Yesterday was a glorious 62 degrees in my fair city. Where was I? Why outside of course! We are beginning to get the garden season under way. Gardening is much like a train in that it starts off really slow, gains momentum and then barrels down the tracks. We are at the take off, slow as it is. Right we are uncovering the garden from its winter nap. The black plastic, what stayed where it was supposed to, did its job and underneath we have weed free dirt that tills easily and, once tilled, feels all velvety soft. Some of the raised beds weren't covered over the winter, so yesterday part of the day was spent pulling what weeds grew there. It wasn't too hard to do. The advantage of a raised bed is that it isn't walked on so the dirt never packs down. The weeds just pulled out roots and all.
The verdict is in on what herbs survived the winter. My Oregano, Mint, Lemon Balm, Lemon Thyme, German Thyme, and Chives all survived. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to see the Chives had made it. I thought they were an annual, but apparently they are a perennial. They snuggled down in the pine straw and seemed quite happy when I found them yesterday. The only thing I lost was the Rosemary. She is my problem child. I have re-planted it from seeds. We will see how it does. Rosemary is what they call a tender perennial in that it will come back each year, but only if conditions are favorable. Some of the temps we received this year were rather unfavorable for my little Rosemary. I have planted Basil, Parsley, Cilantro, and Sage in seed pots, along with the Rosemary. If they take, the only ones that are perennial are the Sage and Rosemary. The Parsley is a Biennial in that it can become a perennial if conditions are good. I had Parsley come back one year when the winter was normal for us, but the past two years have had times of extreme cold and snow for this area so I lost my Parsley.
Other seeds I have started are Tomatoes (Beef Steak and Roma), Bell Peppers, Green onions, Yellow Squash, Zucchini Squash, Bush Beans(Green Beans), and Strawberries. The green onions are cool in that when they are ready to harvest, you can just cut them off at ground level and they will re grow! People familiar with our area might raise an eyebrow at the thought that I started Bean seeds this early, but there is a method to my madness. Each year I have to contend with Mexican Bean Beatles. Those little buggers (pardon the pun) can eat a plant down in no time. Spraying helps some, but not to much. However, they usually take a while to find my house. I'm starting about 20 plants as an experiment to see if starting the plants early, planting them bigger, but earlier in the season, will help with my bean harvest over all. Once I plant them into the ground around the middle of April, my plan is to cover each with a Mason Jar to protect them a little while longer (both from surprise cold, or Beatles). I will still direct sow more plants, but these are a trial run. If this works, you better believe I will be starting all of them early. Plants that so far have emerged are Basil, Beef Steak Tomatoes, Onions, and the bush beans. Outside I have Spinach and Beets that have broken through. They were direct sowed a few weeks ago.
So there you have it, my plans. It is a slow start of getting ready, starting seeds, pruning trees, fertilizing bushes. Then there will be a lull because everything is just growing. Then the craziness starts of picking, and canning. But it is exciting to be starting!