Spring? Maybe?

I have declared that it is spring.  I can walk around in my back yard with bare feet and not get cold.  Not that we haven’t had winter here.  We definitely have had winter.   The apple tree is showing fat buds on the ends of the branches, the daffodils are up, and the roses are sprouting.  We will have more snow, and rain.  It isn’t over yet.  But the warmth of the ground says a lot, and I’ve been busy starting to gear up for gardening season.  Mother Nature may have other ideas, but my gut says spring is here.  We may get moisture, but we won’t get deep cold.

Two weeks ago I picked up six big bags of alpaca poo, and five big bags of rabbit poo from local animal-raisers. Not free, but reasonably priced. With the new raised bed I had my future son-in-law build last fall, I have one more space that needs to be filled.  That bed, 4 foot by 12 feet, was initially filled with leaves from our yard, and some leftover Halloween decorations (pumpkins, gourds, and corn stalks).  I laid down some newspaper on top of all that stuff, and then managed to put about six inches of alpaca manure on top.  The rabbit manure ended up in the two other garden beds – one is raised and on its second season, the other is the small bed near the house, which I’ve used as-is for the last two years without amendments. That first raised bed gave me lots of eggplant last year, as well as a pumpkin and a lot of cucumbers and squash, and it was only filled with leaves, some raw compost (kitchen scraps), and six inches of bunny poo.  I’m hoping for the same results from the new raised bed.

RocksToday, I dug out the edges of that smaller garden (it is about 3 foot by 12 foot) and put in scalloped concrete edging.  The intent was to be able to put a bit more dirt/compost/poo in there so it could fill up, and amend the existing soil.  This actually took me less time than I thought it would, not counting the repair I had to do when I poked the digging fork right through the sprinkler line that goes to the back yard.  Yeah, I’m bright like that.  But overall, laying the edging and backfilling in everything took less than two hours. Like all good Colorado gardeners, I spent plenty of time picking rocks out of the dirt I was digging up.  We grow great rocks here, apparently.

Then I got really brave, and planted kale, two kinds of lettuce, mache, and radishes (all seed) in the sunniest end of that garden.  Last year I grew kohlrabi and green beans in that spot.  I also planted peas along the trellises I usually use for pole beans.  They’ll be done and gone before I need to put in beans.  I also relocated the thyme and rosemary, both of which have survived the winter.  The lemon balm also appeared to survive the winter, which is surprising.  I placed it all closer to the door, where the chives are.  I’ll put in some nasturtium seeds along that edge, and that area will be the herb garden.  I’ll add basil and parsley once the weather is truly warm, which is still months away.

As the weather warms, I’ll add more things.  I have room for cabbages and kohlrabi, which can go out in a few weeks as well.  Squash, tomatoes, beans, and eggplant will have to wait until late May.  And unless we get some rain or snow, the seed I put down today will be slow to germinate.  But that’s okay.  They’ll come up eventually.  I’ll be prepared with row cover and plastic if needed.  One of these days, I’ll get ambitious and build the hoop structure for that area, so I can guarantee an early harvest.  I’ve seen several hoop houses go up around town in the last few weeks.

It felt good to get out there and work the dirt, and to put seeds in the ground.  The last month or so I’ve been itching to be back out there doing stuff.  I’ve had my winter to laze around.  Time to get back to work!

Daffodiles (left), roses starting to bud out (right).

DaffodilsRoses are budding
















The second-year raised bed.  It’s full of bunny poo!  You can see my compost basket at the end, and the pot that holds the mint.  This bed is about 3 feet by 16 feet.

Raised bedThe new raised bed, about 4 feet by 12 feet.  Doesn’t it look like its just ready and waiting for something to be planted in it?  Most of it is still in shade form the neighbor’s pine tree, so this will only be used for hot-weather veggies.

The newest raised bedThe original bed, with the new concrete edging.  Yes, I know it is a bit curvy, but it follows the sidewalk, which is not straight! Notice the trellises right next to the window.  These hold pole beans in the summer and provide great shade for that window.

New edging

New concrete edging
















Hard to see the herbs, but the chives are the green clump, to the left of them is the rosemary, and the thyme is in the front.  The lemon balm is still under a pile of leaves.

Herb space

Each of the sticks is a row of seeds.  from left to right – radishes, mache, black-seeded simpson (lettuce), butter lettuce, and two rows of curly blue kale.

Spring planting


One Response to “Spring? Maybe?”

  1. Momilies » Blog Archive » The Early Gardener says on :

    […] In a previous post, I talked about some of what I was doing, and included some pictures.  I added a new raised bed last fall (about 4 foot by 12 food), and added manure to both the existing raised bed and the small garden bed by the back door.  Then I got really crazy and planted seed for kale, peas, lettuce, and radishes. […]