Monday, April 8, 2013

Gardening - 2013 Beginnings

The first week of April finally graced us with a few dry, warm days and we were able to get out in the garden to plant a few things for the first time this year.  The chickens have been free-ranging in the garden all winter but are temporarily incarcerated in their run until we complete the new chicken-proof (hopefully) fencing around the garden.
Not happy!
We planted lots of onion sets.  Generic "yellow" for green onion and the variety "Stuttgarter" for storage.  Late planting probably won't allow them to reach their full size but we use a lot of onions and so we may be spending a lot of time peeling small ones.  We'll see how they do.

We also planted some shell peas.  Today we will plant a few "snap" type peas.  A friend gave me a few potatoes that had sprouted so they went in as well.  A few of them are purple so that will be fun come digging time.  I plan to grow them under hay/straw but I planted them in a shallow trench and covered them with a bit of compost to get them started.

Don planting peas.  Some of the onions are tucked in amidst the hay and
the short row of potatoes is on the left.
It is a modest start but it is still very early here in WV.  In our small greenhouse broccoli is waiting to be set out later this week.
The tomatoes and peppers are started but haven't germinated yet.  We waited later this year to start them because last year they got almost too large in the greenhouse to set out easily and our growing season is delayed a week or two this year. 
Tomatoes and peppers.
We also started some hardy figs from cuttings last fall and they are in the greenhouse hopefully rooting.  At least they have leaves.  There is an an Italian type and something we were told was a "golden fig" which was given to us by a friend.
Stay tuned for regular garden updates throughout the year.  Our major goals for the garden this year are:
1.  Not to plant more tomatoes than we need.  We haven't even touched our canned ones from last year.
2.  Have a successful salsa garden.  We finally found a salsa recipe that we love so we plan to can a lot of that again this year.  If you love salsa but don't like it with tons of vinegar added, try this one.
3.  Have succession plantings of lettuce for summer salads.
4.  Grow enough green veggies to last us until next year.
5.  Keep the chickens out of the garden while allowing them to free range all summer OUTSIDE the garden.
6.  Plant things that we actually EAT. 
7.  MULCH MULCH MULCH to minimize weeding which worked really well for us last year.  With piles of wasted hay  from the goats composting in the garden, this won't be a problem!
Mulch - Pile number 1 of 3.


  1. I love your garden updates as I live vicariously through them. I was very impressed with your goat hay composting last year and the fantastic results it yielded. Good luck with cutting back on the tomatoes. I saw my parents try to cut back for many years and they never were successful. There's just something about the thought of fresh tomatoes that makes it hard to limit them.

  2. Well as it looks now I think we've cut back to about 30 tomato plants :-) May have to give a few away. I think I canned nearly 100 quarts of tomatoes plus 50 pints of salsa last year and put the rest in the freezer.

    1. Your canning and freezing last year reminds me of when I was growing up. Always plenty of tomatoes to can and freeze.

  3. Your garden is really healthy. Keep it up! I wish you can post some guides and tips for a newbie like me in gardening.