Sunday, June 12, 2011

Garden 2011: Exercising My Options

It's been said before, but to me a garden is an exercise in hope. Especially this year, with the cool temperatures and wet weather making this the latest I've ever planted tomatoes. Though this year I didn't need the Walls o' Water to protect them from the premature planting urge that usually overtakes my better judgement in early May.

Holding off also gave me a little more time to plan, if that term can be applied to the whirlpool of vegetable-themed desire that swirled in my head, resulting in a scouting trip to the nursery to look at what was available and grab my few required starts and soil amendments, with a return trip or two to fill in.

Trip one was for tomatoes (Sungold, Cherokee Purple, a black cherry and Green Zebra), peppers (ancho and Jimmy Nardello), lacinato kale and collards, which went in our parking strip bed. Trip two was for seeds (arugula, French radish) and herb starts (French tarragon, savory). I also had the brilliant idea to grow vegetables up the chain link fence behind our raised beds both for space considerations and also to screen our outdoor dining area on the other side. For that task I chose Kentucky Wonder green beans and a green cucumber. Again, hope is the operative word here.

Then trip three was for carrot seeds to fill in some space left in the second raised bed, a mix of red Nantes and a packet labeled Carnival Blend guaranteed to grow "red, purple, white and yellow" carrots, and which claims "Kids love them!" in cheery italics. I also picked up a few squash plants to grow down the slope in front of the beds, a trick I tried last year but one that yielded miserable results for some reason I've never figured out.

I'll be posting occasional photos of the progress of this yearly experiment in optimism. Oh, and for those keeping track, Dave's 20-year raised beds are in hale and hearty shape in their fifth season. Only fifteen to go!

Download the plans for Dave's raised beds.


Be Grim said...

Our garden this year is the most "together" it's been in quite awhile. I think that's due to the slow you said, plenty of time to work on planning, starting extra stuff, etc. Now I'm just hoping we get enough of a summer to ripen all the hot weather veggies (I still haven't put in the cukes, yet!)

Kathleen Bauer said...

You and me both! I think being a Northwest gardener requires a certain amount of denial, forgetfulness and, as I said in the post, an inordinate quantity of optimism. Especially in light of the weather last few seasons!

Anonymous said...

That's a beautiful Corgi!

Kathleen Bauer said...

Thanks! We think he's pretty special.