It’s a Start…

This is simultaneously the most wonderful and the most irritating part of the gardening season in central Massachusetts. Everything is in the ground, but it feels like an eternity until harvest time. No matter how much I try to will those seedlings into maturity, it is not within my power. That annoys me. I think this is a feeling shared by all gardeners.

I am glad to report that, after what seems like an eternity, things are starting to pop up.

The string beans started to break the surface of the soil yesterday, and now are looking quite happy. The extra beans I planted in-between the ground cherries (top right photo) are looking especially perky. The corn (top left photo) is a bit sparse. This might be because the seeds were left over from last year. I also suspect some local songbirds have got to the seeds before they sprouted. The snow peas are finally stretching their tendrils, and a few flower buds have appeared. The bok choy is filling out; we actually ate a few heads this week. The carrots are taking their time, but carrots do that.

I am pleased so far with the chrysanthemum greens (see photo to the right). They have a very delicate flavor. They definitely taste a bit like an autumn chrysanthemum smells, but in a good way. I will let some of them go to flower as the weather warms up. I have read that the flowers make a delicious tea.

Speaking of tea, I am already picking fresh lemon balm and mint for tea. I divided my thyme plants and actually culled some; it was taking over. My oregano is not far behind. I have six parsley plants in the front yard garden, and I think I may have a volunteer cilantro. The chamomile looks good, but I know the rabbits will be after it.

As usual, I am especially impatient for my tomatoes to start producing. My stockpile of preserved pints and quarts have been used up. Logically I know I will not get a ripe tomato until late July, at the earliest. It will be weeks after that before they are ripening en masse and I have enough at one time to fill the canner. I still spend a few minutes each day looking for the first flowers.

One thing that has me feeling very optimistic for this year’s crop is the number of plants I have. I bought 18 plants, 6 cherry tomato and 12 Roma. I have at least a dozen volunteer tomatoes that planted themselves, however. I might have to get extra creative finding room for them all without crowding them and inviting pests, but that is a challenge I would be very happy to have.

A challenge I am looking forward to much less, involves my strawberries. They need a major rehab. The soil needs replenishing. The plants are much too close together. I can not fix either of those problems just yet, though. There is poison ivy growing in the beds, and I can not do the necessary work until that urushiol-laden vine of pure evil is eradicated. This will involve sacrificing some strawberry plants and using harsh chemicals.

I know glyphosate or triclopyr are not the most friendly substances, but they do what needs doing. The home remedies do not work. I tried every one I could find on the interweb, and they all failed. I am using them only on the poison ivy, and following the manufacturer’s instructions. These are the tough choices we have to make. I have zero regrets.

There is so much going on in the Food It Yourself garden right now. The good, the bad, the uncertain- I have to admit I love it all. One thing is certain, gardening is never boring. How is your garden doing? Share in the comments section.