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21 May 2009

Yes Virginia, there is a garden...

So many domestic projects and assignments lately leaves little time for writing about other things.  Some of those projects have me out in the yard though, so things could be worse.

During the first week in April I started making trips to the garden to assess things.  To my surprise, I discovered that my artichokes from last year survived the winter.  (Look at the picture!)

I first planted artichokes three seasons ago.  Starting from seeds I ended up with two plants that year.  Neither of them flowered though.  I knew that it would take two seasons for the plants to mature, so I bedded them down well (I thought) and let them have the winter off.

They died.

So I started the process over last year.  For some reason I ended up with a lot more plants.  Seven of them.  Every seed I planted (from the same seed pouch as the year before) germinated.  The season ended, winter came and I bedded the plants down again.  I used newspaper and tree leaves, same as I did the year before.

They made it this time.  This means that I should have a really good crop of artichokes this year.  Nicole and I are both looking forward to them.

I planted corn this year, for the first time ever.  Normally I skip corn because it is so easy to buy and, to be honest, it would block out a lot of sun other plants in my garden could be using.  To keep me interested, I opted for an heirloom popcorn with a shorter habit.  The kids are really digging the fact that we are growing popcorn in our garden this year.  I noticed the first shoots (corn is a monocot!) poking up on Monday.

Beans are in the ground, a week late, but should be sprouting any time now.  Bush beans this year--I'm tired of managing the trellis.

Peas were planted at the end of April and are about a foot tall now.

I had to buy tomato starts for the first time in four or five years.  I started my seeds in peat pellets as I normally do.  Then I transformed them to styrofoam cups filled with a starter mix, again, as I normally do.  I couldn't find my usual starter mix, so I had to use an off brand.  That was a mistake.  The transplants struggled after that, and really struggled when I began to harden them off a few weeks later.  I've all but given up on them now.

We're doing several different kinds of winter squash this year.  Giant pumpkins too.  The aim this year is to keep it low maintenance, as we're taking a looooooong vacation in the middle of the summer.  Hopefully it will take care of itself, so long as the watering system holds out.