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Archive for March, 2014

Last weekend we did some basic garden clean up — removing the leftover leaves, turning the soil and moving some of the perennial herbs like chives, oregano and thyme.

The herbs are in temporary pots until I decide where to put them, either back in the beds or in other containers. Also, the garlic is doing very well! I can’t wait to harvest our own, and our limited success so far this year means we’ll definitely be trying it again next year.

Also, I’m happy to report the in-bed composting worked fantastically! We weren’t sure if it would, but except for a stray peanut shell or flower stem, everything broke down during winter. This is also something we’ll continue each year. It’s a great way to add more nutrients directly to the soil.

Finally, our planting schedule is getting thrown off a bit again because of the weather. We’re officially in spring, but there is supposed to be another round of snow this week with lows below freezing for most days.

To me, it’s not worth it to buy the broccoli transplants or seed lettuce/spinach/peas when they could just die in the cold.

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This is a great idea. I might try this when we plant some of our smaller seeds. Thanks to the Looking Out From My Backyard blog for the tip!

lookingoutfrommybackyard

We recently returned from a nice getaway to sunny Arizona. Not that our Colorado winter had been too bad this year, but there is something about walking through the department store in February in Arizona and seeing beautiful petunias and marigolds on the shelves. Got my spring fever in high gear! I spent a good portion of the 14 hour drive with my nose shoved firmly into a stack of seed catalogs.

Anyone who has ever planted a carrot seed or a petunia seed, for example, will testify that these seeds are TINY! More than once, I have taken a tweezer and carefully picked up the seed to place into a waiting peat pot. At my age, you need bright light for that!

Since I use block planting in my raised beds, I saw a post that should just make my “tiny seed planting” a bit easier! It is a…

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Here it is, our grand garden plan. It’s ambitious, but I’m optimistic about it.

We’re trying something new this year, both with vegetables and planning. Last year everything worked fairly well, and we stuck to the plan — for the most part. This year, we’re adding carrots, which is something we’ve never tried before. And we’re going to try again with Brussels sprouts, broccoli and kale because none worked particularly well.

The broccoli bolted pretty early, the Brussels sprouts never really grew and the kale was knocked over and destroyed by squirrels. We’re also going to try to follow the square-foot gardening method a little more closely. We sort of tried it last year, but not exactly.

Our garden plan for this year. It's a mix of square-foot gardening and succession planting, plus some container plants.

Our garden plan for this year. It’s a mix of square-foot gardening and succession planting, plus some container plants.

I’ve also splurged ($25 for a year) on the garden planner tool from Mother Earth News. In the little bit I’ve played around with it, the tools are really great, and it’s what I used to create the picture above. Some are harder to see, so I’ll explain what’s in each bed.

It looks very crowded because I have “all months” showing, but there is some succession planting going on here — the peas will be gone before the tomatoes need the room; the garlic will be pulled before the zucchini needs room to spread, etc.

We’re also going to use our “alternative pots,” which are basically old coffee containers and big buckets that used to contain cat litter. Everything will be washed and have holes drilled in the bottom for drainage.

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