Plot Planting Done

We used an organic method to plan our garden plot this year. No sketches or diagrams, just pick and plant. The plot is finally taking shape. It is planted, supported and protected. We worked in 90 degree weather today to plant eggplants and zucchini, stake the tomatoes and peppers and cover the eggplant, zucchini and butternut squash plants with row covers.
Here is what we are growing now:
From left to right in the above picture…
1. First row: Nasturtium flowers (will have edible red flowers), Arctic Poppy flowers (seeds were an anniversary present from my sweetie who knew Poppy flowers are my childhood favorite) and Sugar Snap Peas (growing on trellis).
2. Second row: Tomato patch, Pepper patch, and Beets.
3. Third row: Eggplants (I asked for Eggplants and my sweetie got me over 18 plants, including the following varieties, Neon, Regular large, Finger, and Sicilian Globe) all under row covers to protect from the flea beetles; Zucchini, Red Onion and Butternut Squash (under row covers to protect from the Squash bugs) and more Beets.
Before the planting my enthusiastic hubby did a “grow” dance, arms waving overhead with a cute body wiggle. After the planting, muddy, sweaty, tired we slumped in the air conditioned van and wondered if we should continue with the community garden. Anyway, we are glad the planting is done.

Holding On

It has been difficult to get to our community garden plot this spring.  More responsibilities at work, school, and home pull us away.  But we are determined to hold on to our garden plot and our family gardening hobby.

Yesterday, we arrived at our community garden plot in the late afternoon, just before the heavy rains came.  The dark rain clouds moved closer as we rushed to plant beet seeds and broccoli, eggplant and nasturtium seedings.   The wind blew strong, the rain fell fast and the row covers fluttered and flapped.  My son ran for the van, then on his own initiative returned to help me carry supplies back to the van.  I gathered rocks to help my husband secure our row covers over the broccoli and eggplants and anchor our neighbor’s row cover that almost flew away.

sugar snap peas hold on

It didn’t matter that we got wet.  We felt the simplicity in physical work and nature.  My husband and son pounded the hard clods of dirt to aerate the soil for the plants.  I gently unraveled tendrils on the sugar snap peas and led them toward the trellis.   We felt a storm unfold around us.  We worked together with our hands and helped protect our garden neighbor’s plants.   We completed our garden work and picked a bunch of lettuce.  We slowed down.

Our garden plot holds us so we are not blown away by the frenetic life in Howard Co. Maryland.

Our First Snow Peas

Snow peas

We finally have sturdy snow pea seedlings growing under row covers! Only a few seedlings emerged from the first snow pea seeds we planted in early April. Unfortunately, those fragile plants were nibbled down to the dirt by some critters. To improve seedling growth we treated the next batch of snow pea seeds with inoculant before planting and to prevent seedling damage we covered the ground with row covers. We now have thriving snow pea plants with dangling tendrils searching for something to climb. The plants need to grow bigger before the tendrils can wrap around the reinforcing wire trellis we installed two years ago. This is our first year planting snow peas. We learned another gardening lesson through trial and error.

What is inoculant? A commercially prepared source of dormant rhizobia, a naturally occurring soil bacterium. These tiny bacteria live within the bean roots and extract nitrogen from the air (which is 78% nitrogen), thus feeding the plants. Inoculant can be dusted onto moistened bean and pea seed just before planting. It’s a fully natural, simple process which takes only a moment, but will increase crop yields all season long. Inoculant can be purchased at most garden centers.

Turnips and Spinach

We visited our community garden plot at Howard County Conservancy yesterday. We found some treasures in the soft thawed soil.

our winter spinach

one of our many winter turnips
Turnips and spinach are growing under our row covers. Our first experiment of over-wintering our late fall crops worked!  Last fall, I planted lettuce, turnips and spinach seeds a bit late.  We did not have a good fall harvest of these crops.  In November, I covered the growing crops with row covers.   What a thrill to peel back the row covers yesterday to find green turnip tops and purple and white turnip roots, tender dark green spinach leaves and curly bright green lettuce sprouts.  I even pulled weeds out of the spinach bed.  Row covers are good winter blankets for the garden!