Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Garden is In!

Of course, when moving into a new home the first thing that NEEDS to be done is to put in the garden... well...maybe not need per say, but it definitely is more fun than packing and cleaning houses!  Today was my day to put in my spring garden in the nice pre-made beds.

Two of the beds were put to sleep for the winter with compost and covered, the other three needed some love in the form of weeding and tilling.  While I am far from finished planting (since I still have three beds that I can fill), today was very productive and I am no longer behind schedule.

"Behind schedule? In March? How can that happen"

Here in the high desert, spring is the very short time between February freezes (mid teens at night, 40's in day) and May sweltering (60's at night, 90's in day). It is windy, moody, and in general a wonderful time of year for being outside without a long sleeved shirt, but not quite ready for shorts--except for that whole wind and moodiness I mentioned. For example: In the past two days it drizzled, then snowed, then just went to 40mph winds--all over the lunch hour. Today it was in the low 70's, sunshine, just enough breeze to be comfortable--in short it was beautiful.  Welcome to spring in Central New Mexico.

Now that you know what spring really means here, you can probably guess that most "spring" plants don't have long to live before being blown away and dried out by the wind, or getting too hot and melting in the sunshine... unless they freeze to death...  I tend to stick with organically grown seeds when I can get them, and I attempt (though am rarely successful) at finding heirloom or non-hybrid varieties of plants. This is the middle of nowhere, and shipping can be painful for a small packet of seeds.

The garden so far has my transplanted perennials: rhubarb and artichoke, along with a chard plant that refuses to die. To the right of the photo are a bunch of snow peas (the trellis is just visible), some radishes, and the artichoke.  This little bed is only about 2 feet by six feet, but is great for these babies.
The next bed is much bigger, about 10 feet by 4 feet.
This bed was all ready to go and only needed a little tilling to get it ready for planting. It now has garlic (planted at the other house last November), spinach, lettuce, onions, scallions, beets, and radishes. I was given the onions, and leafy greens by a friend who bought too many. I babied them along till I could plant them outside. Here is a closer look at the greener side of the beds (before putting in a soaker hose)

Those babies look pretty sad now, but I think most of them will perk up

I planted most of the seeds pretty close to each other since I am not too worried about pests or having to walk between rows.  I also installed a soaker hose in the large bed so that I do not have to water from above...and can be lazy.  

I do have two more large beds to plant... something in. Carrots, peas maybe, who knows what else. I may leave them alone and just have them ready to plant the summer vines later on in the season.  In addition to those two, there is a 4 foot diameter stock pond (now filled with soil) that will be the potato and marigold place. Why marigolds? I hear that they keep away some of the pests that like to eat my taters!  I even have a bag of organic potatoes that are desperately trying to sprout under my countertop, so I figured that I could put them to good use. That will have to wait for another day, as it was plenty of work to get the garden mostly up and running.
 The two beds that still needs some loving

The best part of this garden is it is an excuse to play in the dirt outside. I remember helping (or hindering) my Great Grandfather in his huge garden long ago, now I am putting some of his knowledge to work for my own garden. (Memories of him in his garden always hit me whenever I am in a shady garden with trellises--all good memories. Tasty too!)  Maybe if he and green thumb is watching he can keep an eye on me and my garden--probably shaking his head and saying "no no, you're doin' it wrong"... but a funny thought anyway.

Are you planning on gardening this year? What are you planning on planting--or are you somewhere that you have already planted?

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