February Garden Plans in the Piedmont

February Garden Plans in the Piedmont

 Always wanted to try your hand growing a ‘crazy good’ vegetable garden?Edible Landscape 8 1 2011It is easier than you think and February is the time to start your plans and preparations here in the Piedmont.  Let me help you get started~

  • Prepare your beds for late February and early March planting, as well as spring planting.  Don’t freak…there is no need to do extra work like tilling, weeding or removing layers of grass.  If this is your first year trying “Tess’ Till-less Method” here are the instructions.
  • Plan where you will put your beds and what you will grow in them.  This post might help with that.
  • Take inventory of last years seeds and make a list of what you will need for spring/summer.
  • Prune fruit trees and bushes when temperatures are above freezing.
  • Start seeds indoors.  Aerogarden with Cilantro and Dill 4 2011I use an Aerogarden as my starter; however, you can certainly use a starting tray and seed starting potting mix.  A lid will help keep humidity in and the seeds moist when they sprout.  Spinach, cabbage, kale, lettuce,  broccoli and cauliflower all grow well when started as transplants inside.  When you see the first crocus open, consider it time to set out transplants of lettuce, cabbages, and onions; cover them on cold nights.
  • I also start my basil, parsley and other herbs indoors at this time as well.  My sweet marjoram, oregano and thyme are all planted in the ground on my front lawn and come back every year.  The rosemary flourishes all year long, as does bay leaf (thus far anyhow – see the rosemary in the lefthand corner of the picture below – swiss chard doesn’t look so hot 😉 but, believe it or not, that is from LAST WINTER so it certainly performed well – bless it’s heart).IMG_3194
  • This is the time to start your annual flower seeds like petunias, marigolds and zinnias inside.
  • Later on in the month, start warm-season veggies such as tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, squash and peppers indoors.
  • In late February or when daffodils ‘pop’, plant peas directly in the garden.  So yummy and super simple to grow!  You may want to cover with clear plastic until you see sprouts popping through the ground.  Use a trellis so they will have a structure to grow up immediately.  This allows for a bigger yield.
  • You can also plant radishes and cold hardy lettuces directly in the garden at this time.
  • Clean up!  This means cutting back ornamental grasses like lirope, raking up debris and composting when possible.
  • Check out and sharpen/repair your garden tools so you will be ready to ‘go’ on those warm, sunny days in the coming months.
  • Clean our your tool shed and make a list of what you will need for the coming growing season.  Do you need twine?  plant labels?  watering wand?  gardening gloves?  hat?

One more helpful tip…work your garden according to the signs.  This means that I use an almanac to plant, to prune and to harvest.  Watch for a post this weekend on when the ‘signs’ tell you to do these things during the month of February!  May sound weird but my grandfather gardened this way and, believe me, it makes a difference!!!

And there you have it!  Your February ‘To-Do’ list!!!  Now all you need is the desire to feed your family foods that you KNOW is as organic as it can be and a desire to get your hands in the dirt!  It does not take much space at all and  you can make it visually attractive by adding annuals, bird-feeders  bird-baths, pavers.

IMG_2460

Worked in among my ‘regular’ landscape are tomato plants, rosemary, basil and asparagus.  It is beautiful…so much so that my neighbors are on board and are planning their Tess’ Till-less Edibles on their front lawn this year as well!  It really is contagious – especially after you share some of your fresh, organic bounty with them!!!

Happy Planning and PLANTING everyone!!!

 

 

 

Planting Day in the Piedmont

Good morning, my friends!  Guess what today is based on Mr. Almanac?  It is the blessed day you get to plant your summer garden.  I am so excited I can hardly contain myself!!!  Needless to say this will be a very short post as I must get started planting.

Since our last ‘chat’ I decided to add yet another row to my edible landscape.  I know…I know…I really need a farm.  🙂  Regardless, I must work with what I have right now and I am working it GOOD!!!  I now have five rows, an area around my mailbox and an area around my lamp post.  Today I will be planting tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, peppers, okra and green beans.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it and remembering the deliciousness from last year.  Here is a picture of my bounty from one morning last summer:

Deliciousness...© 7 2010

Three rows, folks…just three rows of veggies produced approximately this much every single day.  It was amazing and the reason I am chomping at the bit to get outside and get started on this .  So…here is your “BEFORE’ picture:

BEFORE © 5/7/2011

 I will post my “AFTER” picture this evening or in the morning dependent upon my level of exhaustion. 🙂  I hope you all are doing the exact same thing today or tomorrow.  If not, the next good days for planting above ground crops are Saturday, May 14th and Sunday, May 15th . 

Bib overalls on?  Check!  Coffee in hand? Check!  Gabe and Bailey (my Goldens) requesting their collars?  Check!  Well then, it must be TIME to get outside and get started!  Whatever you are doing today – enjoy!  I know I surely will~

Spring = New Life = Happiness

 

Cilantro and Dill © 4 2011

Spring has sprung here in the Piedmont and this Southern girl could not be happier…or any more tired…as I have been busy making preparations for my 2011 lasagna gardening ventures.  My latest experiment involved planting organic vegetable seeds in my Aerogarden.  What is an Aerogarden you might ask ?  Well, it is one of my best gardening purchases ever.  I found mine at Tuesday Morning; however, you can find their products online at aerogarden.com.  The Aerogarden is known as “The World’s First Kitchen Garden Appliance” and uses hydroponics, lighting, nutrients and built-in timers to make growing just about anything a pleasurable experience. This picture shows the cilantro and dill I grew inside all winter, for use in everything from salads to guacamole, using my Aerogarden 7.  I have since transplanted them outside and they are growing beautifully.

Since everything else I venture to grow has done so well in my Aerogarden I decided to try starting my veggies from seed at home rather than spending money purchasing the plants from a retailer.  It is amazing how being unemployed sparks creativity. 🙂

Aerogarden – Day 6
© 4/19/2011

This is day 6 (right).  My cucumbers, squash and okra have sprouted and are growing unbelievably fast!  I also planted peppers (jalapeno and green), tomatoes (Roma and Cherry), basil, marigolds and zinnias.

Squash and Zucchini from AG © 4 27 2011

This is what my squash and zucchini look like today (left), 13 days after planting.  I have transplanted them to pots already.  Aren’t they beautiful???  I am hardening them so they will be ready for planting outside in my lasagna garden May 3, 2011, as that is the best day for planting above ground crops per the almanac .  ‘Hardening’ means that I take them outside each day, increasing the time daily, allowing them to become acclimated to the outside light and temperature gradually.

As you can see from this picture, it won’t be long at all until my other seedlings are ready to transfer to pots in preparation for the hardening and planting process.

Seedlings © 4/26/2011

To say that I am excited is an understatement.  There is so much I want to share with you:

1) The progress of the green peas, Yukon Gold potatoes and asparagus

2)  My experience using sawdust as a border

3)  Preparation techniques, Sweet ‘T’ style, for last years’ lasagna rows

But right now, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the out-of-doors is calling my name so….until next time….if you need me, I will be in my little piece of heaven on earth….my garden!!!  Chow~