lettuce garden

Last weekend we had some awesomely warm weather (85! in April! in Michigan!) and I transplanted the lettuce seedlings into one of the raised beds.

lettuce in the raised bed

It’s so exciting! My first indoor-started seedlings are out in the garden. Hooray!

lettuce in the raised bed

And here they are a week later. It is visibly clear that they’ve been growing already, especially the Red Velvet Lettuce (there are also Iceberg Lettuce and Rocky Top Lettuce Mix seedlings here).

lettuces in raised bed

You can see on the end here that there’s one Bloomsdale Long-Standing Spinach seedling as well. It looked big enough to go out, so I thought I’d try it. So far so good.

The raised beds are looking ready for more stuff to be planted in them. If only it would be a combination of decently warm and decently not-windy, I could get out there and do more planting. (We’re paying for that summer-like day.)

IMG_0018

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germination nation

More things are sprouting, and the existing sprouts are growing like gangbusters. Woot!

seeds starting

More of the Iceberg Lettuce is coming up:

Iceberg Lettuce

Likewise the Red Velvet Lettuce:

Red Velvet Lettuce

And a Marigold:

Marigold germinating

I’m especially pleased with the Marigold (I fervently hope that’s actually what this tiny thing is) because they were the first ever seeds that I saved, last fall. The marigolds were purchased on clearance at a big box store (six pack for 20 cents!), and I was not sure that the seeds would germinate.

This is some Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach:

Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach

But wait! This also purports to be spinach:

Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach

Looking around online, I’m thinking the former one is the impostor.

Despite that, I’m feeling pretty good about this whole project so far.

seeds germinating

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We have germination!

Huzzah, motherfuckers! Some of my very first seeds are germinating RIGHT ON SCHEDULE. I am elated that this whole seed starting thing is actually working. YAY!

Here we have Rocky Top Lettuce mix:

Rocky Top Lettuce

I have a few of these going, but will spare you the other photos as they look pretty much exactly the same.  You can check ’em out on Flickr if you wish.

And here is some Red Velvet Lettuce:

Red Velvet Lettuce

I’m choosing to not worry that it’s green right now instead of red. Whatever it is, I’ll take it.

This proud little soldier is Iceberg Lettuce:

Iceberg Lettuce

And this fella (who apparently migrated from his nicely centered planting location) is Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach:

Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach

I sowed some more veg seeds tonight: Buttercup Squash, Oxheart Tomato, Zucchini ‘Cocozelle’, Calabrese Broccoli, Mule Team Tomato, Chadwick Cherry Tomato, Brandywine Tomato, and Anaheim Pepper (see Folia for more on all those). Fingers crossed that my beginner’s luck continues.

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Veg bed plans for 2011

Okay! As promised, here are my plans for the veg beds this year. I saw a post the other day that recommended a (new?) site called Olioboard for putting together garden beds. I tried it and it works pretty well. It was easy to use and worked like I expected it would – and it’s free!

This is the first raised bed (the one that lives on the left side of the back garden):

Raised Bed - left - plan 2011From back to front, left to right, we have:

True Gold Sweet Corn (all the way across)

Emerald Giant Sweet Pepper x2   Anaheim Hot PepperPurple Beauty Sweet Pepper x2

Rocky Top Lettuce Mix .      Iceberg Lettuce .     Bloomsdale Spinach .    Calabrese Broccoli

 

I’m hoping that I haven’t squished too much into the bed – I have definitely done that before. I think I’m okay on this one, though. The bed is approximately 8’x4′ (I think), and I think I’ve allowed for enough room. Not entirely sure I’ve done that on this next one, which lives on the right side of the back garden:

Raised Bed - right - plan 2011Here we have, from back to front, left to right:

Tom Thumb Popcorn (across half)                     Strawberry Popcorn (across the other half)

Early Russian Cucumber .          Chadwick Cherry Tomato .        Marketmore 76 Cucumber

.                                   Mule Team Tomato .                Brandywine Tomato

Atomic Red Carrot (across half)                                  Muscade Carrot (across the other half)

 

I think this will be not too crowded, as long as I keep the tomato and cucumber vines in check. I also have the long veg bed along the fence. I’m switching up the spots where I’ve grown some of the same stuff in past years, so no part of the soil gets drained of something that a particular plant really likes. Here’s the long bed along the fence:

long fence veg bed - plan 2011The left column, which will be on the fence side of this bed, has, from top to bottom:

Golden Sweet Snow Peas

Contender Bush Beans

Blue Lake Bush Beans

Fin de Bagnol Beans

 

The right side column has, from top to bottom:

Black Beauty Zucchini

Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin

Sugar Baby Watermelon

Early Prolific Straightneck Squash

Charentais Melon

Oxheart Tomato

Blacktail Mountain Watermelon

Buttercup Squash

Zucchini Cocozelle

 

I just threw these into this plan, no reason for the order, because they all get the same relative amount of sun and nothing will be shading them, and I’m not sure if there’s any benefit to growing them in a particular order. Hints and tips appreciated, if anyone has any.

