Spring is nearly here. That means its time to get gardening in earnest!
I have written tons of posts and made lots videos about gardening over the years. So, below, I’m going to detail what I’ve got going on in my garden right now and what’s coming up in the near future. Then, I’ll also intersperse links to some of my related posts. That way you can get a sense of the timing of planting things and click out to read more detailed articles on the vegetables or spices you’re interested in.
Also, if you are a first time gardener, check out my 10 post series about starting and enjoying your first potager on my Everyday Potager page.
Let’s get into the garden and see what’s going on!
General Garden Preparation
The past few weeks have been all about mulching to minimize weeds, compost amending to nourish the soil, and generally getting the garden in great shape for planting. I did a lot of rearranging in my large potager. So, after all that soil disturbance to rearrange beds and walkways, covering and protecting the soil to keep it weed-free and protected until the plants start growing in was my top priority.
I’ve put my first potatoes in the ground in one of my edible landscape areas. These were planted in 4 inch furrows that I’ll mound over once and then harvest as new potatoes in late spring. My long storage potatoes will be planted about 8 inches deep in prepared garden beds this weekend. I am also going to grow some potatoes in grow bags toward the end of the month when it’s warmer. I love planting potatoes because they are so easy to grow, so calorie dense, and have such beautiful foliage to help fill in the garden early in spring.
Onion sets went in the ground last week. Normally I plant them at the end of February, but I got a late start this year. I also have onion plants growing in pots in the greenhouse that will go out next week. I grow both sets and plants because once I lost my plants to extreme weather events in early April. The plants just weren’t well-rooted enough when hurricane level winds came through and they were ripped out and blown all over the yard. The sets, however, are started deeper, rooted earlier, and haven’t let me down yet. The plants, though, potentially grow larger and are less prone to early flowering since they’ve never gone dormant. So, that’s why I hedge my bets and plant plenty of both.
It’s also time to direct sow lettuce, arugula, carrots, beets, kale, spinach, cabbage, turnips, peas, and a few more. They may take a couple of weeks to germinate due to our temperature fluctuations outdoors. They also often germinate irregularly when early planted which means I might have plants maturing at different rates. Personally, though I consider that a plus so I can stagger my harvests without having to stagger my planting. Still, I always plant extra seeds at this time of year to make sure I get good germination overall.
Indoors, I am getting peppers and tomatoes going. I also direct seed some tomatoes in May to keep the harvest going strong into fall. Also, just in case I get some early pathogens, my later started, entirely outdoor grown plants always seem immune to those fungal pathogens and help guarantee my harvest.
I planted some more asparagus too. We’re up to about 60 plants. Supposedly you only need 10 plants per person. But I think that’s only true if you don’t like asparagus as much as I do!
It’s also spice time in our garden. While I was writing the book on how to Grow Your Own Spices, I devoted a lot of greenhouse, garden, and office area to grow spices so I could test their temperature tolerances, find out their fertility needs, etc. Now though, I am more in love with those plants than ever. So, I’ve been creating dedicated planting areas for my spice collection both indoors and out. I’ll share more about that as the warm weather sets in. But for now, here’s some info to help you get started growing spices in your garden.
Some of my breadseed poppy plants have already emerged. But I am still waiting for the new seeds I sowed not too long ago to come up.
The fennel has self-sown in a dedicated patch and a mix of new and old plants are putting on leaf growth. The caraway too is has green tops growing again after it’s winter respite.
I have some fall planted mustard and coriander growing now and I planted some more yesterday in compost enriched beds.
My fall planted garlic tops are perking up and unfurling new leaves now that daylight hours are increasing and temperatures are warming up.
Growing, Harvesting, and Curing Garlic (with video)
I also planted some entire garlic heads that had started sprouting indoors in my new spice garden area. These will provide lots of harvestable greens to use for cooking in spring, fall, and even part of winter. They’re just like green onions, only garlic flavored!
I’ve also prepped a deep soil bed in the garden to use to grow chicory with large roots perfect for using as a coffee enhancement and liver tonic. The seeds go in today.
I finally dug up the last of my horseradish harvest. Then, I covered the bed with compost to nourish the soil and minimize weeds after all that soil disturbance I did excavating the roots.
I’ve mulched the area around my outdoor planted Sichuan pepper shrub. I also pruned away the winter damage to my lavender plants and applied a light layer of compost around the root zone to nourish the plants for the year.
I’ve done pre-spring maintenance on my greenhouse grown plants like allspice, tamarind, kaffir lime, peppercorns, galangal, cardamom, and bay laurel. Those that needed it were potted up or topped with compost rich potting mix. I’ve also started fertilizing the plants that are putting on new leaf growth with compost tea.
Cumin seeds have also been planted in paper cups in the greenhouse. I’ll transplant them under cover later this month.
My turmeric mothers and ginger rhizomes for planting are also developing nodes, letting me know they need to be planted.
Other Ways to Learn
Thanks to my book, I am also getting all sorts of opportunities to work with other people and organizations who do an amazing job sharing information on gardening. So, please check out these other venues where you can find information from me and lots of other amazing gardening information.
I recently chatted with Jill McSheehy on the Beginner’s Garden podcast. We had lots of fun swapping garden experiences. We got into a lot of detail on growing ginger and some strategies on how to choose which spices to grow first. (Hint: Grow what you blow your grocery budget on!)
I also want to let you know that I’ll be one of the presenters at the Great Grow Along. It’s a 3-day virtual gardening event with over 40 speakers covering a wide range of gardening topics. Get more details here.
Also, if you still need to get a copy of my book, you can order direct from the publisher Quarto and get a 30% discount off the cover price if you use the code GREATGROWALONG in honor of this event.
I hope this will be an amazing gardening year for all of you! Now, the garden beckons… well, that and four baby goats eager to be bottle fed! A homesteader’s fun is never done…