This week was a very productive one in the garden.
I took the leaf mulch that protected our garlic out of the beds and seeded carrots, lettuce, and scallions between the rows in the front bed; the back bed will be planted with celery and onions between the rows in a few weeks.
I cleaned up the big bed next to our back porch, which was a mess. Last year I split it into two sections and planted onions in one and tomatoes in the other, and I didn't get around to cleaning it up before winter came. So there was much to do, there. Last week George set more big stones around the perimeter, and I nudged them closer together on the long ends to make space for a path between the two main sections. I divided the back section into two smaller parts and seeded spinach, broccoli, and turnips in one. The rest of the bed will be planted with bush beans and pole beans and cucumbers and radishes and probably some more lettuce in a few weeks' time, but now it is covered over with leaf mulch, which I hope will keep the weeds down a bit until I plant.
I also cleaned up the grape bed, against the fence on the south side of our yard, planted a new grapevine to replace the one that failed last year, and mulched it all well with straw. That part of the yard is very weedy, although the weeds seem a bit thinner every year, so I'm hoping the straw will help some with keeping things cleaned up over there. I'd like to underplant with something to help keep the weeds down, but I haven't decided what yet.
The children enjoyed being out in the sunshine. Asher is still digging for something on the edge of the path, and Julia is just Julia: climing and jumping and then resting with the dog.
George is almost finished splitting all that wood from the tree we took down last year. Most of it was split and stacked last summer, of course, but he left a half dozen or so of the largest pieces from near the base of the tree when he ran out of steam. Julia and Asher are sad to see them go; they've spent many hours climbing over them and on them and "walking the plank" off of them (most recently, they've stood in as an imaginary pirate ship).
Looking back at where we were last year at this time, we are miles ahead. One year ago today we were just putting up the garden shed; we hadn't taken the tree down yet, and the only bed we had built yet was the garlic we'd planted in October. And the front yard...we hadn't even begun working on that yet. Now we have just one more bed in the back to clean up and prepare for planting, and in the front garden some of the perennials we planted last year are already beginning to come back; we have to clean up a bit out there, and plant some new things this year.
Last year, when we were just getting started, I wrote: if I have a better idea what I'm doing next year at this time, I'll consider this season a success. This year I feel like we are hitting our stride a bit: I definitely have a better idea what I'm doing. Things aren't looking exactly as I thought they might by now. We've put our chicken plans on hold for the moment, until we know we are where we're going to be long enough to make keeping them worthwhile, and beekeeping will have to wait at least another year as well. But I can already see this year's garden shaping up better than last year's, and all the hard work we did getting started last year is already paying dividends.
How does your garden grow?