Monday, April 02, 2012

Planting Our Spring Garden

Way back in January we put the finishing touches on our raised garden beds. We built three of them, each one fifteen feet long and four feet wide - so, you know, BIG. This made me nervous at first. We put a lot of time, energy, and money into building our beds, but we aren't exactly experienced gardeners. Starting big and bold (Nathan's idea) instead of small and safe (my preference) made me understandably apprehensive. After a weekend of gardening, however, I am feeling a little more confident and a 100% more excited about our garden. Here's what's been going on in the beds since we built them:

First, we had to make soil. This involved horse manure, mushroom compost, kitchen compost, some sand for proper drainage, honest to goodness dirt, and a whole lot of leaves. Once the soil was looking rich and ready for plant life, our next step was to figure out what, exactly, to plant.

I started by combing through our various gardening books to figure out what was best for a spring garden in this part of the country. Month-by-Month Gardening in the Carolinas was a lifesaver in that regard. I made a list of seasonal plants, decided which ones we would most like to eat, and on Saturday Nathan and I headed out to secure transplants and seeds. 

We got a bunch of transplants at the Master Gardener's sale.

Red bell pepper from the Farm Supply Store.

Since we planted mostly seeds and small things, the photos I took of our garden aren't that great - mostly dirt with a few spots of green. I'll save the glamor shots for when things are actually growing (fingers crossed!). For now, here's a list of the plants we started with: 

Tomatoes (Sun Golden Cherry Tomato, a Russian heirloom called Black Krim, and Pink Beauty. We wanted to plant three different varieties so we can see what we like best. Experimentation!) 
Yellow Crookneck Squash (two plants) 
Rosa Blanca Eggplant (two plants) 
Peppers (Red Bell Pepper, Golden Treasure Yellow Pepper, Jalapeno Pepper, and two King Arthur Green Pepper plants. Again, experimentation!) 
Basil Genovese (three plants. I love basil and you need a lot for a good pesto.) 
Cucumbers (we got two transplants for free because they were broken. Nathan put some rooting hormone on them and stuck them in the ground, so we'll see what happens.) 

Rainbow Chard
Arugula (We're not sure how the arugula will do. According to the seed packet, we planted at the last possible second for a spring crop, and we've also had a really warm winter. Who knows what will happen. Or, as I like to say: experimentation!)

Caged tomatoes

Basil. AKA, future pesto.

It was a gorgeous weekend and we basically spent the whole thing in the garden, which was lovely. In addition to planting, we also finished the rain barrels and built a rabbit fence. I will post about both those things later this week, as this post is already long enough. And to reward you for patiently reading all about our first garden, here is a cute photo of the dogs. They enjoy this extra long stick because there is plenty of space for dual chewing and epic games of tug.

Our supervisors.

Hope you had a great weekend as well, full of actual and/or metaphoric growth. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go water the plants.