Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Spring Garden Tour!

"May and June. Soft syllables, gentle names for the two best months in the garden year: cool, misty mornings gently burned away with a warming spring sun, followed by breezy afternoons and chilly nights. The discussion of philosophy is over; it's time for work to begin."
- Peter Loewer

There has been much discussion of philosophy, for me, since last year's garden was planted.  When we arrived here at Hunter's Grove in late April, I said that I wanted to grow tomatoes and if I could have them in the 2010 summer, I would be happy to wait until the following year for a "real" garden.  Well, once I prepared a place for tomatoes, it was easy to add a little bit more space for corn, sunflowers, peppers, beans, cucumbers, and squash.  I did, and our whole family ended up loving gardening and helping with all the heavy lifting.

This summer, I have some new learning under my belt.  In studying Sustainable Agriculture, the concepts of 4-season harvesting and cover cropping have come home to my garden.  No more letting the garden succumb to nature during the fall and winter months.  No more wrestling it back into submission in the spring.  The garden was working all winter!  Cover crops of oats, winter rye and vetch held space and fed the soil of each garden bed while keeping weeds from growing!  Now those cover crops are ready to harvest and will become mulch or will feed my compost pile!

Winter Rye and Hairy Vetch (in flower).

 I also learned about crops that need to be planted in fall for a spring/ summer harvest.  My onions are nearing harvest time and garlic should be around the Summer Solstice.

Onions blooming and garlic in the background.

One project that is high on the priority list for this summer is to complete the cold frame and get some low tunnels to extend the harvest.  Even without the cold frame, I was able to overwinter carrots and lettuce with just mulch!  The key to winter harvest is starting your plants in the summer.

This lettuce was overwintered with heavy leaf/ straw mulch.  Compare it with the next photo of lettuce started in late February taken the same day.

Baby lettuce!
 My garden space has more than doubled this season.  I now have 12 3'x9' beds in rotation, for 324 sq. ft. of bed space.
These beds have butter beans, string beans, summer squash and cucumbers in them.

I also have a 3'x6' space that will hopefully be the cold frame this winter.

Peas and carrots in the "cold frame".
I will also have a permanent herb bed for perennial (and some annual) herbs... as soon as I get the spinach out of there!
Spinach growing in the "herb bed".

So there it is so far.  There will be more to come, I'm sure, as the season progresses!  I can't wait!


  1. Your garden is gorgeous, so healthy and growing strong - you must be so excited, Amy. Love what you learned in your class about keeping the ground covered for four seasons. The lettuce is amazing - good job!


  2. Amy, this is so great! I will definitely be following to admire and learn.