Monday, April 02, 2012

Planting Our Spring Garden


Way back in January we put the finishing touches on our raised garden beds. We built three of them, each one fifteen feet long and four feet wide - so, you know, BIG. This made me nervous at first. We put a lot of time, energy, and money into building our beds, but we aren't exactly experienced gardeners. Starting big and bold (Nathan's idea) instead of small and safe (my preference) made me understandably apprehensive. After a weekend of gardening, however, I am feeling a little more confident and a 100% more excited about our garden. Here's what's been going on in the beds since we built them:

First, we had to make soil. This involved horse manure, mushroom compost, kitchen compost, some sand for proper drainage, honest to goodness dirt, and a whole lot of leaves. Once the soil was looking rich and ready for plant life, our next step was to figure out what, exactly, to plant.


I started by combing through our various gardening books to figure out what was best for a spring garden in this part of the country. Month-by-Month Gardening in the Carolinas was a lifesaver in that regard. I made a list of seasonal plants, decided which ones we would most like to eat, and on Saturday Nathan and I headed out to secure transplants and seeds. 

We got a bunch of transplants at the Master Gardener's sale.

Red bell pepper from the Farm Supply Store.

Since we planted mostly seeds and small things, the photos I took of our garden aren't that great - mostly dirt with a few spots of green. I'll save the glamor shots for when things are actually growing (fingers crossed!). For now, here's a list of the plants we started with: 

Transplants: 
Tomatoes (Sun Golden Cherry Tomato, a Russian heirloom called Black Krim, and Pink Beauty. We wanted to plant three different varieties so we can see what we like best. Experimentation!) 
Yellow Crookneck Squash (two plants) 
Rosa Blanca Eggplant (two plants) 
Peppers (Red Bell Pepper, Golden Treasure Yellow Pepper, Jalapeno Pepper, and two King Arthur Green Pepper plants. Again, experimentation!) 
Leeks
Basil Genovese (three plants. I love basil and you need a lot for a good pesto.) 
Cilantro 
Cucumbers (we got two transplants for free because they were broken. Nathan put some rooting hormone on them and stuck them in the ground, so we'll see what happens.) 

Seeds: 
Rainbow Chard
Arugula (We're not sure how the arugula will do. According to the seed packet, we planted at the last possible second for a spring crop, and we've also had a really warm winter. Who knows what will happen. Or, as I like to say: experimentation!)

Caged tomatoes

Basil. AKA, future pesto.

It was a gorgeous weekend and we basically spent the whole thing in the garden, which was lovely. In addition to planting, we also finished the rain barrels and built a rabbit fence. I will post about both those things later this week, as this post is already long enough. And to reward you for patiently reading all about our first garden, here is a cute photo of the dogs. They enjoy this extra long stick because there is plenty of space for dual chewing and epic games of tug.

Our supervisors.

Hope you had a great weekend as well, full of actual and/or metaphoric growth. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go water the plants.

18 comments:

  1. Our garden planting is in full swing as well! And can I also say I'm always tickled to find another "local" blogger. We're in New Bern, about 2 hours north of Wilmington.

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    1. We're actually new to North Carolina - we moved here in August, mostly so I could go to grad school at UNCW. We moved from East Texas, so the climate here is very similar, just not as hot. :) I have not made it to New Bern yet, but I've heard of it, which is progress! :)

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  2. I can't believe y'all already have plant sales--I've got to wait another month until I can get my tomato seedlings. I might be in Nebraska, but SERIOUSLY--it was 89 here all weekend. Season shift!

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    1. 89 degrees?! We haven't even gotten that hot yet. I think we topped out at 82 this past weekend. I hope you get some plant sales soon!

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  3. So jealous. I live in an apartment, and haven't had a balcony in a few years (and probably won't for a few more), and I miss gardening so much! Eating food you grew yourself is such a good feeling :)

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    1. This is our first house (it's a rental, but still!). We tried container gardening at our last apartment but we didn't have enough light and everything died. Hopefully we'll have more success this time around!

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  4. How exciting!! One day I will garden too. I started with flowers this year. Maybe next I'll try vegetables. :)

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    1. Flowers are important too. But I like to focus on things I can eat. Mostly because I really like to eat. :)

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  5. So jealous! I can't wait to start getting back out and working in the yard. Looking forward to seeing how things progress!

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    1. I will be taking many progress photos, don't you worry!

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  6. I kind of wish we had more of a yard so that some gardening was a possibility. I'm going to be gone for much of the next few months, though, so it's just not a realistic proposition right now for a number of reasons. Maybe we'll get a basil plant and try to keep it alive for a few weeks. :)

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    1. In my experience, basil is very resilient, and so delicious. Definitely a good choice if you will be gone a lot and/or only have room for one or two plants.

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  7. One word: YUM!

    (Okay, more words.) And I love that last photo--the dogs are too cute :-)

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  8. Stopping in off the Hop! I have really enjoyed, can't wait to read more, come visit at:
    http://theredeemedgardener.blogspot.com/2012/04/damping-off-101.html

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    1. Hi Clint! Thanks for stopping by. This was my first Hop and I hope to participate again. :)

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  9. Hooray for your garden! After wrestling with out 5x8 box this weekend, I can't even imagine how you guys lifted those giant ones you made! Plant sales are the best--can't wait to hit up a few the end of this month!

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    1. We haven't had to move them yet. We built them right where we were putting them - thinking ahead! ;)

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