Saturday, February 23, 2013

Garden Beginnings

It's almost that time of year. I'm restraining myself this year when it comes to starting my veggies for the garden, since I massively jumped the gun last year and learned my lesson. But still! There are crocuses and daffodils blooming in this town, so surely it's nearly time for planting (never mind that it's 45 degrees and raining sideways).

Monday was a holiday, so I had an extra day of weekend to dream about garden things. On Sunday night I sprawled out on the floor with my dinner, box of seeds, and some handy engineering paper left over from my biostats class, mapping out what/where I will plant things this spring.

I am forcing myself to hold off till early March before starting my tomatoes and peppers, but on Monday morning I planted a flat of greens that I can harvest straight from the tray, just to start something growing! I rigged up the lights under the table, and got the timer set up to keep the light on 16 hours a day, and put my tray down there in its artificial sun to start growing.

The blanket is to insulate the trays from the floor, which gets quite cold. 

And, a few days later....
Sprouts! I planted a mix of greens: arugula, mizuna, bok choy, and miners lettuce.

On Monday afternoon the weather was cold and clear, and I biked up to the community garden to check in on my plot and harvest a big bag of chard. The poor plot has been pretty neglected this winter. Since the beginning of November, I haven't done anything but turn up every few weeks to cut a bunch of chard. 

A bit weedy.

Turns out planting leeks from starts, even at the beginning of September, doesn't mean they'll grow rapidly through the winter! They've grown, but not much. Oh well, I'll just let them keep going and once the weather warms up they should get a growth spurt. 

The parsnips have been growing decently well, but are a little overrun with weeds. There's no telling what's going on beneath the surface though- last summer the garden had a healthy gopher population so they could very well be nibbling away on the roots...

The cover crops seem to have been doing well- this vetch is looking healthy.

I had plenty of time, so I weeded the chard and leeks and parsnips, and it felt SO good to get my hands in dirt again. This time of anticipation is so much fun- plotting and planning and deciding what to plant. Everything is so full of potential. I am excited to see what my plot looks like this summer. I'm also going to do a few pots of herbs and flowers outside my apartment, to see how things do there, and ideally to have some fresh herbs available to cook with.

 Looking a little tidier after weeding. The chard hasn't gotten huge, but has been growing steadily all winter. I'll just leave it growing for as long as it will produce. I can't get enough of it, and it helps me keep up with the dietary recommendation for lots of dark green vegetables (multicolored stems notwithstanding...)

Because of the limited space I decided not to plant any squash this year. It's easy to come by delicious, cheap, locally grown summer and winter squash in Portland, and since it takes up so much space it's not really worth it for me to grow it. I'm only going to do a few potato plants for the same reason. I LOVE new potatoes, so I'll plant a few early in March to satisfy that particular craving, but after that I can get them at the farmer's market. In the winter, I get potatoes from the Grocery Outlet store. They carry bags of Oregon-grown organic potatoes for very good prices. Potatoes are on the dirty dozen so I only get organic ones, and it breaks the bank to buy them from trendy, upmarket places when it's not farmer's market season. 

Fellow gardeners- what are you planning to grow this year?

1 comment:

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Hi Liz ~ It looks like you've got a good start. How large is your plot? I wish you a great garden and a wonderful harvest.

Have a great week ~ FlowerLady