Winter is on it’s way out, spring days come and go, on sunny days the causeway to the island is lined with turtles basking, piled up on each other like dominoes after the fall. The turtles are mostly sliders; I tried to photograph them last week but they were too wary of me, even though I pulled the truck over across the road from them. They all were sliding into the water before I even walked halfway across the road to where they had been. I did see a snapper walking through the mud alongside the causeway, there’s usually water there but sometimes the water is so low it’s nothing but mud in some places. So I took this snapper’s picture as he/she slogged along, leaving a trail behind and no place to go to escape me, but you can’t see the turtle well in the picture, so I decided not to post it. Here’s a picture of some of our irises instead:
Planning this year’s garden began with the decision to plant more of a variety of things instead of sticking to the traditional three sisters- corn, beans and squash. Last year, we had ears of corn coming out of our ears, more lima beans than we hardly knew what to do with, and no squash. So we pulled our seed packages out of the fridge, went through them all, drew up a new diagram of the garden, and began to plan. Outside, the garden needed digging and weeding and re-making of the mounds, plus the addition of compost and good soil into each mound. Inside, we started tomato, basil, green pepper and swiss chard seeds in peat pots, and because this garden gets full sun, we acquired (from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds- www.rareseeds.com) new seeds to try out there- Poona Kheera cucumbers from India, Mexican sour gherkin cucumbers, Tigger melons from Armenia, and Golden Honeymoon melons.
These are red potatoes coming up from eyes I cut from some potatoes just before we ate them (the potatoes, not the eyes):
Earlier, in our smaller gardens, some of which don’t get much sun, we planted spinach, lettuces, beets, turnips and okra; some of these seeds are old and didn’t come up too well last year, and aren’t doing all that well this year. Which is why we have bought new replacements for some of them. We store our seeds in the refrigerator year-round to keep them viable, but they eventually just get too old.
So this past weekend, I got all the seedlings planted in the garden formerly known as the Native American garden, now informerly known as the “big” garden (see the blog’s previous posts). On our diagram we laid out where everything was to go, consulting our copy of “Carrots Love Tomatoes” by Louise Riotte so we’d know who likes to be next to whom and who doesn’t, also called companion planting. The weather people were promising (or threatening) days of rain coming up so I also got in as many seeds as I could, even planting some where they aren’t supposed to be, just to get them started. This was Rod’s suggestion, a good one I think; we can transplant them to their permanent places after they sprout.
Here’s a picture of one of the Tiny Tom Tomato seedlings with deer tracks around it- that was close!
Here’s a list of all the plants and seeds that are now in the big garden:
10 tomato (Tiny Tom, Delicious and Rutgers) seedlings, 18 Italian Sweet basil seedlings, 3 California Wonder green pepper seedlings, and 6 Fordhook swiss chard seedlings. I forgot to mention that there’s already three mounds of red potatoes coming up as well, and two swiss chards that over-wintered from last year:
Now the seeds: Fordhook zucchini, Emerald okra, Dixie yellow squash, Table Queen acorn squash, Early sweet sugar pie pumpkin, Kentucky Wonder pole beans, French filet bush beans, Cherokee wax bush beans, Poona Kheera cucumbers, and the Mexican sour gherkin cucumbers.
One-quarter of this garden will still be for corn, and with it we are planting the Tigger and Honeymoon melons and the Mexican cucumbers. They’ll be planted next, and we’ve also marked some places on the diagram for beets, and there are still some empty mounds! Any suggestions? And since today is Earth Day, how about telling us your plans for what you are doing today to celebrate our Mother’s Day for the Planet? Here are some links for inspiration:
Since it has stopped raining, I’ll be out in the garden. See you outside.