I love this time of year in North Carolina. I've been meaning to post a spring garden update for quite some time and now that it's almost summer I'm finally getting around to it! Such is the life with toddler twins...
Even though most of our free time is occupied busily raising seedlings and transplanting them into the garden, planting new seeds and prepping garden beds, and trying to stay on schedule with our garden plans despite the weather, I feel that the season offers hope of new life, rebirth, and the excitement of a new growing season (and hopefully a better harvest!).
|sugar snap peas|
This year was our first year of actually testing the soil in each of our raised beds and sending the samples into the state lab for results. The testing showed that our beds has an abundance of phosphorus--far too much. And the ph was off. To remedy this, we added various amendments to help balance out the soil in order to make it healthier. As you can see, it has definitely helped and we have greens coming out of our ears!! We simply cannot eat all the kale, collards, lettuce, and arugula fast enough --we have SO much.
|this raised bed holds kale, collards, some onion, and sugar snap peas along the back|
We also cut down a few trees around the raised beds that were shading the plants too much and preventing much needed sunlight. Our yard doesn't get a whole lot sunlight anyway from being so wooded, but hopefully this will help a little bit.
|some of our raised beds|
We started seedlings in February and again in March for broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. Using our DIY grow light, we cared for the seedlings until the first batch was ready to be hardened off for a couple of weeks prior to transplanting.
|this raised bed holds tomatoes, carrots, and spinach|
Don't have enough space in your raised beds? Try planting tomatoes or peppers in post, like we have with this cherry tomato below.
|cherry tomato plant in a pot|
|tiny cherry tomatoes- I can't wait until they are ripe for the picking!|
We also sowed seeds directly into the garden starting in March and each week have planted a little more now that temperatures have really warmed up and we are past the threat of frost. I'm not sure if it's because we don't get a whole lot of sun, but for some reason when we try to plant cold-weather crops during the early spring when it's still fairly chilly, they don't do well despite claims that certain cold-weather veggies thrive in colder weather.
|a bed against the side of our screened porch holds turnips and beets|
Right now we are growing kale, collards, peas, onions, beets, turnips, arugula, spinach, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, okra, radishes, pole beans and a variety of herbs. Also planted are squash, cucumbers, potatoes, and bush beans. We recently harvested garlic in May and planted in its place radishes and more peppers.
|this bed in our side yard contains potatoes, squash, cucumber starts and October beans|
|a recently transplanted pepper plant|
New additions to the garden include strawberries and a blueberry bush. The strawberries are showing signs of growth but I doubt the blueberry bush will be fruitful until next year. Overall, the garden has definitely improved from last year and I'm so excited to see how the rest of the plants do (and I'm patiently waiting that harvest of the first ripe tomato!). Then comes the hard work of preserving all the veggies so that none go to waste!
|chives and pretty chive blossoms :)|