So, I bet you’re wondering, if this post is about broccoli on St. Patrick’s Day, of all things, why is the first picture of my injured foot? Because this is my first official injury of the 2016 gardening season. You see, I practice extreme gardening. This is all-out, no holds barred gardening free of restrictions and sometimes safety precautions. Which is how I came to be turning over dirt for my broccoli seeds on a chilly St. Patrick’s Day afternoon in my flip flops. A stick reared up and attacked me, and of course I had to counter attack. I overcame, but ended up with a nasty scratch.
Anyways, I digress. You are actually probably wondering why I am planting broccoli on St. Patrick’s Day, instead of peas, as the expression goes. Well, I guess I don’t have a good reason, except that I have slacked this year and didn’t get my broccoli seed started ahead of time. So, for the first time, I am direct-seeding it in the garden. Broccoli is a cool weather plant that can take chilly early spring temperatures. This year, I planted 2 types of broccoli, Long Harvest All Season Blend, from Renee’s Garden, and Waltham 29 from Botanical Interests. I also planted the Chef’s Choice Blend Cauliflower from Botanical Interests.
In my yard, I have a lot of rabbits, and NO fence, so I have to be protective of my baby broccolis. I saved old plastic milk jugs and cut the bottom and tops off. I fit a stick through the handle hole and I have mostly wind proof rabbit protection, with built-in sunlight and rain openings.
In addition, I also turned over soil in a few other beds in my garden. I am pretty pleased with the condition of my soil in the spring. All the straw I use for mulch throughout the year gets left there over the winter to break down. In the spring, I shovel what’s left into the soil, along with a few leaves and some other organic matter. The bunnies are helpful with my soil through the winter. They do their bunny business and add lots of nitrogen-rich fertilizer to the dirt. That gets shoveled in with the straw.
In the turned over section, I planted lolla de vina lettuce, Grandpa Admire’s lettuce, long-standing spinach, and a red romaine. The tiny seeds of lettuce I just scatter over the dirt and rake them in. I mist the soil and try to keep it moist until I see the seeds starting to germinate. There are no peas yet, but I’ve got time for that. Hopefully in the coming weeks, I’ll have time to get peas, carrots, onions and radishes in the ground.
Spring is such an exciting time for a gardener, and I love poking around to see what edible and non-edible things and coming up. One of the first things I see in the spring are my chives. I have two kinds, garlic and regular.
The herbs usually start back early, especially thyme. I can’t help running my hands through it as I go by, to get that fantastic smell. The smell of thyme conjures up memories of summer and pizza and cooking. I wouldn’t even care if I didn’t eat it. I would grow it just for the smell.
Here is a picture of some bronze fennel coming up that reseeded itself in my flower bed. I don’t eat fennel at all, but I DO grow it just for the beautiful, feathery soft foliage. I can’t hardly go by it in the summer without reaching into the plant and running my fingers through the leaves.
This year, I pledge to show you more of my gardening, and share what’s growing and being harvested in my garden. I hope that there will be a lot of recipes and pictures, and I hope you will share with me as well. I love to see what others are doing in their yards and kitchens; I get so much inspiration from seeing them. Happy Gardening this year and Happy Spring! If you’re an extreme gardener like me, then best wishes and good luck!