Monday, April 19, 2010
Ready? Set. GO!
I get excited looking at pictures of past summer gardens. I can see how much the clematis has grown from last year. I pulled those Hollyhocks out that you see towering above the arch (the white flowers). I see the Dahlias in the lower right hand corner and it reminds me to get some bulbs. And hurry up! The exciting thing is the different looks you get each year. For me, its not too planned. Sure, I have certain areas for the flowers, for the herbs and the beds are thoughtfully planted, but I also like to randomly tuck things in odd places to see if they work and to add color or texture to a boring area.
In any case, its all fun. It's not meant to be stressful or overwhelming or burdensome. It's not meant to be a source of more tasks or a source of bad feelings. It really should be about rejuvenation, relaxation, attention to nature, and patience. Of course there is work and there are points in the season where you'll need extra time... like, harvesting time. But, you should plan your space according to how the work makes you feel. If you are thinking that it may take too much time, then plant a small garden. How about a garden just for salads? Plant some lettuces, cucumbers and tomatoes. Just three things and see how that goes. I've heard some friends say, "I don't have enough space". Then, make one small bed. Its not about size! Its just about the experience. (Okay, I didn't really just say that.) I've also heard people say, "I don't have a green thumb". I don't get that. Green thumb? Does that mean that there is some magical energy that some thumbs have that make plants grow and those that don't have this thumb can never have plants? There is NO SUCH THING. A brown thumb is just an uneducated thumb. Usually someone who doesn't understand how much to water or someone who doesn't know that you have to actually feed plants.
Okay, so you get the picture. Bottom-line: A garden should be a source of enjoyment. And if something doesn't work out, who cares?
Seeds v. Seedlings:
Having said that, let's get started! I am going to the nursery this week to begin picking out my summer veggies. I am not really good about planting seeds, but each year I give it a try. I have been successful with chard, lettuces, and radishes. In keeping with my low stress philosophy, I usually buy seedlings at the nursery. Then, I can visually plan out my beds by placing the seedlings where I want them. It is fun to use some seeds. But, up to this point, mine have been on an experimental basis. I also suggest planting your seeds sooner rather than later as it becomes more difficult as the sun gets stronger. Only once have I grown something inside and then transplanted it. It was a chard plant that ended up producing me mounds of delicious, beautifully colored leaves. Believe it or not, it was actually hard for me to pull that plant out when the time came because I had watched it start from a seed.
More space planning:
If you have your beds made already, try to plant east to west for the greatest sun exposure. And, plant your tallest crops to the north so they don't shade the rest of the garden. Sometimes this is hard to do, but I use it as a guideline.
And try to incorporate some type of resting spot for yourself. Like a table and chairs, or a bench, or a stool. Just something to sit down and admire your garden. A place to take your morning coffee!
By now, my soil is ready for planting. I hope yours is too. I'm going to Yamagami Nursery this week if you want to join me. Time for action, people!