Last year I planted a little vegetable garden in a square-ish plot next to our back patio. I didn’t really know what I was doing at that time (not that I know that much more now, but I’d like to think that I have learned a little bit from last year’s garden..) but I still managed to harvest a healthy crop of basil, jalapeño peppers, mint, rosemary, and heirloom tomatoes. This year I am expanding the garden slightly and I hope to add thyme, parsley, bell peppers, and maybe even container strawberries to the mix.
As I’ve mentioned before, we have had gorgeous weather in PA the last few weeks. Yesterday was Saint Patrick’s Day and it was 70 degrees outside!! This is unheard of and the mild temperatures are really making me want to get moving on my garden. I know that it’s too early to plan my “warm weather” veggies like tomato and basil, so I checked online to see what kind of plants could withstand a potential early-Spring frost. It turns out there are all sorts of veggies that love to be planted at this time of year including lettuce, spinach, arugula, peas, and beans. (There’s even a tradition of planting peas on St. Patty’s Day, perfect!)
We headed over to our local Home Depot and I found packets of beans and spinach seeds that boasted a mere 41-50 days to maturity. I figure that this timing should work out well so that I can harvest the spinach and pull out the bean plants just in time to plant my normal veggies at the end of April.
Back at our house, I removed the layer of shredded leaves that has been covering my garden since last fall and I turned/loosened up the soil with a shovel and a hoe. I mixed in about half a 40 lb. bag of “garden vegetable soil” and leveled the bed with my hands. I carefully planted my bean seeds (it is “bean seeds” or just ‘”beans” ? The “seeds” are just beans, after all) in the back half of the garden and then I planted my spinach seeds in four little row in the front half. I left the section of the garden next to our new trellises empty because I hope to plant moonflower and morning glory (two sun-loving, flowering vines) there very soon.
After my seeds were safely in the ground, I inserted my newly painted bright green fencing around the garden. This fence should hopefully keep Bailey out of my garden — she usually assumes that any freshly loosened soil has been created just for her digging pleasure. I learned this the hard way last year when she completely dug up my newly planted tomato and basil plants about an hour after I finished planting them! Although Bailey can easily step over my little green picket fence, it will hopefully make it less convenient for her to dig there. (After nearly 24 hours the fence is still standing and Bailey hasn’t touched the dirt yet!!)
I’m very excited to officially start gardening this year. I really had fun with my garden last summer (the constant supply of fresh basil was awesome!) and Matt and I worked hard in the Fall planting bulbs and composting fruits and veggies in a “spin bin.” (The compost isn’t really yet but it should be fully “cooked” in time for my late April veggie planting!) Below are a few photos of our plants as of today — can’t wait to see what they look like in the coming weeks!!