Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ready to Grow

Once spring finally decided to come to our part of Indiana, it really arrived with a flourish. All at once the lilacs and crab apple trees burst in to fragrant bloom, and some of the early iris are already putting on a fine show. I was surprised and pleased today to see how much the hosta have grown, along with many of the perennials around the yard--coreopsis, Oriental poppies, coral bells, obedient plant, peonies, and Dutch iris. Everywhere I look there is a plant up that I didn't notice only last weekend.

We got so much accomplished this weekend, and it really feels good. I am especially happy with the progress we've made on the garden. My favorite new addition to the garden are three trellises we've added to keep the vining plants up off the ground. We started out with 2, and then went back to our local Lowe's store today for a third. I installed them behind the 3 boxes that will grow cantaloupe 'Minnesota Midget', two varieties of zucchini squash, and two varieties of cucumbers. I braced the trellises with some rebar to help insure that they don't get pulled down by the heavy vines later this summer. Not only will they help keep the produce healthier by keeping it up off the ground, I like how the trellises already look good in the garden. They will help add some needed vertical interest. I can't wait to see them covered with vines and fruit.
I hauled about 6 carts of mulch and I think after another two cart loads that job will be finished. I love the finished look it gives the garden, not to mention how it helps to keep the weeds under control. When I dumped one load on to the garden I was surprised to see I had scooped up a small snake along with some mulch. How could I miss a snake? I dumped him on the ground and screamed out loud because this little guy was more than a little upset. He put some distance between us and then started striking at me. If he would have been any bigger it would have been scary!
The garden is also completely enclosed now with my versatile and easy to install fence. I am using 3' tall plastic posts called quickstiks and 2' tall plastic poultry fence. With only a little muscle power and a rubber mallet I had the garden enclosed in less than an hour. I have been really happy with how well this easy simple set-up works to keep out hungry rabbits and unwelcome dogs.
The garden is now ready to grow. In a couple of weeks I'll be able to put out the tomato and pepper plants and then it will really seem like a garden. I'm also waiting a bit longer to plant the Thai melon, green beans, and corn. Even though the soil in the boxes warms up more quickly than the ground, our nights are still pretty cool and there is no need to rush the season. Meanwhile, the cabbage starts I set out earlier in the week look good. The beet seeds have sprouted, and the peas are really starting to grow. I also have radishes, spinach, cilantro, and lettuce planted. I'm really happy to be off to such a good start. Here's hoping your garden is off to a good start as well.

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