Mid-March –
The official beginning of spring is almost here. There are a few preparations not yet done. Too late really. Compost should have been added sooner, so it has more time to break-down. I’m anxious to get the garden started, so I add it anyway and till it into all the vegetable beds.

Tilling Vegetable Beds

Tilling Vegetable Beds

Mid-April –
Even with the risk of frost or snow, I add new plants to the strawberry bed, and sow onions, garlic, and lettuces. Very soon after, the tripods are stood up for the sugar snap peas. I sow two beds with peas this year. Add some spinach seeds to the lettuce beds.

Tripods for the Peas

Tripods for the Peas

New Strawberry Plants

New Strawberry Plants

If there is a frost, no worries. Spraying the garden hose on sensitive plants at dawn will actually help prevent damage. In the worst case, I reseed.

Two cubic yards of leaf mulch are applied to the beds. It’s dark and will absorb warmth from the sun, and keep the dirt moist.

The Plan –
The peas will be harvested, and the plants removed as soon as it is too hot. They usually die by mid July anyway. They will be replaced with lettuce in the bed under the oak, replaced with sweet potatoes in the bed with full sun.

Tomatoes will be planted with companions of garlic and onions. The triangles will be sown with more lettuces and spinach.

July 20 –
Sweet potatoes are finally in the ground.  I had worked the bed for a few days during the past week, after pulling out the accumulated weeds. Plants were no longer available for purchase, so I had to start my own. It’s better that way, and I’ll plan for that next year.

The potatoes in storage start growing anyway, so it’s just of matter of cutting sections and rooting them in water.  I left the “slips” in an old rubber feed dish, only replenishing the water…enough to keep the roots immersed, but the stems and leaves above the water. I only started 8 plants, putting them in the ground as soon as they were ready (two batches of four).

Tomatoes have been planted and appear to be doing well. They are still small but numerous, so we should be able to can some tomato sauce this year.
June and early July would have been a great time to collect mulberries from the trees, and try to make mulberry jam or pie. But I missed the window, and they are gone now.

Update –
The onions and garlics around the edge of the tomatoes started well but suffered from too much water. I need to find the right balance of moisture for these companions as they do well otherwise. for the tomatoes and peppers was too much for the onions and they started to rot. Still, pulled out some good onions and expect a few garlics.  I need a dedicated space for those and should try starting them in the fall.

Onions and garlics did well on the edge of the tomato bed, however, the amount of water for the tomatoes and peppers was too much for the onions and they started to rot. Still, pulled out some good onions and expect a few garlics.

Added grape vines for the gate frames, and they started growing very well in late June. By July, the Japanese beetles ate all the leaves. And not just on the grapes. Event the London plane seedlings and river birch trees have been eaten. Too are few cherries to bother, and the beetles got the leaves from those and the apples. I must add milky spore to the soil in the fall. Purchase the milky spore, and wait for a rainy evening to apply it. The rain will soak it in, before the sun can kill the spores.

Blueberries have done very well so far, in spite of the Japanese beetles. There are still a few traces of mint and other weeds around the base, but keeping the base of the blueberries weed/plant free is clearly the right approach.