This is truly one of the earliest I've ever put my garden in. I'm usually so busy with work at this time of year, and beyond (school goes until almost the end of June), there that are often times when I'm planting at the end of June. I worked very hard last year digging out every strawberry plant, as they had taken over three-quarters of my vegetable garden. I absolutely love strawberries, but I wanted an old fashioned vegetable garden with lots of room to grow many different things. I covered a big portion of the bed with an old carpet and pieces of our old pool liner to try and choke out weeds as well. I then raked a fairly thick cover of leaves onto the area of the vegetable garden that was still bare.
This late spring, I peeled back the carpet and the pieces of pool liner. They had done a pretty good job, but wouldn't you know it, that bind weed still managed to curl itself up and even attach to the back of the carpet! Well, we all know bindweed comes from hell anyway. Then I used my beloved rear-tine rototiller and worked the soil in one direction, old half-decomposed leaves with it. When I was done one round of tilling, I shovelled out about three-quarters of my compost, made up of old leaves, clippings, kitchen scraps, and chicken manure mixed with wood shavings. It was on its way to being fully decomposed, but not quite, however I think it will still add great nutrients to the soil and help keep in moisture. I covered as much of my vegetable garden as I could with compost, then roto-tilled the other direction, working everything in. I followed up with some raking to smooth things over. I was pretty pleased with the results. My garden is about 22 feet by 22 feet with a compost "bin" in the corner made from old pallets.
Today after "work" I got out my plan, and started marking out my rows. One thing you need to know about me, is I don't do "straight". I can't eyeball things and be able to tell if they are straight. I hate sewing curtains because I'd always have one a bit wonky, a slightly different length than the other. Pictures on the wall are checked by husband, as I'm probably incorrect as to whether they are hanging straight or not.
I realized that if I was going to pack vegetables into this bed with any success at all, I was going to need actual straight rows, so I grabbed, yes actually, pieces of rebar left over from who knows what building project. They are a dream to hammer into the soil. I rigged up my string and paced out my rows (did not use a tape or ruler for measuring, instead relying on my feet in my Birkenstocks to be almost one foot long - so much for accuracy, but it worked).
Back when the sky was falling and nobody even knew what reality would look like, I decided to order some seeds and start some plants because I wasn't sure if I would be able to buy bedding plants and such. Well, as it turns out garden centres are open and I could have bought any number of vegetable plants, and will still be buying some flowers for urns and window boxes. But I did start some seeds - tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, and zucchini (yup, had to look up the spelling again!).
There aren't many perennials or shrubs flowering quite yet, even though we had a heat wave (followed by single digits at night and cool, windy days), but here are a couple:
This is centaurea which takes on an iridescence in the early evening. You cannot kill this stuff!
This is a type of viburnum shrub. The clusters of blossoms have a unique sweet smell.
Of course, because I was wandering around outside taking pictures, the girls rushed to the fence, wondering if I might have something for them. They go crazy over dandelion leaves (no shortage of those here!) . Today they got a cucumber that was in the beginning stages of being mush in the crisper and the outside edges and core of a pineapple. Life is good.
Yesterday, we lost power for a little while in the morning. Our neighbour told our son it was because a squirrel got into a transformer. It wasn't this guy, because we've seen him and his double since then.