Homestead update part two: the garden

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How’s our garden doing? I’m so glad you asked. We have a nice little spring garden underway, which will explode into a much larger summer garden pretty soon, and we’re doing a number of small experiments as part of our ongoing quest for more reliable bounty.

We have a decent lettuce patch, though there’s been some insect damage.

Right next door is arugula. We started those larger plants inside and then transplanted them, and we’re also trying out the direct-seeding method, with (as you can see on the left) pretty good germination. Might be more efficient in the end.

Broccoli on the right! And radishes on the left. By the time the radishes are big enough to bump into the broc, we’ll be harvesting them. This arrangement helps us max out our space.

This mache is past being very good to eat, but we’re letting it go to seed in hopes that we’ll have more volunteer mache in the fall and winter. That happened last year and we really appreciated the bonus salads.

Our spicy greens mix (various mustards and bok choi) is very happy. We think it’s because we finally figured out the "hardening off" concept this year—gradually getting seedlings used to the outdoors before transplanting them. Duh.

All those crops are packed into one 12×5′ bed, with seven of the other eight beds reserved for this warm-weather stuff—tomatoes, eggplant, squash, peppers—currently in the kitchen under grow lights and feverishly anticipating a big move outside! Well, we’re feverish. They seem pretty calm.

The last remaining bed, which until this weekend had chickens on it, will rest through the summer under a blanket of leaves and hay, and in the fall we’ll see how it liked that poultry treatment.

None of our crops ready to eat yet, but that’s not what this time of year is about (assuming one lacks an asparagus patch). Right now, it’s all about what’s to come.

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