Nothing is better than that first sunny warm weekend in early spring.
You slip on the grubby garden shoes like a broken in pair of bedroom slippers and grab the pruners and your old friend the garden hoe.
My favorite small perennial shovel is so worn the wood handle feels
soft and smooth from hours of digging.
And while I don't have nearly the amount of chores as I have had in the past, every thing is pretty much the same....like riding a bike...just on a smaller scale.
I usually hit the vegetable garden first.
These are Sweet 1000's from last year and I have a few cherries already planted.
If you think you can't grow a vegetable to save your life, just try a cherry tomato plant. They will grown in spite of your brown thumb....trust me on this one.
If you're just starting a vegetable garden try to give yourself at least 18 inches of well composted soil.
Depending on what you want to grow, most plants take about 3 months to get to the harvesting stage, so that gives them plenty of time to develop a really robust root system.
Challenge yourself to come up with creative trellis and supports.
Unless you're really short on time don't just settle for the usual junky stuff
from the local garden center.
It barely lasts a season and will likely wind up in the trash.
Here I used bamboo and willow and it worked wonderfully.
This year I have bulbs and flowers planted among the veggies.
I like the look of it and it helps to keep the garden bright and pretty.
Or hang a basket or and old bucket near by just for fun
In the rear of my garden I hung a set of harvesting baskets.
Not only useful but a cheerful addition to the kitchen garden space
A little bench is used for small containers and for working on topiaries and arrangements
which come into the house from time to time
Usually spring is the time I like to tune up the irrigation system.
Emitters and sprinkler heads get replaced and any thing leaking or that has become too small for the area is upsized. I always stop in at the local pro-irrigation store near me and chat it up with the guys behind the counter. You can learn a ton and they are always helpful if you are a new gardener.
Now for the good stuff....plant what you like to eat but....
I have had some epic failures trying so hard to do it all.
I typically steer clear of things that are plentiful in my local farmers market
and take up way too much garden real estate
I have planted lots of carrots but mine never look this good.
We eat them anyway!
And I always have some sort of onion planted but usually the smaller green scallions
and chive, both of which are super easy
A few things I've tried and will probably never repeat:
just to name a few
Lettuce and greens are an excellent choice for any new vegetable garden.
Lettuce doesn't necessarily need intense sunlight to do well either. So if you have a partially shaded area go of the lettuce varieties.
I always include radicchio and endive
as well as arugula and some of the spicy asian greens.
And no great kitchen garden is complete without herbs.
I love the idea of the dedicated herb garden
and will try to repeat something like the pretty one I had in Ojai.
But if you're short on space (like me) plant herbs among the lettuce and tomatoes
My tried and true favorites are Italian parsley, lemon thyme, rosemary, sage, chervil and of course no herb garden should be without basil
I plant the big Sangiovese style basil as well as purple
and some other odd varieties that all have great flavor.
Lettuce and greens can be self sown into the beds directly and will produce an amazing amount of yield from a small seed packet.
Remember, the soil must be warm and damp consistently or the seeds won't germinate.
Small turnips and beets are a great choice and super easy.
You can harvest them early and toss into a salad for some crunch just like a radish.
And do try some radish...easy and usually great results.
My favorite is the D'avignon
Perennial beds are always a challenge for me, especially because
my garden style is full and sort of messy.
To keep things in check, I prune and deadhead and clip....a lot!
And I didn't plant sweet peas this year either.
I know I will miss them
Instead I think I'll focus on some small little pockets for annuals and summer bulbs.
Bulbs are a great way to add color without a lot of work.
One of the garden chores no one ever like to do but is probably the most essential is to focus on the quality of your soil.
Adding in some big bags of compost will really change how your plants look and will save on weeding and water down the road.
I know pretty boring right?!
And when I'm not in the garden....
I'm actually starting a much needed kitchen renovation in about a week so I'll try to post a little more and share some new ideas, products and a few new discoveries.
Hope you are enjoying the beauty of spring