Food It Yourself Garden 2020- A Work in Progress

After a week of delightfully spring-like weather, central Massachusetts was once again beset by snow this weekend. Monday, thunderstorms are predicted all day. This is nuts, even for New England.

I assume the weather will eventually settle in to a springy-summery type pattern. It always has before. I have been taking advantage of the good days to start reshaping the Food It Yourself garden.

One big project was thinning out the strawberry bed. I moved the herbs from their spot under the cherry trees to the beds next to the front door. I used the empty bed, and a new one I dug (you can see it in the foreground of the picture) to put a little more space between strawberry plants. Some of the strawberries are already blooming, so am glad I was able to complete this project early.

I moved my mints and lemon balm to the back yard, where I had a large space for them. If you have never grown herbs from the mint family, be warned that they can spread far and quickly. If you have only limited space for mint, do not be dissuaded from planting it, though. If you keep it in a pot it will be easy to manage the size of the plant.

I took a good number of cuttings to share with friends and coworkers. I will most likely not be back to the office until mid June, but so far all the cuttings are looking happy in their little pots. I think they will be fine for another month or so.

I am ecstatic with the daffodil and hyacinth bulbs in the front yard. They have been in full bloom for about a week and still look perfect. The blossoms were not the slightest bit bothered by the cold, snow and high winds.

The bumble bees are already enjoying those flowers. You can see that I have also added another front yard bed. That will be for tomatoes. Yes, I am going to grow tomatoes in my front yard this year. I could give you a whole spiel about how we are making a public statement on the superiority of gardening over lawn keeping. The fact is our front yard gets more more sun than the back. If we want more tomatoes it makes sense to grow them out front.

I know you are also wondering about those colorful rocks in the boarder. Since the COVID-19 stay-at-home order hit the Bay State I have been watching a ridiculous number of crafting videos. I saw one on making decorated rocks. I followed the instructions and was not disappointed. Check this out:

The video I watched used river stones- the kind that can be purchased at a hardware store for landscaping and water features. Forget that. Who in New England buys rocks? I grabbed some interesting rocks from my yard. I scrubbed them in my utility sink and let them dry. I heated them in a 350F oven for 15 minutes. Note that I lined the cookie sheet with wax paper. I am not sure if that was totally necessary since the rocks were clean and the cookie sheet is metal and can be cleaned afterwards, but it made me feel better.

Then, the fun part began. I took the the hot rocks, one at a time, and used crayons to color them. I did not even try to make specific designs, I just let the colors melt and run and do whatever. I worked on a second cookie sheet covered in wax paper. You probably do not want wax on your cookie sheets or your table. Another tip- I used cooking tongs to handle the hot rocks. Let the rocks cool completely, then use to ornament your garden. Or your potted plants. I am really tempted to make a whole lot of rainbow colored stones and leave them them everywhere I go- grocery store parking lots, sidewalks around my neighborhood, local walking trails, vacant lots…

This might be my new hobby. Seriously, it is fun and requires no art skills at all.

The snow peas, kale, and rhubarb are looking tip-top despite the uneven weather. All of the raised beds are ready for planting. The leak, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds we started are doing great and will be ready to go outside in a week or two. I am very excited to see what the 2020 growing season holds for us in the Food It Yourself house.

What are your garden plans for this year? Share in the comments!