Garden Update : The First of 2014

Winter stuck around so long and I’m a bit behind schedule this year. Inside, I’m still nurturing a lot of little green babies. Most are for this summer’s dye adventures, including opal basil, jet black hollyhock and bronze fennel. While some are just for sentimentality and the challenge of saving from seed, like morning glory (seen above) and Rose of Sharon. I’m also attempting to re-grow celery and ginger (seen above) again this year.

Outside not much is going on besides growth coming up of its own accord, just reaching for the sun, excited about the warmth and the new season. The garlic I planted and the parsley I over-wintered are emerging from under their blanket of leaves. The rhubarb bed is changing everyday, growing a bit taller, more colorful. The pot of bunching onions I threw in the barn last fall (and never cleaned out) decided to start growing again.

However, my brother and I planted four elderberry bushes. It’ll take a couple of years before they start producing fruit. (Good things come to those who wait, right?) In the meantime, I can still forage at my Aunt’s house for the flowers–which are a favorite of ours.

Since my Dad died, lot of people have asked if I am still doing the garden, or more specifically, asked if I am still doing the whole garden. Our garden is rather large and probably intimidating to most people. But honestly, I hadn’t really thought about not planting the whole garden. My Dad always did the tilling and he and I tackled the big jobs together, like putting up tomato cages, planting and sowing. But I did most of the weeding and considered myself the “manual labor,” happy to do the grunt work if it meant we could grow some of our own food. He had even said that it was becoming more and more like mygarden. I’m not saying the weeds never got away from me or that I’ve never felt overwhelmed, but I’m curious to see just how much I can handle by myself. And this might be the year to do it. Besides, we already have the seeds and once the soil gets tilled up, we’ll have the space. I won’t go crazy with plants–instead of twenty four red cabbage plants, I’ll probably just get six. And I’m not really doing it alone. My Mom is great help and a lot of friends and family said they’d come over and work in exchange for some bounty. I’ve even been flirting with the idea of a small scaleCSA in the future, just for close family and friends who don’t have the space or time for gardening.

One thing I hope to do differently is companion planting. In past years, the garden layout was done in what you might call chronological order. We started at one end of the garden and planted things as they were ready to plant. This year, I plan to think things through more and put beneficial vegetables, herbs and flowers near each other. And pointers or favorite resources would be greatly appreciated. I borrowed Carrots Love Tomatoes from our local library and found this page and this page helpful.