Creating a Life of Plenty

What a Difference a Month Makes

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Well as you can see from the picture above, many things have been happening in the garden. Even after the first harvest of lettuce, we still have plenty to go! In addition, the humble seeds, bulbs and starts have taken off into full blown young plants.
While we are still a few weeks from getting any real harvests, I wanted to share the progress with you. The garden design ended up changing several times from the cold November day when I planned the layout. We eliminated the third bed and turned the remaining two 90 degrees so that we could accommodate a bench, composter, rain barrel, etc. We also eliminated the raised bed for herbs. Unfortunately after watching the light for a few days, I realized that the herb bed would not get enough light to really grow all the herbs in the ideal way. Instead, we confined the herbs to our planters on the deck. In hindsight, I am glad of the decision, now I can brush up against the fragrant herbs when I go out the door and I just have to step outside to snip them for cooking!
As you can see in the pictures, the starts, seeds and seedlings have really begun to flourish in the raised beds. All of the extra thought and preparation of the soil and beds have really paid off. One thing that I did not mention on the soil in any of the other entries is the addition of earthworm starts in both beds and in our composter. We placed leaves in the bottom of the beds and I want them to decompose slowly, but decomposing leaves tend to leach nitrogen out of the soil, so we added the earthworms to consume the leaves and provide us with nitrogen rich castings to augment the soil.
The tomato seedlings I started are really grabbing hold as well as the onions, shallots, potatos and other root crops (carrots, beets, leeks, radishes). The eggplant is coming along (not as vigorously as I thought) as well as the peppers are slow growing but steady. The plants I am most concerned about that seem to be doing the worst are the vining plants. The beans have barely broken the soil and only a couple of them have actually sprouted above the soil. The cucumbers and squash don’t seem to be as robust as I thought they would be. I need to do some research on soil conditions and those plants preferences so I know what to add to the soil and where to place them should they not perform as expected.
All in all I am thrilled with the progress of the potager. I am equally happy with the rest of the garden. The perrenial border is coming along nicely. It is a slow, multi year process to get these just right and established.
I hope these pictures inspire you to start a few seedlings in pots this year and to begin planning your own potager for next year (if you build it now or during the summer, you can plant a cover crop that can augment and return nutrients to your soil and then rest for a year). I am hooked on the idea of growing a majority of our own produce for as long as our zone allows. I am convinced that the time and effort is good for the body, mind and soul, not to mention the pocket book and environment!

Happy Gardening!

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