Can I just begin by asking how it’s possible that we’re already to June 12? I’m blaming the late snow storm we had on April 14. In my mind it’s only May 1, but the ripening strawberries say otherwise.
They are small this year, but bursting with flavor. We harvested a few at the community garden plot, but many more at home.
Because I’ve been a little behind this year, I had to scramble to give the garden at least the appearance of having been somewhat cleared and planted by the June 1 deadline. As usual, I had to have a little heart to heart with the weeds. In the end, they always win, but I have the upper hand for now. Here’s before, and a bed-by-bed slideshow of the weeds “disappearing”… if only it were that easy! I think next time, a time-lapse video is in order…
Before I left for the day, I did get the beds planted with seedlings I’d bought at the school’s annual plant sale: tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, sweet banana peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and squash. And, the garlic I planted last fall is looking great…check out the garlic patch in the closest bed, far right. (Garlic is easy to plant! Check out instructions for you to do it yourself in Dig In! Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps.)
I definitely had more to do, but over the next few days, my son’s soccer tournament and a little rain got in the way. (Is it just me or does a rainy Saturday in June bring an overwhelming sense of relief? Not only does it water the gardens, but it gives me an excuse to do something cozy inside…like sew more of these origami bags!)
I regrouped and planted the flower boxes instead. I found the cutest little garden shop in the St. Croix Valley (traveling to soccer tournaments that then get rained out can sometimes be rewarding!), and stocked up on pretty multicolored petunias, salvia, and, one of my favs for window boxes—ivy geraniums. These bright beauties fill a box with vibrant color and remind me of small villages in France, where geraniums seem to overflow from every windowsill.
The flower boxes are a lot less work, but for some reason, they’re more satisfying. I chalk it up to my need for a little instant gratification every once in a while.
The next day, I made it back to the garden to continue weed pulling and wood-chip spreading, all while slapping mosquitoes…another sign that it’s June, not the first of May! On this trip, I also added a compost bin to our plot. This is the first year we are not allowed to add our compost to the gigantic community pile in the woods. Rather than haul it all home, many gardeners are composting on site. I even managed to pull the reel mower out of the shed and trim the grass along the edge of our plot.
By the third trip a few days later, I was finally able to recruit a little help. This guy is often willing to do his share of work in the garden, especially if I bribe him with rhubarb. Together we finished pulling weeds, watered, and spread more wood chips. Whew! We were rewarded with Blizzards from DQ, delivered onsite by Brian and Theo, so it was worth all the blood, sweat, and mosquito bites (Yes, blood. see: mosquito bites).
Back at home, I’ve been weeding, tidying up, and weeding some more. I’m checking the garden every day for signs of life. I just planted a slew of lettuce seeds in a planter in my back yard. This is so easy to do, and it’s one of the projects in The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book. No planter to fill? Use a pot or a plastic clamshell container for store-bought lettuce! Set it in a sunny spot, water it, and in no time you’ll have lettuce to clip for a dinner salad.
For more gardening projects, check out Dig In! and The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book.