in the garden

These sunny April days have me craving the garden.  All I want to do is get my hands dirty and dig in the soil. We’ve planted seventeen varieties of heirloom vegetable, herb and annual flower seeds with about six more to go.  We’ve also established two new garden beds.  I am calling one the pesto garden as it will become a patch of basil.  There is never enough basil.

This year we’re sowing Hudson Valley Seed Co. organic heirloom seeds which we are now selling at The West End Garage. Not only are the seeds heirloom varieties but the packages are little pieces of art that are totally frame worthy.  Each one is designed by a different artist which you can read about inside the envelope.  I love beautiful packaging.

in the garden - april-6358

Some seeds were started indoors in the beginning of the month like our squash, tomatoes and zucchini.

Others were direct sown such as the salad mix, beets, carrots and peas.

To free up some space in the vegetable bed, we have created a kitchen container garden on the deck with the direct sow vegetables.  The peas have just emerged and will soon be taking off up the lattice with a tub full of salad below.  It’s nothing fancy but this little setup will be where our June salads are harvested.

I can’t wait to grocery shop from our yard all summer long!  This one lonely kale made it through the cold winter.  And the oregano is back with a vengeance.  As is mint and lemon balm.

Once we get all of the vegetable seeds direct sown or transplanted we’ll shift our focus to the adjacent flower bed which is already offering a show.  First with flowering bulbs and now with perennials which seem to grow an inch everyday.  I plan to focus on companion planting between the flower and vegetable beds to repel some of the more common pests.  Last year we had an issue with cabbage worms.  We’ll be armed with scented geraniums to the thwart the worms.

This period of time, the spring days in the garden, is full of so much promise.  I’m dreaming of June salads, kale smoothies and big bunches of zinnias.  July zucchini bread and August caprese salad.  Roasted eggplant and fresh tomato sauce.  Yum!

to plant a garden...

What is growing in your garden?

 

seed saving

seed saving-4678We had a prolific crop of bush beans this year.  It was probably the best yield in the garden, second to lettuce, with no pest issues.  We planted three rounds of bush beans in purple, green & yellow.  The purple is my favorite simply because they turn green when you cook them.  Right before your eyes!  We’ve been eating them fresh for a couple of months and I blanched and froze some for winter.

As we continue to harvest more, I’ve grouped the pods together in bunches to dry out.  Once the bean pods are all shriveled up, they’re ready for seed saving.  The pods open up pretty easily along the seam with a fingernail or scissors. And boom, there’s next year’s seeds so we can do it all over again.  A frugal little DIY…

seed saving

I have repeated these steps with snap peas as well so we have a little stash of peas to plant next spring.  This is a fun garden task to engage kids in.  The seeds are big so they’re hard to lose although I’ve had a few pop out of the pod and fly across the room!

These seeds are, in fact, the actual bean.  As in, the dry bean you buy from the store so we could always soak them and eat them this winter.  It is just another way to preserve the bean harvest.  I think we’ll plant a bigger crop next year so we can produce a decent amount of dry beans.  At this point, we have a few dozen – enough to plant but certainly not enough for a bean soup!

seed saving jar

Speaking of next year, The Old Farmer’s Almanac for 2015 is now available at The West End Garage.  I took a sneak peek at the weather forecasts!  Let’s just say that we may have been spoiled by our mild summer weather this year.

The Old Farmer's Almanac 2015 now available at The West End Garage