Sun’s out, Seeds Down

It finally stopped raining in central New England- at least for today. I was so excited I decided to start planting the Food It Yourself 2019 garden. Also, my neighbor has been working on his garden, and I want mine planted first. Don’t judge me. This is the one thing I get really competitive about.

First, I needed to hit up my local garden center for a few herbs and some tomatoes. The ones I started from seed are looking surprisingly lively, but I do not trust my own tomato sprouting skills. Thankfully, the professional seed sprouters offered two of my favorite tomato varieties this year. I got a six pack each of Romas and Lemon Boys. Yellow tomatoes, am I right?

As you can see from my wagon, I also picked up some herb plants. My thyme did not winter over nicely, so I bought two more. My sage didn’t survive at all, so I found a lovely variegated replacement. I divided my lavender and I think I killed it, so I picked up a replacement. I also bought a rosemary, since that just does not winter over this far north.

I also picked up a variety of tea making herbs- peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, and something called “orange mint”. It is a variety of mint with a citrusy overtone. It should be fun to play with.

Next, it was time to get digging. First, I planted the potatoes from the back of the pantry. Yes, those sprouty spuds you forgot about months ago will grow if you get them in the dirt.

The key is planting them as deeply as you can. The new potatoes will grow between the old potato and the soil line. My plan is to add more soil on top as the leaves start to form to maximize my yield. Best of all, this method uses something that would usually go to waste. There are no losers in this game.

Next, it was tomato time. You know I always plant my basil between my tomatoes. This year, I added a third friend to my tomato beds- garlic. Just an extra head from the grocery store, broken up into cloves. I planted four cloves down the middle of each tomato bed. Experts say the garlic helps repel pests. We shall see if they are correct.

The rest of the planting in the vegetable beds is pretty boring to look at; I will share pictures as things start to sprout. I will share this picture of my main rabbit determent plan. Every bed will have a defensive boarder of marigolds. I found the good, old fashioned, smelly ones at Seed Savers Exchange. Take THAT you adorable, cotton tailed freeloaders!

The herbs that are not basil were planted in the newly expanded front yard beds. I cannot wait to start experimenting with mint blends. I also learned that both the flowers and leaves of my ever-expanding bee balm can be used in tea. Speaking of bee balm…

Check out this cool planter I made! I think this is my favorite thing I have done so far this garden season. It is in the front yard and as you can see my bee balm looks wonderful in it. (I planted some zinnias, too but they obviously have not sprouted yet.)

There is still more to be done in the Food It Yourself garden, but I am tired and sore. Thankfully, I remembered to wear sunblock, so at least I am not burned. The last few plants will be planted soon, and then it will just be that anxious waiting game for the crops to start coming in.

How is your garden going this year? Are you trying new things? Let’s chat about it in the comments section.