Almost all the seeds that I planted on April 18 are now sprouted and up! I was starting to get worried about the peas, because I couldn’t see anything yet as of Saturday and that was day 14 since planting them (seed packet said germination 7-14 days). But Sunday night I looked again and two of them are definitely up. Hopefully the rest will show up shortly. The radishes and lettuce are both showing too. I don’t expect to see any parsnips for another week at least.
The new seeds that I started inside two weeks ago really took off:
The cucumbers (large, in back, in peat pots) really took off. It’s a little bit early, but since the forecast is quite mild for this whole week, we decided to chance it and Adam planted the cukes today during the kids’ nap:
This is our “cucumber cage” located on the south, fence side of the garden. I used this last year too and it worked well; I simply trained the little vines to grow up the cage and then along the rabbit fence, and harvested cucumbers on a regular basis. We didn’t get enough to make pickles, but I’d love to learn that someday.
Adam put in the rest of the herbs that we started, too, in various places in our front-yard flower bed that were still somewhat open. He also cleared off a tiny, random little patch of grass right next to the house. I’ve always thought an herb garden would be nice here; it’s “part-shade” so we did a little research and are going to try parsley and chives (from seed) there. The chives are perennials, so that’s a bonus.
Having a little herb garden right next to the house is something I’ve been wanting to do since reading Gaia’s Garden this winter. I don’t quite have enough sunlight and space to do a full-fledged permaculture “food forest” in my yard, but some of the ideas I got from that book really stuck. Such as: growing your frequently-used foods — such as herbs — as close to your house as possible. Hemenway said something about being able to collect herbs for your morning omelet without getting dew on your slippers. That nice mental image really stuck with me, and I think it’s a great way to help get outside of the mentality that the garden is this place which you must hide away in the back yard and walk a great distance to get to.
The fact is, if something is out of the way it is easier to forget about it and put off chores like weeding and watering. If you are walking past your oregano several times every day, it’s no big deal to occasionally bend down and pull a weed here and there, and that way you don’t get overwhelmed.
This is how I’m trying (TRYING) to look at my yard/garden. But on the other hand I do have some voracious bunnies that live in a Watership Down-sized warren under my deck in the backyard. So how much of this giant herb garden that I’m envisioning is actually going to last? I guess I’ll find out what the bunnies like, anyway.
My main vegetable garden is protected by rabbit-proof fence, so my most prized vegetables (my parsnips, duh) are most definitely in there. So far this spring I’ve been successful at keeping the rabbits away from my tulips by employing a couple methods:
1) Spraying them, when they first came up with a mixture of (mostly) water with a little bit of biodegradable dish soap and a couple good tablespoons of cayenne powder mixed in. Only problem is you have to re-apply after every rain… I’ve actually only gotten around to doing this one time this year.
2) Adam cuts his own hair, so since early January I made him save his cuttings in an old plastic yogurt container (gross huh?). I’ve spread the hair around the tulips several times and it seems to be working. There’s been a little chewing on the tulips around the edge of the flower bed, but nothing near the total decimation I’ve seen in the past.