It’s time yet again to check out the plantings on the Frugal Upstate Village Homestead! So I’ll ask you-How’s it Growin???
Things are starting to warm up sporadically around here (although there was a frost warning last night!). The daylight hours are indeed getting longer and I’m itching to be able to get my full garden in. Alas, unless I’m feeling brave many things still need to wait until Memorial Day (although I may try the beans a bit early. Rebel!)
Luckily some of the early spring items, fall planted items and perennials are up!
I bought some lettuce seedlings this year. It seems like when I plant lettuce it starts growing and then we hit a spurt of hot weather and it bolts! So I figured I’d just try a few seedlings this year.In front of the store bought seedlings I went ahead and planted some lettuce seed (succession planting!) After a week they have just started sprouting. I’ll have to thin them soon down to one plant per spot.The English Peas (ie the kind you shell and eat as peas discarding the shell itself) have finally started to really grow with a purpose.The turnips that I planted last fall and let overwinter have gone to flower. You can actually eat the flowers (they taste sort of cabbage-y). However I’ve just left them there so that the bees can enjoy them! I have lots of happy little insects buzzing around. Plus the seed heads are starting to form-I’m interested to try seed saving just to hone those skills.
Here’s a closeup of the flowers. They are actually quite delicate! I didn’t take pictures but the one Kale plant I had left from last year and the couple of Tat Soi have both bolted and put up flowers and seed pods as well.
This is back in the big garden. The green fence is the one I showed last time with the itty bitty sugar snap pea seedlings that something had started munching on. I have now planted and additional row of snap peas on this side of the fence. I also purchased brussel sprout seedlings and planted them here. This edge of the garden is actually shaded part of the day, so I think that the sprouts will do well here since it will be a bit cooler.This is just on the other side of that fence. You can see the sugar snap peas which have been growing for a while (they were planted about a week and a half after the english peas) and then that really small growth in between is where I replanted the peas that had been munched on.In front of that row I planted some broccoli seedlings that I purchased. So now I have a “thick” row with a fence down the middle that goes, left to right, broccoli, peas, fence, peas, brussel sprouts. My thought process is that the peas will grow up the fence while the broccoli & Brussel sprouts are small. Then eventually the peas will give up the ghost in early summer and I’ll be able to tear them out just about the time that the broccoli & brussel sprouts are getting bit and they will have the room.
That’s the theory any way-we’ll see!
Next I left a space for a walking aisle and then I planted another row of sugar snap peas. They have not yet started sprouting-so this is an unexciting picture of dirt. But the posts are in and actually I’ve strung the fence since I took this picture. I left enough space to plant another shade loving crop-maybe more lettuce or some chard on the other side of this. From this row over the garden gets significantly more sun.
I’ve got a big triple row of garlic-which is not only tasty but also has antibacterial properties. So it’s an aromatic and a medicinal herb/plant!On this little patch of garden on the far side of the stepping stone I have a big patch of a weed called “lambsquarter”. Last year I had let one grow on the side of the garden and obviously it dropped a lot of seeds. I pulled all the rest but are letting these go for now. This is an edible-the leaves taste sort of like spinach. I really enjoy it, it grows naturally, early and easily. So I’m going to let these go and perhaps dig some of them up and replant them somewhere else. Why fight trying to get something like spinach grow through the summer when this stuff WANTs to grow?
(note: that’s actually a stone step-we think it was a horse mounting block-it goes about a foot down in the soil and weighs a ton-it can’t be moved so the garden goes around it.)Here’s a close up of the lambsquarter. Make sure you use a good website like Wildman Steve Brill’s or a good field guide to identify your wild edibles. And make darn sure you know what any look a-likes are and how to tell the difference so you don’t eat something dangerous.
Now I’m standing behind the garden looking at my little raspberry patch. You cant really see it but directly in front of this is the green fencing with that wide row of brussel sprouts/peas/peas/broccoli. . . These raspberries actually produced a bit last year-so hopefully I’ll get some berries this year too. (like a cup, but hey!). Raspberry leaves also have some medicinal properties and can be used for tea. I’ve got wild blackberry growing on the fenceline closer to the house-we barely get any berries from those but again, those leaves can be used in tea and have medicinal uses as well.Speaking of tea, my Oswego Tea (aka bergamot or scarlet beebalm) is popping up, and in a thicker patch than the original stuff I purchased & planted last year. Yay! This does multiple duty as an ornamental, an edible (at least as tea) and a bee attractor. Triple win!Farther down the fenceline the horseradish (surrounded by some dandelion) is going gangbusters. I really am not sure why we need THREE horseradish plants (only one shown) but there you are.Off on the very side of my property our little tiny asparagus bed is happily chugging away. We’ve had about 4 sprout up. They really aren’t enough for a meal so I just snap them off and eat them raw. Yum. I really do need to figure out planting some more. Right behind these is a fence that I like to plant things up. Last year I grew my vining summer squash up the fence, but this year I think I’ll plant some beans to add nitrogen back into the soil. Squash is a heavy feeder-so that should be a good rotation.
The rhubarb is doing great over by the barn. I’ve already cut out a couple of seed heads–this is an antique strain from a friend’s very old homestead. Unlike more “modern” cultivars it likes to send up seedheads right away. I don’t care what the books say, I just cut them off and the plant keeps producing rhubarb.
Now back by the house I have my pot of Egyptian Walking Onions. I need to find a good home for these this year and get them out of the pot. I can’t decide what the best spot is-I’ll have to do that soon.
Now to the mostly container herb garden I have right by the back steps. As a matter of fact that cement step you see IS the bottom step leading up to my back door. The chives actually started out back a couple of feet but they moved themselves up here and are quite happy. The first round of chive blossoms (which are edible) are out, and we’ve been using the chives in cooking for over a month. That’s a job I frequently give the kiddos while I’m in the middle of cooking–“take the scissors and go get me 2 chives”.About a food behind the chives is my lovage plant. It’s already up to the top step and will grow up at least as far as that sign. I usually have to hack it down a couple of times each summer so it doesn’t take over! Loveage has a strong celery flavor and is lovely in soups, chopped up in salads etc.This is some lavender that took a couple of years to really get going. Now it’s draping over the driveway-which isn’t the best. I’m probably going to move it soon. Here is my crazy sage that isn’t supposed to be perennial in my zone and yet has come back for two years. Sage is of course the herb you think of when you think of “poultry seasoning”. It tastes good in a variety of things. It also has medicinal properties.Many herbs are not perennial for me due to our cold winters. I purchased these 3 pots (there are two in that front circle) and will plant them up in these containers. From front to back they are rosemary, oregano and thyme. All of them are culinary and have some medicinal properties.
In the other planters (not circled) I have two kinds of mint and some lemon balm. The red self watering planters that I did the tutorial on last year will be used this year for peppers.
And that’s how it’s growin at the Frugal Upstate Village homestead! How are your garden plan progressing?