Apr 12, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Back when we were first looking at houses (in Houston) our biggest requirement was enough yard for a garden. We found it. I plotted and planned, bought seeds and books, only to be uprooted six months later to a much different climate. Again, my biggest requirement was enough yard for a garden. Again, we found it. Not only found it, but hit the jackpot, I'd say! When we moved in, they left their vegetable garden for us. In addition to the (now empty) raised beds, there are two strawberry towers, red and golden raspberry bushes, two apple trees, and a cherry tree (the only plant that hasn't produced fruit yet).
The previous owners had done loads of landscaping!
Again, I plotted and planned, researched and read, and after many trips to the library and local hardware/garden center, came up with a garden that should do well in Bayfield's 77-day growing season. Yes, my Houston friends, you read that right. 77 days. As in, "don't plant until after the last frost on June 30, and be prepared for the first frost to hit September 7". It reminds me a lot of going to college in Montana. I thought nothing could grow in that 88-day growing season (and I killed several plants trying). So, with hope in my heart we started our seeds indoors on March 31. I thought I might even be a little late to the party, as friends of ours here in Colorado were telling us they had started their seeds in the first weeks of March.
All of our sweet baby seeds, hanging out in the nursery (aka baby's room).
I kind of decided to go all out and plant everything we have to see what grows and what doesn't. Nothing to lose but a few of the hundred seeds I have accumulated, right? Every night since we planted the seeds, I have fervently prayed that they would grow. To my SHOCK, most of our seedlings have sprouted, and several have roots piercing through the peat pots! The corn is especially quick growing. We planted green and chimayo peppers, blue hubbard squash, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, sweet yellow onions, oak leaf lettuce, carrots, basil, oregano, mint, lavender, and forget-me-nots. I'm experimenting with garlic chives, ginger, celery, potatoes, romaine, and any other kitchen scraps I think might grow! I bought other seeds, but we ran out of peat pots: radishes, cilantro, marigolds, and nasturtiums. We're planning on planting concord grapes along one of the fences as well.
Notice we tried to plant the peas in an egg carton? Cute idea, but dumb. At least, dumb for peas. Maybe if I'd planted a smaller seed it would have been ok, but the peas are growing out of them, and I'm going to have to re-pot them before we can transplant them outside. I'm so disappointed by the wasted time and effort! The peppers are the only things that haven't pushed through, but I'm not expecting them for a few more weeks. I'm afraid my carrots are going to be really gnarly, because they didn't get evenly spaced and I'm not sure how to thin them out without killing the ones I want to keep.
Our peas are 3" tall. I'm moving them to larger peat pots tonight.
Corn, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers.

Oak leaf lettuce, sweet yellow onions.

Onions, carrots, and a row of forget-me-nots
I've wondered how long I can put off before I transplant the largest of the seedlings. It's only been two weeks since we planted them, but I shouldn't plant them outside until after June 30 - some of them will have DEFINITELY grown out of their containers by then! We do have hoops set up over two of the beds, so I'm looking up information this week on tarping/tenting/greenhousing (is that a word?) those beds. I did run into a woman at the park who grew up here and said her family has always planted outside on Mother's Day weekend and then covered the beds. I guess we'll give that a try and I'll start praying that they survive any cold snaps!


  1. Wahoo! Way to go-- I am sooo impressed!

    In my dreams, I am a fantastic gardener. But in reality? Let's just say I'll vicariously live through you until I figure out how NOT to kill everything I plant. :-p

  2. This garden is seriously impressive! I want to grow an avocado tree from an avocado I bought this weekend. I hope it works.