I'm a week early this year! I don't think this has ever happened. I usually procrastinate until planting time (mid-May), then sit down and in a burst of time plan everything out and go to the Growing Place to purchase plants.
Each year, if something catches my eye, I might purchase a perennial flower for my front yard, if there's room, or if something died from the previous year. It's a little splurge that will hopefully pay off with beautiful gardens in my front yard. This year a coneflower caught my eye, since the one I had had for several years died mysteriously.
It's called Pixie Meadowbrite Coneflower, and it's supposed to bloom a deep pink/purple, and be on the short side in height. We'll see how it does in the garden. For now, it seems to like the location I chose--not necessary visible from the street, but maybe it'll grow that tall (it's a bit hidden by one of the rocks).
Now on to the chore of the day. I went solo for this huge task, since my guys were helping a young couple in our church move into their new home. The guys had hoisted those 50-pound bags of compost out to the veggie garden for me. Today, it was all up to me.
First, I spread the fireplace ash around in the beds where tomatoes would be growing. The ash is supposed to help the tomatoes with blossom end rot, which I had a few years ago. Either way, it doesn't hurt anything, so I spread it around. No, I didn't lift the bags of compost; I sort of rolled them off the beds so I could spread the ash. Honest.
Here's the overview so far, taken from our pool's deck (which may not be around, since the pool was destroyed in the winter of 2013).
I carefully rolled the bags of compost back into each bed where it was to be spread, then I got to work.
I did pause frequently to rest my back, which gets achier and achier as I work. I had to snap a few pictures of my strawberry patch, where the plants are disobedient and sent out runners into the surrounding mulched pathways. Ah, well, I'll pick those berries, too, I guess!
Okay, back to work on the compost.
As I spread the compost, I noted that there were a few clumps of garlic that I would have to transplant for this year's garden to work the way I had planned. Garlic plants are hardy, so I had no qualms about digging them up and moving them elsewhere in the garden.
Garlic plants (laid in the path temporarily) will go in that corner.
Tomato and other plants are ready for planting.
First, I set each plant where I want it to go, just to make sure I have room for everything and I didn't leave something out of my planning paper (which you can see in this blog post).
The overview, after I had laid everything out:
Tomatoes awaiting their holes.
I use organic material whenever possible, and I put some (according to the package directions) into each hole that I dig.
So, next, working one bed at a time, I dug the holes for each plant.
Next, I added the fertilizer to each hole.
Then I loosened the plant from its pot, broke the roots apart a bit, and planted each plant, leaving a ring around each one (like a moat to capture water) and built up a bit in a mound right around the plant.
At The Growing Place, I walked through a garden display called The Eclectic Garden while I was waiting for Fernando to get through the checkout line with the trolley of plants I had chosen. I spotted a plant growing, bent down, and read Alpine Strawberry. OhmygoshI'vealwayswantedthese! I've read about them, and that they don't send out runners like the strawberry plants you saw above, plus they produce strawberries all growing season. A sales associate directed me to their display case, where I could choose the traditional red strawberry, or white, or yellow! I grabbed eight red ones and dashed to the checkout line, where Fernando had just reached the cashier. Whew!
After planting the tomatoes, I stake them with these green metal fence posts. I also use Velcro plant tape my neighbor gave me to anchor them to the stake, so they don't blow over or fall down in the wind.
Green Velcro plant tape.
I purchased two sage plants, since the one I had for several years died (again, mysteriously) last year. I can't wait to make fried sage leaves! Plus, since I dealt with basil downy mildew last year, I chose a different variety this year: Medinette basil.
Below, the main garlic bed is stuffed, so I planted the extras at the end of the sideways bed (Bed E on my planting chart).
Finally, here is an overview when I finally finished, exhausted with an aching back, but completely satisfied with a hard day's work.
Back to life,
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