Installing the Garden Bounty

This is the tenth installment in the collective blog series: Painting Our Black Thumbs Green. You can find other related posts in Veggies Squared. This blog meme is held in conjunction with Christina of The Table has Shoes and Other Ambiguities. We’re both garden virgins, making this our first undertaking in producing edibles in our own yards.

This week’s topic: Planting & Transplanting

Find out about how Christina’s garden made it from bare to bountiful here.

You will find no detailed photos of how I deftly transplanted all my little seedlings to their home in the garden.  You will find no pictorial representations of carefully laying out the squares for my direct sow seeds.  I found it incredibly difficult to wield a camera while covered in soil and holding a handful of microscopic seeds.  As it was, it’s highly possible that I will have volunteer carrots growing all over the garden!

Transplanting time happened during the monsoons.  I’d spent two careful weeks coaxing my seedlings into the outdoors a few hours at a time — hardening them off.  And when it was finally safe to plant them the sky opened up and let the deluge fall.  Planting in the rain is not recommended for several reasons.  First, if you’re part cat you’ll be miserable.  Second, soil quickly turns to mud.  And finally, metal objects and thunderstorms don’t bode well for keeping a record of being lightning strike free.

So I waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.

And when I finally got tired of waiting, I decided that I would take advantage of the breaks in the storms!  One day I managed to get all the tomato plants transplanted.  I looked up and saw big black looming clouds and I rushed over to the Squash Section and quickly poked three holes in the ground and popped all my winter squash seeds in the ground, gathered up all my seed packets, my labels, and my tools and rushed in side just before the rain started.  Huh…. novel idea… let nature water my plants in.  I like it!

The next day it was supposed to pour again.  But not between the hours of 3pm and 4pm.  Again, I gathered up all my tools and my seeds and I rushed out into the garden right at 3pm.  The sun was still shining.  I was actually convinced that maybe I’d get the whole thing planted up.  Hah!  I managed to get the summer squash in (again just three quick little holes) and the peppers transplanted.  And actually, transplanting the peppers was a bit dicey.  It was already rumbling out by the time I had secured the grid and planted the squash.  I’m surprised that those pepper plants even made it at all because I really did just stuff them into their holes and then run off inside.  I got wet that time, but my seed packets were safe in their Pyrex containers!

That still left half of my backyard box and all of my front yard box.  Luckily, on the same day that I nearly got flattened planting the pepper plants there was another break in the monsoon and I was able to direct sow the rest of that box with Swiss Chard, Carrots, Marigolds, Haricot Verts, and Midnight Black Turtle Beans.  Again, I didn’t have to water them in…. it rained promptly after I planted them.

The last box I planted up I wasn’t so lucky that nature was willing to do all the watering work for me.  The front box was supposed to be my salad garden.  Sadly, Virginia threw me another curve ball and it got HOT-T early.  By the last week in May we were already having our first heat advisory of the season and temps were reaching 111 with the heat index.  So much for salad; lettuces bolt in heat like that!  But I sowed all of my lettuce mixes anyway.  Rather than follow Mel’s perscribed method of planting for the lettuces I used a more “organic” method found in One Magic Square [affiliate link].  I don’t have much faith in the lettuces, but I’m hopeful for the broccoli I transplanted into the front box, the Bitonto Cherry tomato, and my Alma Paprika pepper plant.  The rest might just be an experiment in frustration.

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