Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hello spring (almost!)

My inner garden ninja is anxiously waiting to go gung-ho and go all out with planting, but alas it's still that time of year when night-time temperatures are volatile. The gardenias are still being brought in at night to protect the fragile flower buds as temperatures still hover precariously in the mid 30s some nights. Not much longer now and I can make my perennial pilgrimage to the nurseries, this time not just to browse but to bring home a car-load of herbs, flowers, and shrubs. So far I've been able to start early, with plants that are tough enough to handle a late frost or two: a few herbs in a pot, a small fig tree in a protected spot, lettuce and spinach in the raised veggie beds. My biggest ambition this year is a medicinal herb garden, so I can supply myself with natural remedies for my various health ailments while giving our endangered honey and bumblebees a source of food.

Thyme, Catmint, and Lemon Balm
A few weeks ago, I built a second raised bed for just such a purpose, so I can continue with vegetables like squash, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. I've found that these raised bed kits from Lowes and Home Depot really do work. Once I have the supplies, it takes me no longer than 10 minutes to set up the beds, which are 4' by 4' and about 10" deep. I put chicken wire down to keep moles/voles from coming up into the bed and chewing on the roots, then I layer organic garden soil with compost from my compost bin. Last year I had a fantastic harvest of lettuce, broccoli, peas, and cucumbers!

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