State of the Garden Address

State of the Garden Address: 5/31/19

What a dreary, rainy week it’s been! Luckily, the sun poked out from behind the clouds long enough this morning for me to snap a few pictures and give you all a State of the Garden Address (the first since there was snow on the ground!)

As a refresher, here were my goals for this summer’s growing season. I’ve already knocked a few off my list!

  1. Balance gardening with the rest of life
  2. Pick mostly easy, low-maintenance seeds and seedlings
  3. Buy seeds and seedlings
  4. Put in two more raised beds
  5. Plant my seed garlic and potatoes
  6. Put in a picket fence and plant flowers along it
  7. Get some raspberry canes established.
  8. Finally, plant my wedding flowers.
potted thyme and mint
As you will notice, both the thyme and mint have been sentenced to a life in pot prison. This is because I don’t particularly feel like them turning into rampant weeds next year. I suggest the same if you have either of these two and don’t want to constantly prune it back!

Two weeks ago, my local county extension office had our Master Gardener Plant Sale. Is there a more glorious day of the gardening year? Hundreds of plants were for sale, all cheap, in great conditions, and from local gardens. And 100% of the proceeds go to support the non-profit work the office does! The thyme above, along with most of the other things I planted in the last week or two, came from that sale. (The chocolate mint came from a local guy.)

I’ve achieved #2, pick mostly easy, low-maintenance seeds and seedlings, thanks to that word “mostly” I threw in there. Through the plant sale, farmer’s market, and FedCo Seeds, I’m all set! All told, I’m growing the following vegetables/edibles this year:

  • onions
  • thyme
  • chocolate mint
  • orange bell peppers (4x)
  • green pepper
  • Tomatoes, Amish paste variety
  • Cherry tomatoes, sungold variety
  • garlic
  • Potatoes, kennebec (or maybe Katahdin) variety
  • Carrots, scarlet Nantes variety
  • Shell beans, Taylor Dwarf variety
  • Raspberries, everbearing
  • Snow peas
  • chives

In addition, I’ve got the following flowers to incorporate into my different flowerbeds:

  • peony (no idea what kind. It’ll be a surprise!)
  • Bearded Iris (violet)
  • Solomon’s seal
  • Hydrangea
  • Sedum
the allium family- chives, onions, and garlic
The Allium section of one of my vegetable plots. From left to right: big chive plant just starting to flower, a row and a half of onions (I don’t know what variety, as I accidentally lost the little popsicle stick with that info. Can I blame Mom brain?), and four rows of late-planted garlic.
Also, do I need to weed my edges or what?

In addition to the plants I introduced to my yard, I’ve had two noteworthy volunteers:

wild strawberries

Finding those toothed leaves in sets of three with the little white flowers made me jump for joy, originally. Now, I’m not sure if I’ve got the coveted WILD strawberry, which is the most delicious berry in the world, or if I have his WOODLAND strawberry cousin, which is not delicious at all, even if its not poisonous. Time will tell!

Lily of the Valley, or Our Lady's Tears

Anyone recognize these lovely ladies? Lily of the Valley, also known as Our Lady’s Tears, jumped the fence over the winter, and now both my neighbor and I have some growing in our yards! This completes half of goal #8, plant my wedding flowers. Hopefully, I’ll have a blog post for you next week about getting some lilacs started, and then I can cross that one off, too.

The last thing I’d like to mention is goal #7, get some raspberry canes established. Though I wouldn’t say they’re established yet, I do have raspberries planted! I happened upon two buckets of everbearing raspberry shoots at the plant sale and immediately jumped on them. I separated the mass of growth into individual shoots, lined them up in a trench filled with finished compost, and said a prayer.

Hopefully, these primocanes (first year growth) will establish themselves this summer, maybe give us a few berries this fall, and be ready for a hearty harvest come next summer!

everbearing strawberries
I’ve definitely got to mulch the area around these guys. I don’t want the weeds overtaking them!

So that’s what I’m up to recently. Phew! Please, I’d love to hear what kinds of plants, fruits, and veggies you all are growing. Let me know in the little box below!

Gardening 101 · State of the Garden Address · Winter Prep

Garden Resolutions 2019

Hello blog readers!

No, I’m sorry to say, it’s still not planting season yet. At least, not here in Maine. (Is it planting season where you live yet? If so, I am so jealous.) But that doesn’t mean I can’t be thinking ahead!

I’m dubbing today the inaugural “State of the Garden” address. One of my big goals for starting this blog is to not only share what I’ve learned, but also help me observe and learn more from my own garden. After all, I’ve got experience and that Master Gardener certification, but I’m by no means an actual botanist or a “Better Homes and Garden” model. I figured something like this was the best way to keep me accountable.

