planting time!

As of today, summer is (un)officially here!  I finally got out and spent a few hours cleaning up the garden and planting some veggies. I thought I’d be able to get an earlier start this year since it’s been so mild, but life thought otherwise, and somehow we’re at Memorial Day already!

Earlier in the spring, the garden got a real beauty boost courtesy of the new decking the landlords installed to replace the old rotted out boards. It’s a South American hardwood, and feels amazing on the feet.

I planted annuals and vegetables last year and, especially since they were in pots, I didn’t expect any of them to overwinter so I did absolutely nothing to protect them.  But our winter was so non-existent that a few plants actually did survive.  As soon as the sun warmed up, I started seeing chives, mint, strawberries, and pansies popping up.  The chives and strawberries were pretty well contained, but the pansies seem to have found a way to jump from container to container, and made a great stand in while I procrastinated on getting the real plantings done.

I did manage to start a couple of things early — I planted some romaine lettuce and direct sowed some multi-colored heirloom carrots.  I’ve never grown carrots before, and I’ve heard that they aren’t really worth it, but it seemed fun to try these ones.  I seeded liberally and planned to thin out once they’d grown a few inches.  Unfortunately, many of them didn’t even get to an inch before one of my little furry friends decided they’d make a great breakfast.  There are still a bunch left though, so we’ll see how many of them make it.  I may have to sprinkle some of that squirrel repellent on them, although it really didn’t do much good last year.

Some extra lettuce got planted with a very pretty batch of pansies, though this seems to stunt its growth quite a bit.

Playing a starring role this year are 5 varieties of tomatoes: Cherokee Purple, German Johnson, Black Krim, a Sun Gold yellow cherry, and a red grape cherry (not pictured).

The strawberries I got a from a farm sale last year didn’t actually produce any strawberries, so to give them an extra boost this year I added some ‘Frisan’ strawberries, which have hot pink flowers and fruit throughout the summer. It’s got some good looking berries starting to ripen already!

The chives were pretty ragged after surviving the winter, so I pulled them out and gave them a haircut, and then repotted them with some basil.  I never have enough basil, so this year I planted 7 basil plants…but I’m still thinking of getting more.

And of course, no summer would be complete without copious amounts of zucchini.  This year I only planted 4 green zucchini — last year I had 6, as well as 6 yellow squash.  I started to resent the yellows by the end of the summer, so I thought I would stick to green this year.  But will I regret planting only 4?

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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