Early Spring in the Garden

It is beginning to feel like spring here, and there is a lot to do to prepare the garden for the new growing season.

Recent work in the garden:

* We have covered the area designated for the maize patch with black polythene, hoping to knock back the kikuyu grass before digging the new bed. We have also covered over another area for a new potato bed.

*The first potatoes have already taken off, and I’ve been outside weeding and mulching them. We hope to have new potatoes in time for Christmas.

*Jerusalem artichoke and yacon tubers have been planted in a well-dug bed, and Chinese yam is just beginning to sprout inside the living room window.

*We have been clearing out some of the crops that have over-wintered to make space for spring planting. Some of last year’s collards are now massive. We are giving them to the goats as we pull them up.

Becky with collard. Bonnie the dog likes to help.

*We have harvested the first of the “red drumhead” cabbage and globe artichokes. We enjoyed the artichokes last night, with a dipping sauce made of melted butter and juice from freshly-picked lemons. The cabbage has been transformed into two jars of stunningly purple sauerkraut. We are waiting eagerly for the sauerkraut to ripen, so that we can sample it!

Early bounty

*The chamomile I dried last summer for tea has kept us supplied right through the winter — and I drink a lot of chamomile tea! Now the chamomile is flowering again, and it is time to start harvesting it once more.

*I have planted out the first of the spring lettuces in the garden (green “tree lettuce” and “asian red”).

*Three kinds of peas have germinated, and are almost ready to transplant into the garden. This year we are growing “green feast” (a green shelling variety), “purple flowered snow pea,” and “marrowfat” peas to dry for winter soups. We have to hurry up and fix the trellises for all these peas to climb on.

*Carrots, beets, salsify, cilantro and summer brassicas are also sprouting.

*It still feels a bit cold outside for summer crops like tomatoes, peppers and beans, but I plan to start sowing seeds for summer crops in pots inside the living room window next week, so that they will be ready to go into the garden as soon as possible.

We are hoping to have the summer garden quite well established by mid-November, when our baby is due. We’ll see how we go!

6 Responses to “Early Spring in the Garden”

  1. Cindy says:

    Becky, I had an early delivery due to being bent over doing all things, gardening. We were trying to get our house ready for sale and had planted a few flowers in the front yard and contractions started. Doctors said that it was two things 1) bearing down position and 2) dehydration as it was around 95F outside. Please be careful and try to take it slow and easy. So, have you decided on a name? Is there a large tree somewhere near the house that will provide shade to put a porch swing on? Growing up, my parents had one until I was weened from bottles and replaced it with a tire swing and it was one of my fondest memories. Wishing you an uncomplicated and easy delivery.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Hi Cindy,

    Oh boy, I’ll have to be careful not to overdo it, especially as the weather gets warmer. Seems like quite a fine balance between doing enough and too much.

    There’s no obvious place for a porch swing, here, unfortunately, but we have found a really nice second-hand rocking chair that I’ve just finished fixing up. It’s sitting next to the sliding doors in the living room, looking out at the garden. We are both looking forward to rocking the baby in it, and it’s already become a popular spot to relax in.

    Thanks for your kind wishes,

  3. Michelle says:

    So how are the goats? What do you plan to do
    with them, or are they pets?
    Thanks, Michelle

    P.s. Have fun with the baby.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Hi Michelle,
    We’ll be breeding Daphne and Lulu (the goats) when they are old enough, and plan to milk them. We really like the idea of making some goat milk cheese! So, as milking animals, they are a bit like pets. We spend time with them and encourage them to be friendly and easy to handle, and we do not plan to eat them. Their offspring, however, will be destined for the freezer, since we do not have the space or desire to keep a whole herd of goats.
    We are looking forward to meeting the baby and having lots of fun.
    Thanks for your comment.

  5. GK says:

    I have heard at a farm-stay in the Wellington region that Alpacas like to eat Kikuyu grass. Any plans to add one?

  6. Rebecca says:

    Hi GK,
    That’s really interesting about the alpacas. We had no idea that they liked to eat kikuyu grass. We think alpacas seem like neat creatures, but the Farmlet is pretty fully stocked already with the animals we have. So, no plans to add an alpaca in the near future, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind.