Tuesday, May 6, 2008

the webmaster's garden

Tonight after work I’m going to start planting my vegetable garden. This will be my fourth season gardening at my own home. For most of my life I have gardened in some capacity. Sometimes I’ve only had houseplants, but as a kid I often helped my parents weed and harvest their huge vegetable garden. I’ve planted bulbs, trees, and perennials with my mom, and one of my earliest growing experiences was planting a tiny vegetable garden (using leftover seeds) at the end of the dirt driveway at age 6, with my little sister. Needless to say those seeds sprouted and that’s about it.

When I learned about vegetables (besides peas) that you can plant early in the season, I was very excited. We always put our whole garden in around Memorial Day, but I’m very happy to know that I can get a jump on things and enjoy early season veggies. We’ve already had homegrown salad here at Johnny’s; the farm folks brought some beautiful, delicious greens, radishes, and pea shoots to our last team lunch. I don’t own a farm though, and spend my days in front of a computer, so my garden is a little behind. Thank goodness I planted garlic last fall or there wouldn't be anything green in there!

My goal for this evening is to plant onion sets and shallots (which I bought here at Johnny’s), and to direct seed one or more of the following: peas, radishes, beets, spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and pak choi. It’s tough to drive home after work and then work some more, but it is a beautiful day and I do love my garden. Maybe it won’t rain this coming weekend and I can get some more done, but I’m not going to bank on that. I’d better get it done while the weather’s nice. I’d work in the rain but I don’t want to compact my soil, nor do I enjoy getting muddy.

The weather is still chilly at night for tender plants, but perennials are well on their way out of the ground. In my neck of the woods, my tulips are just starting to bloom, and the first daffodils are going by already. My oregano, sage, chives, and thyme came back and I used some of them in a nice meatloaf on Sunday. The rhubarb is on its way up, and I can’t wait for that first pan of rhubarb crisp. I may even have enough to put up some rhubarb jam or sauce.

I am so glad that spring has come to central Maine. We had so much snow this winter, and with the price of heating oil, nice weather couldn’t arrive soon enough. Now I have to bide my time for planting tomatoes and other warm weather garden plants, but if I can stay motivated to do some work tonight I’ll have a great start.

Daria Walton, Webmaster

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