Sunday, March 18, 2012

March (Gardening) Madness

As you may recall from our last post, we said our farm has been growing in more than one way. And while it's hard to top the excitement of seeing plants sprouting up where you've sown a few tiny seeds, recent developments come pretty darn close. We've been working like crazy the past few weekends to take advantage of the mild weather and get most of our garden beds prepped for the upcoming season. But to truly appreciate the magnitude of where we are, we had to take a look back at where we came from.

Our first garden bed, built and placed last October. The former owner's playset is still standing in our way. We took that down late last year to make way for more garden.

Last weekend - the previously mentioned garlic bed and cold frame have been joined by four more raised beds.

At the end of the day today, we've got a grand total of 11 raised beds for a whopping 336 square feet of plantable space! And we're not even finished yet! There's still a chicken coop to be added, and four more vegetable beds. By the time we're done, we'll have almost as much square footage of garden as we had living space in our first apartment. So, yeah, we've definitely been doing some growing.

Right now most of these beds are empty, but we've already got crops planted in three of them. There's the garlic we started last fall, the cool-season vegetables we planted last weekend in the cold frame, and just today we filled a box with onion sets. Onion sets are mini onion bulbs that have been started from seed by a nursery company (in our case Earl May). As a gardener, the only thing you need to do is put them in the ground and keep them watered. By the end of the season, each set will have grown into a full size, home-grown onion. This is a great project for the beginner gardener.

Another really fun plant for beginners and veterans alike is one we have in the cold frame: radishes! Radishes may have a love-them or hate-them flavor, but almost everyone loves to grow them for one particular reason. We started ours last week, and now...

Almost every last one of them has sprouted! Radishes are great because they're traditionally the first vegetable to plant outdoors, first to sprout, and first to harvest. These little guys will be ready for us to enjoy in less than a month. And whether you can't get enough of that peppery flavor, or just can't stand it, radishes signal that the gardening season has begun in earnest. And that makes the hard work of the past few weekends worth it.

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