• rebeccaecarpenter

What’s Happening in the Garden: First Spring Harvest

It’s been a great month in the garden — plenty of sun, plenty of water — and the early crops are growing beautifully.  This is a particularly lovely time of year to be out in the garden — before the humidity and bugs take over.  So I’ve been outside quite a bit this month, appreciating the opportunity to observe the progress of our little urban farm.  Here’s what’s been happening: Strawberries are popping.  I’ve been pinching off the flowers so the plants can devote their energy to building a strong root & leaf system before fruit develops.  But I couldn’t resist letting these two berries grow… my son and I picked and ate them a few days after this photo was snapped, and they were juicy and sweet.  A perfect beginning to our summer harvest.

Early strawberries. 

Garlic is bursting.  I planted these last fall, and they stayed hidden through the winter.  In early March they sprouted, and now they’re almost two feet high.  They’ll be ready to harvest when the leaves yellow a bit more and start to wilt — around mid-summer here in Virginia.

Elephant garlic, planted last fall.

Leafy greens are leafing.  We have several kinds of lettuce and spinach in the garden, and we’ve been eating it all month.  If you snip lettuce leaves from the outside of the plant, the center will continue to produce leaves, so you can enjoy it over and over again.

Flashy Trout’s Back lettuce.

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce.

Cauliflower and broccoli are heading.  These early season crops won’t last much longer into the warm weather we’re having.  Once I harvest the heads, I’ll dig the plants out of the bed to make room for more mid-season summer crops.

Early season cauliflower.

Herbs are sweetening the air with their heavenly bouquet.   Each morning when I go out to discover what happened in the garden overnight, I gently run my hands through the basil and cilantro, so their fresh aroma will stay with me all day.  The scent transports me to somewhere on the Mediterranean… Italy, Greece perhaps.

We’ve been eating our fill of basil and cilantro all month. 

We haven’t figured out what to do with the Stevia yet, so we just pick it and pop it in our mouth, letting the sweetness melt on our tongues.

And the mystery vine is taking off.  I planted this last fall, then it appeared to have died over the winter, but it showed signs of life early this spring.  Now it is abundant and growing quickly.  I can’t wait for it to develop fruit so I can figure out what it is!

The mystery vine, planted last fall.

So our little urban farm is off and running.  I’m pleased with how the plants are developing, and I’m happy to be learning about the new crops I’ve planted this year.  So far most things are looking pretty good, though I expect some troubleshooting in the not-too-distant future — this is the way with nature.  Next up:  our second spring planting, in our new raised bed.

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