I'm more than ready to talk about early spring gardening, and all of the big hopes and dreams that come with it. And May Day is probably one of the best times to have the discussion. May is probably my favorite month of the year. Not only is it host to my birthday and wedding anniversary, but it signifies the true awakening of the plant world, too. So I get very giddy in May. And this year is no different.
|Mixed lettuce sprouts in my Salad Bowl container|
|My pea sprouts and a stick-and-hoop trellis. Garlic and onions in the 2nd bed in the background|
I'm not really a crafty person, but peas require some sort of trellis, so I found skinny sticks to stick into the ground near the spouts, then angled those sticks toward two garden hoops on the edge. I'm hoping they will grow towards those garden hoops and make a double-arch of peas over the garden bed. That'd look pretty awesome. If I ever get some DIY confidence again, there are a variety of even cooler things I could do for a pea trellis:
|A cool, artsy pea trellis|
|Pea trellis made of tree branches|
Somehow, I highly doubt my attempts would look anything like the trellises above.
Another thing I learned more about this year is something called "Companion Planting." I'm pretty excited about this concept, and it will keep coming up. As I mentioned in a previous post, the basic idea is planting plants with and near others that help them grow and keep away pests. And of course, there are always some plants that are better off being separated. For instance, pole beans don't like beets, onions or garlic, so they are a little pickier than others. It's a pretty awesome concept, and I'm totally embracing it.
Onions are really good companion plants in general, because they keep away a variety of pests, so I've planted them pretty much everywhere (I did try to keep them away from my designated bean spot). Onions are said to be especially helpful to carrots because they keep away carrot flies and help to loosen the soil, making it easier for the root vegetable to grow down. I also heard from a gardener friend that radishes do the same thing. Both carrots and onions are good companion plants for tomatoes, so I've planted a mix of carrots and onions around my designated spots for tomatoes. I'll take pictures of the onions and carrots together once the carrot tops get a little bigger.
My early-spring veggies have been hanging out in the ground for over a month now, and it's time to move on to planting my tomatoes this weekend. I have new garden hoops that I can use to put garden fabric over them if we hit any frosty nighttime lows. I'll probably plant my pepper starters, cucumbers, beans and herbs in two more weeks.
|Still doing a good job guarding the plants he is.|
|Pepper, Marigold and Tomato starts with Thyme groundcover|
But my big, time-consuming project this weekend will be trying to dig up as many weeds as possible in the paths around the garden beds, prepping the soil and planting some Thyme ground cover to try to create a pretty, weed-resistant mat around the stepping stones. I have a big issue with Bindweed in this area, so I'm really trying not to get my hopes up. But the pictures of quick-spreading, drought-resistant and sun-loving Thyme groundcover on High Country Gardens makes that kinda hard.
|A lawn of "Reiter Creeping Thyme"|
|"Pink Chintz" Thyme|
If I can coax my "Reiter" and "Pink Chintz" Thyme to look a fraction as good as these pictures, I'll be happy. I just need something that will go to battle with the stupid Bindweed that will never, ever disappear.