Saturday, May 31, 2008
It's been a late, cool spring -- but now, let the gardening begin.
At right is my patio garden, much like the one I had last year. This year I am planting only varieties that were described as suitable for container gardening. I have four patio-type tomatoes, a small pepper plant, a container-suitable cucumber (though actually I had good luck with my standard cucumbers last year), and some lettuce and chard. I made sure to fill the pots about as full as I could get them with a combination of potting soil and mixed compost and manure. Last year some of my pots were only about 3/4 full, which led to quicker drying-out and probably to higher than ideal soil temperatures, as my patio gets good sun all afternoon.
Below is my other garden, which I haven't planted for several years, at my ex-husband's house. He doesn't garden and is happy for me to use the space, so this year Dave and I are going to do that. The back of the 30-foot bed is planted with perennials -- day lilies, phlox, black-eyed susans, joe-pye weed, spiderwort, rhubarb and more. Last weekend Dave borrowed a tiller and we (well, mostly he) really got the front portion of the bed in good shape. I've never used a tiller before; all my digging has been done with the garden fork. That's good exercise, but back-breaking when the ground is hard and overgrown with grass, so I usually don't get the whole area dug. This year will be different -- it's now nice and loose all the way along.
I've got several tomatoes, pole beans, cucumbers, lettuce, zinnias and down at the far end planted seeds for a couple of giant Cinderella pumpkins. We are contemplating tilling up some of the nearby lawn as well so we have room for squash. (Ex is always happy to have less grass to mow.) The neighbors at the back are in the process of moving their garden to a sunnier location; you can see where they have been cutting up sod. As trees mature, shade patterns change and a space that once worked well for a vegetable garden no longer gets enough sun.