everything accounted for. There are just a plants that need to bulk up before planting.

The other major project for the backyard will be taking place this weekend. Just yesterday I got five 'Carolin' fall-bearing raspberry plants, which are currently soaking out back. We just need posts which with to build the trellis. I'm really excited about this. One of my goals with my garden has been to provide as much as my own food as possible. While we're quite a ways from self-sufficient urban homesteading, finding fruit to work with our space & light requirements is an important step.

It'll be a while until the garden is producing anything of note, though I have been able to add some fresh greens to salads and picked plenty of herbs for dinner and tea.

The South Garden

We never got around to completing our cold frame over the winter. Though we have glass windows to serve as the topper, there's still the matter of figuring out the design and dimensions, how much and what kind of wood we'll need, etc.

But I have been able to plant some chives, and I just planted another creeping thyme that I grew from seed. My hyssop is thriving, at least 3 feet wide and 2 feet tall. Only two of the 4-5 hollyhock I planted have returned, and while they're growing pretty tall, there an infestation of boll weevils I'll have to deal with soon. I just hope they bloom.

The Front Garden

Last year I did some major cleanup on the strip of irises, and this year it really paid off! Most of the irises are in bloom or about to. The peony suffered from last year's last frost, but as this year is turning out to be fairly "normal" (for the Midwest), I have buds and am waiting expectantly. Also, the rose is actually showing a few buds, which means my intensive pruning last year did some good. This strip of plants was fairly neglected when we bought the house, so it's niceto know that just a teensy bit of attention did some good.

As for the other plot in the front that I've been working on the last year and a half now, all the tulips I planted last fall came up and looked gorgeous. All but the 'Negrita' now have faded, but they put on a lovely show of violet and lavender. The tulips planted in '06, however, fared less well, no doubt due to the squirrels that infest our block. Only one 'Cum Laude' showed up, along with three each of the 'Blueberry Ripple' and 'Queen of Night.'

I'm still brainstorming and adding plants where needed. I rethought the scheme beside the front steps and am planning on setting a viburnum or hydrangea in that spot and placing the foxgloves more upfront. The only difficulty is that it's a tight spot, only about 3 feet wide and 6 feet tall to the window.

I wish I had some photos to go along with my text, but I broke my new camera in Berlin and am waiting on a repair, and a friend swiped the batteries to my old digital camera. So words will have to suffice for now.