Monday, May 9, 2011

Garden Update: So far, so slow.

The Bleeding Heart in my backyard. I thought this was a weed when I first moved to MA, until I saw the very same plant for sale at Lowes. Who knew?

So far, it's been a slow start to the gardening season. Our cold, wet weather has made it difficult to get much of anything in; not necessarily because the ground can't support it, I simply don't want to be planting things outside when it's cold. As far as cold season veggies go, the only thing I wanted to plant this year was sugar snap and shelling peas. I'm not particularly good at growing lettuces or spinach, and the bunnies and insects seem to eat it faster than I can grow and harvest it. It's also pretty cheap at the farmer's market, so last year I decided to purchase those and grow things like peas, which are a tad more expensive. Especially the shelling peas since you pay per pound and then shuck all that weight off those tiny peas and throw it away.

These are my sugar snap peas. I planted two batches seven days apart to extend the harvest, but as you can see, not many plants came up. This bed probably contained about 200 pea seeds, and this is how many sprouted. Peas can be fickle that way. This year I also put wire over my pea beds because last year we had an abysmal pea turn out. My hypothesis is that birds would eat the pea seeds after we planted them, but my husband thinks that's silly. Needless to say, you can see how many shelling peas came up in the picture below.

Looks like shelling peas will be a good crop this year. Probably not enough to put away in the freezer--I'll have to go to the Farmer's Market for that--but we'll have enough to eat. And we'll be eating them so often it'll force the kids to like them. Ha.

My rhubarb is alive and well and always grows like gangbusters in my garden. This is despite the fact that noone in my family likes to eat it, including my husband who eats just about anything. I've tried to make believers out of them with strawberry rhubarb crisp, rhubarb pecan bread, and strawberry rhubarb jam. Nothing seems to change their mind. I love it mind you, and I'm sad that the one vegetable that grows so well in my garden isn't appreciated by this family. Sorry rhubarb. I'll harvest you and use you best I can, but that's all the love you're going to get.

These lovely little sprouts are not supposed to be there. These are all the raspberry cane suckers that have grown into my mulch area and are formulating plans to stage a red berry coup. This may just be the year that I pull all the raspberry bushes out entirely. We don't harvest enough berries from these ladies to make it worth my while. They mostly serve to keep Maria busy eating right from the canes when I am working in the garden. If I don't get to the berries before she does, she even eats the moldy ones and the berries that the wasps have half eaten. I try not to think about that too much because it makes my stomach hurt. On top of that, these raspberries have sharp, hair-like thorns down the entire stalk of the canes; after weeding or thinning this area, I look like I've gotten into a fight with a bunch of drunk alley cats. And that's WITH the long sleeves. Pretty much, these berries suck.

Ahhhhh. My herbs are back! Well almost all of them anyway. My oregano and thyme have yet to show new growth this year, but I'm holding steady for a few more weeks. This year I bought two rosemary plants (because I use so much of it) and also another parsley. I don't use a ton of parsley, but it grows well and is pretty to look at.

My chives and dill. 

Sage and lavender. Don't really know what I'm going to do with the lavender, but it smells amazing and looks pretty hearty. I'll have to find some recipes that use lavender. (Besides shampoos and body soap.)

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