Clearing A Garden For Peas

Yesterday as I was catching up on a few blogs, I happened to read a post from Mary’s Veggie Garden called It’s Planting Time.  Mary shared that she had already planted some peas, radishes, and spinach.  I was immediately filled with dread.  Was I already behind in my planting?

Mary lives in New York, where the weather is similar if not more vicious than Michigan and I hadn’t even begun to turn over my gardens.  I might use the excuse that we just had snow again last week, but the picture Mary had up showed that there was still snow on the ground when she planted!

Not sure how peas work, as I just planted a trial batch last summer in a patio pot, I asked Mary for some guidance. She was very gracious in telling me that I could most definitely plant my peas without worrying about hard frosts or snow.  Hurray!  As soon as I read that, I headed out to the garden.

By the end of the harvest season last year, I was too busy with other things to clear out any of the gardens, so they are just as I left them albeit a bit less green.

DSCF8100

It took me about two hours to clear and turn the garden and then the fun began.

Before I could plant, I wanted to dig a trench for a make-shift trellis for the peas.  A good friend of mine saw this in someone’s trash and immediately thought of me.  When she called and told me about it I knew right away where it was going. Thanks Suzanne!

DSCF8112

After I got the new trellis up, I measured out the rows, put stakes at either end and began running the twine so I could keep my rows straight.

DSCF8113

I got one row of snow peas in and then the rain hit.  I guess I should be grateful I got as far as I did because rain was predicted for today as well as the next three days.

I have been blogging for just over a year and have met some really great people and learned so much from their posts I can’t begin to thank all of them for all their hard work.  Today I have to say I am Simply Grateful for Mary’s post and the information she shared in her response to my questions.  Thanks Mary, hopefully the rest of my peas will get planted by the weekend and then I’ll start thinking about radishes.

Gardening 2015 – Opening Day

It’s official — I have started my gardening for 2015.  Of course living in Michigan means I’ve started some seeds indoors, as the ground is still snow ridden and cold, but this is a definite sign that spring is close.

Last year I bought all of my starter plants except for my beets, carrots, scallions, and peas.  This year I am hoping to start most of the plants inside and then plant seeds directly in the ground for everything else.  If my seedlings don’t sprout I can always buy plants, but I really wanted to give this a shot.

My first step in this process was to figure out which plants to start and when.  I went through all the seed packets in my bin and sorted them by how long they took to germinate.  Then I read up on each one to find out the suggested lead time, compiled a spreadsheet with this information — wow, can you tell that I was an office worker for many years — anyway, after I had everything written out and organized, I pulled out the seeds I was going to start with, assembled all my materials, and went to work.

DSCF7641

As a kid I remember starting marigold seeds in cut down milk cartons my father gave me.  Things have certainly come a long way and I have only learned about a few of the options for starting seedlings.  That’s good though, because if I knew any more I might be dangerous or seriously overwhelmed and confused, and at this point I’m borderline confused as it is.

So, I chose two separate types of planting pots for my seedlings and am going to hope for the best.  I’m hoping that by trying different types of planting techniques, I will increase my chances of success, or if I were a pessimist, increase my possible ways to fail–but let’s have a little faith here.

The first method I tried was to use these little jiffy pots.

DSCF7642

Pretty cool really.

DSCF7643

You just add water and watch them expand.

DSCF7644

Then open them up a bit, put in the seeds and top off with some dirt.

DSCF7645

Quick and easy.

The second method was to fill some paper-type pots with a garden mix and plant the seeds.

DSCF7647

Again, easy and quick.

The plants I started were two types of tomatoes, yellow peppers from a package, and two types of peppers from seeds I collected from peppers last year.   I also started some marigolds — just for the fun of it.  I figured if I could start marigold seedlings when I was kid, I should certainly be able to do it again as an adult.  If they don’t grow, then maybe it’s not me, but rather the method.  Think of them as my placebo — is that the right analogy?

DSCF7649

Anyway, in the next couple of weeks I should see some seedlings, keep your fingers crossed.  Until then, I’ll keep my eye on the planting schedule.  My next planting will take place in two weeks – squash and pickles.  Can’t wait.

I love getting my hands back in the dirt.  The smell, the feel — it all just gives me a sense of calm that can’t be compared to cleaning house, scrubbing floors, washing clothes, or making dinner, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

I’m Not Beet Yet!

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  W. C. Fields

This evening I decided to once again take a close look at my beets and see if there were any I could salvage.  It has been nearly the 60 days since I planted, so something should be harvestable.  To my surprise, there were several beets worth picking that were not small and scrawny.  In fact, they were what I consider the perfect size.

DSCF2869

The seeds I planted said the beets would be about 3″.  I only wanted them around 2″ – 2 1/2″ because after that they tend to be woody.  Not a whole lot, but definitely enough to cook tomorrow and possibly have some fresh pickled beets with dinner.

DSCF2870

There is such a difference between these home-grown beets and those I’ve bought in the produce department at our local grocery store.  The smell was mouth-watering.  The moment I pulled them from the ground, the tangy scent began to surround me.  When I took them in the house and washed them — well, the whole kitchen smelled like beets.  It was wonderful.

Once again though, I am getting ambitious.  In reading on beets I was reminded that from planting to harvest it is about 59 days.  This gives me more than enough to plant another crop.  So you know what I did tonight?  You got it — I planted 34 seeds in small seed pots along with a few more bean plants that also have around a 59 day till harvest time frame.  This time I hope to remedy my mistakes.

How great it is to have even a few beets from my garden to enjoy.  I also have a special plan for all the “slivers” of beets that didn’t mature to their full potential, more on that when I pull out all the beet plants to make room for the new seedlings once they sprout.  I’m not giving up, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

The Perfect Planter

There are some things that touch you a certain way and for some unknown reason bring happiness when you really need it.

A few days ago a very special friend brought me a new planter that she picked up for me. The moment I opened it, I knew immediately where it was going and what I wanted to plant in it. I could hardly wait to fill it with compost, buy some plants, and place it on the patio to enjoy.

Day 1: Assembly

DSCF1079

Day 2: Filling with compost

DSCF1103

Day 3: Plant

DSCF2868

Bell approves!

DSCF2866 DSCF2867

Today was the perfect day to finish this project. I needed something that would bring a ray of sunshine to my day, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.