Tag Archives: lettuce

Spring Garden, 2014

We got a late start on this year’s garden, due to the harsh winter that ran into spring. However, this spring has been mostly nice and cool, and our garden is looking pretty good so far! My goal this year was to space things appropriately (everything was super cramped and overgrown by October in years past) and to stay ahead of the weeds, which overcame the garden in previous years. I’d get to point where I just gave up, and the weeds won.

This year, I laid much more leaf mulch, thanks to the nifty leaf compost bin that my husband made out of wooden pallets last year. It was packed full of leaves that we collected in the fall.

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I’ve also been trying to get out there regularly to pull weeds and cultivate. It’s working so far, although I fell behind in a few rows… mainly the peas and the radishes/carrots. The weeds don’t seem to be bothering the peas, but I know I have to clean up the row with the carrots or they won’t grow. Does anyone know the best way to weed around carrots?

We started harvesting a couple of weeks ago. First out of the garden were lettuce, radishes, and spring onions.  I love growing radishes and spring onions because they are so easy.

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This year we had better luck with lettuce, too, partly because we started with plants. I think the last few years I sowed lettuce seeds too late, and I waited and waited for them to get big enough to pick, and then they bolted. It’s working out much better this year, from plants. We have big, full heads of lettuce. I’m sure the cooler spring is helping too.

Our most recent harvest from the garden has been peas. During our first year gardening, we had a great row of sugar snap peas that seemed to produce early, and just kept giving us peas. This year I sowed three rows of peas, one of Frosty Pea, one Sugar Bush, and one Sugar Snap. Not sure why I dedicated three rows to peas, but I did. They grew strong and big, but it seemed like the blossoms were never going to develop. I even considering pulling out the plants so that I could put something else there, because I was starting to think they wouldn’t produce for us. Then, after a recent weekend of heavy rain I walked out there and they were full of beautiful little pink and white blossoms! It’s been my favorite part of this year’s garden so far, particularly the pink pea blossoms. I went out there last night and snapped some photos before the blossoms were all gone.

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Are you keeping a garden this year? How is it doing?

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First Harvest: Spring Onions

What an incredible weekend to be outside in the garden! I didn’t want it to end… especially Sunday. The weather was perfect.

With the snow and rain we got over the last couple of weeks I was starting to get anxious to plant and wanted to get as much in the ground this weekend as I could. We got the garden mostly tilled and ready, which included mixing in some horse manure that my husband picked up two weeks ago. My in-laws were in town and helped keep the kids busy, which gave me some larger chunks of time in the garden than I usually get. (Thank you to E, G, and my hubby!)

Saturday I sowed yellow and sweet onions, lettuce (arugula and simpson), and spinach, and transplanted some lettuce and chard that had come up from last year. I also planted some broccoli and cabbage plants that we got at the garden store just up the road, along with some garlic chives. On Sunday I sowed garden peas, snap peas, kale, turnips, broccoli rabe, and kohlrabi. My son went to the garden store with me on Saturday and he picked out some pansies for the kids’ garden. So, we planted those too, and added a few other fun things, like some pinwheels and river rocks.

As I mentioned, there are some plants that overwintered and are showing new growth. I moved the lettuce and chard to the appropriate plot, based on my crop rotation plan. (The spot where there were will have tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes this year.) Also, while taking compost out of the bottom of our compost bin to put in the garden, I found four cloves of garlic that were sprouting, so I planted them in the garden near the onions. (Why not?)

Finally, we had a bunch of onions in last year’s onion plot that had grown new green stalks. They weren’t onions that I planted in the fall with the expectation of an early spring harvest. They were onions I missed when harvesting them last year, because I wasn’t really sure when I was supposed to pull them out and I did it a little too late, after the stalks on some of the smaller onions completely dried up and withered away. So, they grew back this spring. At the suggestion of my mother-in-law, I pulled them to have as spring onions. They filled a quart size mason jar nicely, so I decided to get a little creative with them before eating them. I’m so excited Spring is finally here!

The Children’s Garden


Every child is born a naturalist. His eyes are, by nature, 
open to the glories of the stars, the beauty of the flowers, 
and the mystery of life. 
–  R. Search

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Since I joined Pinterest last May I’ve been pinning oodles of activities for the kids to do. Most of them are sensory-based play ideas, crafts, or games. I’ve also been pinning a lot of garden-related inspirations. One of the projects I’ve been planning to undertake that crosses over into both of these categories is a children’s garden.

My kids enjoyed being in the garden last year, and my son especially enjoyed planting the seeds and watching them grow. So, when I stumbled upon the pins for children’s gardens on Pinterest, I thought “how perfect!” What better way to teach them patience, tenderness, creativity, and a love of nature, then to have them plant, cultivate, and harvest their own flowers and vegetables!

Our garden is pretty big; I could have easily carved out a corner of it for them. But instead, we decided to give them a garden of their very own. My husband had some extra 4×6 boards left over from a recent project, and he was already planning to rent a trailer to haul a load of mulch and composted manure for our garden and flower beds. So, we figured while he was at it, we would also get a scoop of garden soil for a new raised bed for our kids.

My son was so excited at the idea! When I asked him was he was going to plant in his garden he first said “my truck”. Then I said “well, what type of plants do you want to put in your garden?” To that he replied “a big leaf tree!” Hmmm… for some reason we weren’t quite on the same page. At the risk of having my son expect that he’d be cultivating a tree that would bear miniature dump trucks, we decided to move forward with their garden.

This past weekend Shane was hard at work putting the boards in place. I scraped the top layer of sod off the garden plot, and then we filled it with the new garden soil. It was nice, dark, rich-looking soil! We mixed a little bit of composted manure in there as well. The children’s garden is just 4 feet by 8 feet, but I have a feeling that with the rich soil in there, their little garden plot may do better than ours!

4' by 8' children's garden at the end of the main garden

The day after we prepared the bed I took the kids out to plant their first seeds. For his early spring crops, Big D chose to sow snap peas, spinach, lettuce, rainbow carrots, and purple kohlrabi. When we first got out there with the kids’ garden tools (that I bought at Michael’s for $1), they both played in the garden like it was a sand box. (I’m sure that won’t be the last time.) I gave them both seeds and they sprinkled them,… then did some digging,… the sprinkled some more seeds,… then threw some dirt around,… and stomped all over the garden.

I’m not sure which plants will grow or where. But I’m sure something will come up. I tried to help them plant the peas a little more thoughtfully, since we had to sow those a couple of inches below the surface. Either way, I’m sure they will be thrilled when they start seeing little plants sprout up in their garden. We’ll also transplant some of the seedlings we started indoors later on when the weather is warm enough.

I can’t wait to see how their garden progresses! Hopefully they’ll grow to love their garden as much as I love mine!