I made it to Volume Two of Edible Forest Gardens and am enjoying reading about Pattern Languages. I really like the way Jacke and Toensmeier blend philosophy/psychology and practical garden design: patterns that live… I already made some observations on our property that I wouldn’t have hadn’t I read their advice. I feel ready now to do a proper site analysis and a basic design of permaculture zones and sections. Our landscaping last weekend has also given me confidence that we can make incisive changes, with bigger elements than I would have dared to use before, like removing and planting trees and bushes, and laying paths. My vision for the garden is finally taking on a more definite shape.
I’m glad that we’re taking the design of the larger garden slowly and deliberately: most of it will happen over the next couple of years. It seems like we’re rushing (into) the more conventional vegetable garden now, but that would be ignoring the winter months of study and planning that went into it. But it sure feels like rushing now, in that great rush of Spring, and notwithstanding all the study I often feel like I don’t know what I’m doing – and I feel fine with that! It’s part of the great change that is also happening to me.
As more of my time gets spent outdoors I feel less and less drawn to the basement, but that is still where most of the vegetating goes on. I’m seeing some very fine asparagus shooting up fast as rockets in the hotbox, and the elecampane and the stevia are almost ready to leave that area. I sowed a new variety of bell peppers (Vidi Crimson from Renee’s Garden) and am waiting for its germination. I had no luck with the Peacework sweet pepper I got from Fedco: only 4 out of entire packet (more or less 26 seeds) germinated.
Some days ago I took advantage of Amie’s playdate to do some major potting up. Most seedlings needed it: they were bursting out of their cells or shared containers. The difference potting up makes was made clear to me by the two catnips that germinated in my first batch:
The first one was potted up two weeks ago, the second only yesterday. What a difference! That big catnip is now touching the lights at their hihest setting. Almost time to go out! The basils, anise hyssop (smelling so good!), borage, parsley, thyme and sweet marjoram also got their own pots.
Giving more room to the roots of course also meant sacrificing more space in the seedling area. I’ll only be able to sow new seeds once I’ve moved the faster-maturing veggies (spinach and perhaps some onions) into the cold frame and the slow growing celery and leeks into the one raised bed that is ready. The potatoes have already made some nice sprouts and will go into the next available beds and bins. Soon it will be time to pot up the tomatoes and the eggplants as well.
To be started inside:
- more spinach
- more lettuce: different variety this time
- bee balm (aka Bergamot)
- more burnet (give it another try?)
- the chamomiles
- more garlic chives (or straight outside?)
- more chard (or straight outside?)
- comfrey (or stragiht outside?)
- cumin (in hotbox)
- fenugreek (in hotbox)
- more parsley (in hotbox)
- more peppers (in hotbox)
- sorrel (or straight outside?)
- brussels sprouts
- Welsh onion (if I can find seed)
To be planted outside as soon as weather and status of beds allows:
- potatoes (“seed”)
- onions (seedlings and sets) some in cold frame, others under plastic cover
- spinach (seedlings) in cold frame
- leek (seedlings) under plastic cover
- celery (seedlings) under plastic cover
- chard (seedlings) under plastic cover
- kale (seedlings) under plastic cover
- parsley (seedlings) under plastic cover
- chives (seedlings and seed) under plastic cover – in perennial bed
- mustard greens (seed)
- radishes (seed) under plastic cover
- peas (seed)
- beets (seed)
- carrots (seed)
Can’t wait for that last frost date! Not long now. If only it would stop raining and I could go out there and dig some more. In the meantime I couldn’t of course stop myself from ordering… more seeds!
- Alfalfa (Lucerne) and more Blue Lupine, or Bluebonnet: nitrogen fixers for terraces
- My Castle Red Russell: another Lupine, this one red
- Bountiful Gardens Mild Kingdom Mustard Greens Mix
- Windsor Fava Bean
- Italiko Rosso Chicory for winter crop
- Claytonia for winter crop
- Verte de Cambrai for winter crop
- Early Mizuna for winter crop
- Tatsoi for winter crop
- Purple Beauty Sweet Pepper
- Wild Bergamot, aka Bee Balm
- Borage: love that stuff!
- St Johnswort: “Was even used in the Middle Ages for sword wounds!” (Fedco Seed Catalog)… who can resist!
- Carpet of Snow Alyssum
- Alaska Nasturtium Mix
- Panorama Red Shades Bee Balm
- Blue Flax
- Queen of the Meadow, Eupatorium purpureum, also known as Joe Pye Weed or Gravel Root: flower
- Fedco Beneficials Mix
- and a big bag (4 lbs) of Buckwheat as a ground cover / compost crop for the lower part of our garden: that part will be in soil enhancer until next Spring.