Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring = Planting Season

The weather is still sporadic here, but everyone is starting to get the spring planting bug. On Friday, my dad, Dan, and I could wait no longer. Since Dan and I’s backyard is still very shady, we decided to team up with my dad.

As usual, spring planting starts with tilling up the garden. After work ended on Friday, I picked up the puppies and drove to my dad’s house, where he and Dan were already halfway done with the rototiller. I would have joined in, but three people around a rototiller = someone losing a foot. Instead, I snapped pictures of the fun. :D

Before calling it a night, we mixed in some compost and covered the garden bed with mulch to prevent weeds from growing.

The next day, my dad and I headed to the greenhouse to get plants. While Lows and Home Depot are good places to go, my dad loves going to a little, family owned business called Williams Greenhouses on Maries Rd. Many people do not know this place exists, but those that do, know how much fun it is to walk around and pick out your plants. The second you walk into the building, you smell the delicious dirt and growing plants scent that makes you want to breath deep and stick your nose into the first flat of tomatoes that you see. Mmm…

In the veggie greenhouse, my dad and I were confronted with dozens of tomato plant varieties. While many were familiar (growing tomatoes is a family tradition), there were some new varieties that we did not recognize. Within minutes, we were chatting about tomatoes and peppers with one of the farmers. The farmer told us that it was still early to plant most of the garden, but recognizing the planting fever in our eyes, he gave us some bean and pea seeds that would hold up well in the remaining few days of cold weather. We purchased our tomato plants and the seeds and said we would be back in a week to get the rest of our garden plants.

Apart from smelling all the tomato plants, the next step in gardening is my favorite – Planting! There is something so invigorating about digging in the dirt; I just love it. While I have gardening gloves, I prefer to do the actual planting with my bare hands. A little dirt under my nails never bothers me! :) I love feeling the soil run through my fingers and placing each seed/plant where it gets to grow.

We finished our planting just in time for the storm clouds to roll in. As we threw the last of the empty plant containers in the trash, rain drops began to fall and water the beginnings of our garden.

When the garden is complete, it will contain zucchini, tomatoes (big and cherry), cucumbers, beans (two varieties), peas, peppers (bell, jalapeno, and chili), sunflowers, and chives. If we have a little extra room, I want to throw in some basil and rosemary, but we can always grow them separately if needed.

Tomato Planting Trick:
Oh, for those who like to grow tomatoes, we picked up a cool, easy trick from an elderly farmer who was watering the plants as we were leaving. He said to place a small, level teaspoon of Epsom salt in the bottom of each hole you dig for your tomato plants. According to him, it will double the yield of your tomatoes! I will let you know how ours grow this year to confirm it. :)

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