[Oddly, some of my more popular posts over at Slog were about my backyard garden, a stark departure from my wonky policy analysis and foul-mouthed political rants. So I’ve decided to continue these posts here on HA.]
I spent the past few days of fair weather belatedly getting the last of my early spring sowings into the garden before the rains returned. Snap peas, snow peas, carrots, and a variety of lettuces, greens, and herbs have been sown under floating row covers in freshly turned and composted beds. Radishes, arugula, and at least one variety of lettuce have already sprouted. Potatoes have been buried in compost in separate containers. And 20 feet of onion starts are beginning to take root—I’ll start thinning out salad onions in another month so. (I’ve had much better luck with the Walla Walla onion starts that McLendon’s carries than I ever have with sowing directly from seed or from bulbs.)
In case you’re wondering about the floating row covers, they serve dual purposes. These thin yet sturdy pieces of remay fabric let through light, air, and water, yet are light enough to be lifted by the growing seedlings. The result is that they function as a sort of green house, warming and insulating the soil, while keeping out pests. But the row covers are also necessary to protect the beds from cats, squirrels, and other animals that just love to dig through freshly turned soil. Without the row covers the loose soil beckons like a giant kitty litter box. Once the seedlings are well established and the soil crusts over a bit, the cats tend to lose interest.
So I’ve found floating row covers to be an absolute must.
As for what I’m currently eating from my garden, well, not much survived the couple of extended hard freezes we had this winter. I’ve got kale, of course, and in addition to the leaves, the tender stems and flower buds are delicious in stir-fries or sautéed with garlic and tossed with pasta. I’ve still got a few leeks left to harvest, and the over-wintered parsley is coming back nicely and should stock my kitchen until its newly sown replacement matures. Other than that, it’s just perennial herbs—rosemary, oregano, sage, and thyme—plus a few scattered chives.
But next week no doubt I’ll be adding radish and arugula thinnings to my salads, and the 2014 garden season will officially begin.