In these uncertain times, planting a spring garden is more important than ever. Having access to nutritious and delicious vegetables is desirable for all of us, and the best way to have them is to grow your own.
Leo and I have been keeping ourselves busy over the past few weeks by working in our vegetable garden. The very act of cleaning out the beds, pulling weeds, and preparing the soil has been very therapeutic.
Among the first things we planted were spinach and onions. Because we started with spinach transplants rather than seed, we have been able to harvest the spinach quickly. We have already been enjoying spinach salads along with asparagus that we planted many years ago.
Being able to grow some of our own food has always been important to us because we like knowing how it was grown. That's why we started our vegetable garden over ten years ago when we retired and moved to the Crossroads.
In this raised bed, I'm checking on the radishes and lettuce that were planted from seed. Usually planting from seed adds more weeks to the timeline but both of those veggies grow rapidly.
You know, planning and planting your first garden can be very daunting. There is so much information out there that it gets confusing. Several years ago, Leo shared this article called 5 tips for first time gardeners that may be helpful if you're a beginner.
In these uncertain times, I urge all of you to grow something even if you are limited with the amount of space that you have. So many spring vegetables such as lettuce can be grown in containers if you have a bit of balcony or patio space. To get you started, you can read this post I did years on growing lettuce in containers.
Herbs grow well in pots too and they are easy to grow for a beginner. We usually think of growing culinary herbs for their taste, but they can be nutritional powerhouses, too. I usually add a few snips of parsley and cilantro to salads. You'll find more information on growing herbs in my herb growing tips.
Because we have the space, most of our spring garden is planted in raised beds. If you are interested in building raised beds, here is a post that Leo wrote that tells how he built our raised beds.
Once we planted our spring garden, our thoughts turned to planting summer vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers. Along with companion plants for our cucumbers as they thrive when paired up.
Normally we wait until a little later to plant those, but we have had a very mild spring and our temps lately have been more summer-like.
So off we went to a local greenhouse to get our transplants. However, most of them will allow you to call ahead to give your order and payment and will put the plants in the back of your car.
Seeds, plants, and supplies can all be ordered online:
- organic Vegetable and Flower Garden Soil
- inexpensive garden pots
- raised garden planter
- seeds and garden ready plants
- garden supplies and equipment
We have an area where we plant our tomatoes in the ground. Starting in the fall, Leo put leaves from the yard in that space. To get our spring garden ready, he recently added compost from our bin to the area and then tilled it all together.
After putting down landscaping fabric, we planted our tomatoes. Over the years, we have found that using landscape fabric helps us so much with controlling the weeds, especially in a garden the size of ours. You can get more details on how to control the weeds in your vegetable garden.
In between each tomato plant is a marigold placed for pest protection. Besides, I've always like to pretty up the vegetable garden with plenty of flowers. Behind the tomatoes, I planted 3 rows of zinnia seeds!
Although we plant our tomatoes in the ground, there are many varieties suitable for growing in containers. Before you select your tomatoes, arm yourself with a little knowledge about the different varieties in this article choosing the best tomato plants.
This year we're experimenting with growing cucumbers in a raised bed using tomato cages as support. You could use this same idea when growing cucumbers in containers. Leo made our cages many years ago, and you can read his DIY Tomato Cages tutorial for more insight.
While we have been working in the garden, we have enjoyed the many plants that are blooming. This is a Major Wheeler honeysuckle vine that is a magnet for hummingbirds.
This Snowball Viburnum gets bigger and bigger each year, but this is the prettiest it's ever been.
The blooms resemble those of hydrangeas and are great as cut flowers. I tend to enjoy them more in the garden, though.
Spring Garden is Important Right Now
- vegetables and produce prices are increasing
- it gives me a sense of control
- it has been an emotional solace
- it provides exercise for me
- seeing things grow gives me hope for the future
- fresh veggies keep me healthy
- the sun gives me a good dose of vitamin D
Besides, there's nothing better than a cold glass of beer after a day of working in the garden!
Cheers to better times ahead, and if you have any gardening questions, please leave them below in the comment section.