Of course, when my garden currently looks like this…


…the first State of the Garden address will have to just be my list of goals for the year.

So here we go! My gardening hopes and dreams for 2019:

Balance gardening with the rest of life
If you don’t know me in real life, you might not be aware that I’m currently nine months pregnant with my first child. All signs point to life dramatically changing once a little one enters the world, so I’m not delusional enough to think I’ll be able to keep up with a gardening load like I’ve had in previous years, and certainly not the more adventurous ideas I had in mind when my husband and I bought our new house about a year ago (which, to be fair, were ridiculous. Who has time to plant an entire food forest in a single season?)

Pick mostly easy, low-maintenance seeds and seedlings
I just posted last week about how to pick which plants work best in your garden. This year, the most important thing for me to keep in mind when deciding is how much time I’ll have to care for them with a newborn on my hands. So I’m thinking beans, onions, peas, lettuce, and carrots for this year, since those can mostly take care of themselves.

Buy seeds and seedlings!
The first step to having a garden is getting seeds! I first shop from my stash of seeds that I’ve preserved from last year (many of which are gifts or were otherwise free), but if I need to buy new ones, I like to order from Johnny’s or FedCo. I’ll also patronize the Saturday farmer’s market downtown or the Master Gardener’s plant sale fundraiser for seedlings and transplant sets. I like knowing the seeds I buy come locally, from good stock, and at least from somewhat ethical business practices. I can’t say the same for the seeds they sell on those end caps at Walmart.

I won’t be starting these peppers or tomatoes from seed this year, and they’re from 2017. But the packets are so pretty!

Put in two more raised beds
As I think I’ve mentioned, a friend generously gave me a dump truck of fully finished compost as a house warming present to help get my gardening kick-started last year. I was able to put one bed in with the help of my husband last summer, but awful morning sickness kept me from doing the rest. I’d love to put in at least two more raised beds using the same sheet mulching technique. (I’ll be covering that in a future blog post. It’s easily the best way to set up a new bed without messing with the current soil in your garden!)

Plant my seed garlic and potatoes
Last season, I made sure to harvest all my garlic and keep the biggest bulbs to plant this coming season. Of course, in the midst of all the holy crap we’re having a baby hoopla, I forgot that garlic needs to be planted in the FALL. That means that when I get my garlic in as early as possible this spring (which you can do) that it unfortunately won’t grow as nice and big as if I’d planted it in October. I can still get some nice green shoots, scapes, and hopefully bulbs, though. I’ll keep you updated!

Check out these monster bulbs!

I also kept a few potatoes from last year’s harvest that I intend to use for seed this year. At this point, I’m about 75% sure they’re the Katahdin variety as opposed to the Kennebec, but one more growing season would help me determine officially. I’ve been keeping and storing seed from this stock for the past five years, and I just never wrote down what seed I originally bought. Good thing I won’t make that mistake again (she says, almost entirely sure that even with the help of a blog, she’ll forget something crucial this year, too).

Put in a picket fence and plant flowers along it
I’ve definitely gone a bit nuts dreaming about this idea. There’s not much curb appeal at our house, and I’ve got big plans for a picket fence along the front sidewalk with a small flower garden bordering that. I can just see the clematis climbing up an archway, peonies blooming along the side, and little bursts of yarrow filling out the mix. I plan on visiting my gardening guru grandmother soon and picking her brain about specific species and varieties, and I’ll be sure to bring her wisdom here to share!

Get some raspberry canes established.
I’ve tried growing raspberries once before on a rental property with a former roommate, but they really didn’t turn out that well. I’ve learned from my mistakes though, and plan to give them plenty of room to spread out, good, well-drained soil full of nutrients, and some sort of trellis system to keep them from falling over. Hopefully we’ll have fresh-picked berries by next summer!

Finally, plant my wedding flowers.
Last May, I walked down the aisle holding a bouquet of lilacs and lily of the valley, my two favorite flowers which just happened to be blooming in my parent’s neighborhood the week I got married.

Since I have access to transplants/cuttings of both, I’m going to try propagating some and resettling them somewhere on my new property so I can always be reminded of that day.

After having just done that exercise, I highly recommend writing out your own list of goals for your garden this year. Seriously, grab a piece of paper right now and just scribble down some thoughts. Not only will it help keep you organized, but MAN! It has it gotten me way more enthusiastic than I was before.

Let me know what wild and crazy gardening hopes you have for this year! We can all get excited for spring together. 🙂