So that’s the plan! Roughly, anyway. I’ll also be planting some pretty red lettuce and cabbage in the front garden, hopefully, although last year I tried that and they never came to much. Here’s hoping they’ll turn out better this year. I’m going to make an updated map of the front garden using this software – keep an eye out for that here soon.

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let’s go swimming, let’s go swimming

That’s what these two eensy-beensy bugs were doing this afternoon in one of the Ivory Peach Bellflower blooms in the front garden:

Ivory Peach Bellflower

They looked like miniature ladybugs – maybe just a very tiny species? We have had several thunderstorms today, and this was between the first and second. These Bellflower plants are really looking great! I had no idea they’d turn out to be quite so tall, but I really dig the look:

Ivory Peach Bellflower

Ivory Peach Bellflower

I’ve also got yet another pair of plants that I know I planted, but can’t remember what they are:

Unidentified plant

And a close-up:

Unidentified plant

It looks vaguely herb-esque, but I’m not sure.

Back in the veg garden, the Golden Sweet Snow Peas are blossoming:

Golden Sweet Snow Peas

Golden Sweet Snow Peas

Golden Sweet Snow Peas

I know I’ve had the lilac/purple blossoms before, but I don’t remember them being such a bright pink. I guess I got a slightly different variety this time? Regardless, they’re stunning.

I’ve also got Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli:

Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli

And some Iceberg Lettuce:

Iceberg Lettuce

And Bloomsdale Long-standing Spinach:

Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach

And here you can see Willow hanging out by the Rocky Top Lettuce Mix:

21/52: Willow in the veg garden

Rocky Top Lettuce Mix

Susan and her hub were visiting on their way out of MI last night so we made dinner (!). Mostly K grilled stuff but we also made a delicious salad from some of this lettuce, some fresh mozzarella from the Canton Farmers Market, and a delicious homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette S’s hub whipped up.

Rocky Top Lettuce Mix salad

Rocky Top Lettuce Mix salad

(These photos are obviously pre-dressing and accoutrements, but they’re pretty.)

More pics on Flickr.

Bonus points to those who recognize the song quoted in the title.

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rainy day-ny

It rained almost all day today and while I was mostly aware of that through my office window, when I got home I noticed that things are just freaking gorgeous in the back veg garden! I threw on my gardening boots and took a quick trip through the main back veg garden.

primary veg garden

The wintercreeper is slowly growing up the back fence – I can’t wait until the fence is hidden behind plant-green instead of icky old green paint. It was all I could do not to just yank this iceberg lettuce out of the ground and eat it right on the spot.

iceberg lettuce

One of the beans I planted is flowering already! They haven’t grown very high and I’m wondering if they should be flowering at this height. They were seeds leftover from last year and I’m not sure if they were still 100%.

bean blossom

The sugar snap peas are also blossoming.

sugar snap pea

As are the golden sweet snow peas, which are also already making pea pods!

golden sweet snow pea

I can’t wait till the peas grow more and I can eat some of these off the vine. So, so delicious. The hyssop is starting to flower, too, and will hopefully be attracting pollinators like crazy pretty soon. I love how the purple flowers set off the slight silver-y-ness of the foliage.

hyssop

More photos on Flickr, of course.

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sprouty

We’ve had quite a bit of rain lately, but interspersed with some nice, warm sun. Perfect weather for the garden! Things are sprouting up all over. Well, not really, but they’re sprouting.

Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli

Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli

Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg Lettuce

The tulips out front have also been benefiting from the good weather.

black tulips

Finally, we’ve had a few people out to give us estimates on tilling the front yard. I still see value in doing that, but I’ve been reading up on a few websites that recommend not tilling – just leaving the mulch in place and digging holes to plant things and letting the mulch keep out the weeds until the perennials fill in. I took a peek and the grass is totally composted/smothered/gone underneath the mulch! I was sort of afraid that there would be a bunch of matted grass under there, but hooray, there’s totally not! Which means that tilling may be much less important than I previously anticipated. It would definitely be nice to save that money for other purposes. Most of the plants I’ve ordered for the front yard haven’t arrived yet, but my Seed Savers order for the front yard came today.

Seed Savers stuff for the front yard

I can’t wait to start planting, but I will, because I want to be able to really see the whole big picture when I’m placing things.

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