I was only able to spend three hours this week in the garden, but productive hours they were. Progress is slow but I'm already starting to see the results.
This week's trip brought me smiles as I discovered lots of new seedlings emerging from the chard, spinach, pea, carrot and turnip beds. Newly planted flowers are starting to bloom as well. I was mentally prepared to wait for the carrots to appear after reading The Carrot Seed to our daughter countless times, but less than two weeks later, here they are.
Of course, with lots of seedlings, comes lots of thinning. Next week will be spent hunched over pulling out extras. You have to be ruthless or the plants won't grow well when they're too crowded. I was able to start thinning the bok choi this week. There will be another thinning once the bok choi has grown a bit more but those will be big enough to go into a salad.
This weekend's job was to tackle the bee and butterfly gardens surrounding the raised beds. I was able to find most of the main foundation plants in 4" containers at the garden store, which will save a lot of money since I need a lot of plants. They'll grow quickly once spring arrives.
The feature foundation plant will be Smokebush 'royal purple (Cotinus coggygria), seen above in the foreground. Its' dark purple foliage will make the surrounding green and pink plants pop. Along the back of the beds will be mass plantings of feather reed grass "karl foerster" (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) to define the back edge. In front are Anise hyssop 'Vivid' (Agastache), Verbena bonariensis, pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida), California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum foliolosum) and 'Red Velvet' yarrow (Achillea millefolium). I also squeezed in some extra english peas in one of the beds and the seeds have already sprouted.
There will be much more bee loving flowers soon. The irrigation takes longer than the planting to set up but will pay off down the road. Though it doesn't look like much now, below are before and after pictures of a beautiful garden by Kate Frey, a landscape designer in Hopland, CA. See more of Kate's work here.
|The Melissa Garden by Kate Frey, February 2008.|
And after four months, this is what the garden became.
|The Melissa Garden by Kate Frey, July 2008.|
Patience and ample plant spacing makes for a beautiful garden. At least it's starting to pay off in the vegetable beds.
Just a few more weeks and we'll have plenty of ingredients for stir fries.