Sunday, May 13, 2018

gardening 2018

My plan for the 2018 gardens: start all the vegetables and flowers from seed. Choose with an eye to avoiding cross-pollination, so next year I can plant more saved seeds.

A week ago, I began to fill this bought-on-sale tinkertoy greenhouse with little peat pots and planters full of organic potting mix. And seeds.

Already, a few seeds have germinated!

The last of the vegetable seeds on my list - the pole beans - have finally been ordered. I had hoped to find them from a different source, but the type I want is apparently only available from one supplier, as they were nowhere (else) to be found. So let's hope the poor showing last year was due to the weather, and not the seed.

The only direct planting so far is flowers, from seed saved last year. In just the past few days, goutweed has sprung up and is already engulfing the violets that grow between established clumps of hyssop and other summer-booming perennials in the beds by the goat barns:

I've begun pulling out goutweed in patches - carefully, to protect the violets - and raking in bee balm seeds saved from plants that bloomed deep red last year:

Fingers crossed the bee balm seeds will sprout and the new plants will manage to grow above the next wave of goutweed.

It's still a little bit early to direct-seed vegetables, and the fence needs to be reinstalled on one side of the terrace garden. But my Occasional Helper and I have been working hard on something I've wanted for a long time: a permanent Very Raised Bed with straight sides. And while it is not finished yet, I am going to share a few WIP photographs because it's starting to look like what it's meant to be. And of course I already have plans for what I'll do differently if there's ever a chance to build another.

First day of building, May 3; Supervisor and assistant at hand.
Because of that fence situation mentioned above.

Toward the end of the first day of work: 

(At this point I said to the Occasional Helper, "You know, if I could ever plan a raised bed like a normal person, we'd be done now."
He said, "Yes, but where would be the fun in that?"
I like the way he thinks.)

Second day of work, May 10.
Just to be clear: we are not building stone walls. We are fencing in stone edges and filling the center before the stones can fall down.

End of second day.
Experimenting with mix of stones and poles along one side.
You know how I feel about experimenting.
Please note Moxie graciously providing scale:

Providing scale, plus...
There's Something In There Maybe!

I'm hoping we'll get Very Raised Bed III finished this week, but it may take two more sessions. The work is hard and only one person is doing about 90% of it.

Having the funny little greenhouse is a treat, because instead of fretting about not having the new bed or the terrace garden ready to plant, or when the black flies are too horrible to allow working in the perennial beds, I can just trot out to the greenhouse and plant up a few more peat pots. It's very satisfying.


  1. Wow, you have some excellent snoopervisors there! Looks like you've been very productive. I notice your Sow True seeds. I really like their catalog for all the information about planting to avoid cross pollination. Very helpful!

    1. All outdoor activity is a team process around here :)
      For vegetable seed, I really like Sow True Seed for the effort they make to preserve and disseminate (literally!) heritage varieties. Most of my "boughten" seed has come from them in the past few years. I also like High Mowing, which is VT-based and all organic.

  2. Doesn't matter if it looks like tinker toys as long as it works! The very raised bed looks like a lot of work. Hope it works out!

  3. Goutweed has to be one of the most invasive plants going - and so hard to get rid of. Have to love the four-legged supervisor checking to be sure the new build is solid enough to nap on when it's a lovely sunny day.

  4. I like your little greenhouse. I had planned to start seeds indoors this year but somehow February blended into May/June ... and it never got done. I guess I'm buying plants this year.
    I'm curious - is there a reason why you keep the violets? We have some growing wild in our yard and I figured they were just enticing the rabbits to graze.

    1. Hi Carmen - I love violets, and there are many different varieties of wild violet here. Someday I may try to identify them, but meanwhile, I take much delight in seeing them :) When I have to dig up violets to make a garden row, I try to transplant some in other places - this Spring I've transplanted more than 20 violets. A gift that keeps on giving! :)


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